Denying Evolution like Denying History?

on August 14, 2010

Is denying evolution “like . . . ignoring the exquisite ruins of the Roman Colosseum”?

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“History is evolution and evolution is history,” begins University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth biologist Guillermo Paz-y-Miño, whose scathing anti-creationist opinion piece was recently featured in a New England news website. The core of Paz-y-Miño’s argument is that just as we trust archaeology to teach us about the history of civilization, so also should we trust paleontology and evolutionary biology to teach us about the history of life: “As much as archeological information has been trapped underground—from earlier times located close to the surface to ancient epochs hidden deep—biological history is also preserved in the geological profile, from the Holocene (today) to the Cambrian (550 million years ago), when biodiversity fossilized vastly, and to the early Archaean (3.5 billion years ago), when colonial cyanobacteria carved rocks.” He goes on,

Is the history of evolution as undoubtable as the history of Rome?

No rational citizen of the contemporary world would challenge the existence of ancient Rome, but 40 percent of Americans, 18 percent of the British, and 20 percent of Italians, among residents of 34 other countries where public acceptance of evolution has been polled . . . think evolution is false. This discrepancy between wide acceptance of Roman history and selective rejection of life’s past resides in the extra scrutiny imposed on the latter by religion.

So, is the history of evolution as undoubtable as the history of Rome? Paz-y-Miño has ignored an important difference between the two: Roman history was documented by human observation, while evolutionary history (the story in which inanimate chemicals became unicellular organisms, which became marine life, which later walked on land, etc.) is based on human conjecture—we weren’t there.

Turning Paz-y-Miño’s analogy on its head, suppose, thousands of years from now, scientists suggest that the remains of Rome are actually natural formations. “The Colosseum may look like it was intelligently designed, but it is actually a product of geological evolution,” they claim. And what about the many texts that describe the history of Rome? “Outdated myths written by ignorant people to explain archaeology before the modern discovery of geological evolution,” they insist.

Does the story sound familiar? Paz-y-Miño may think rejecting Roman history is an absurd conclusion, but ultimately, we find evolutionists’ rejection of intelligent design and creation’s history hardly less absurd.

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