Dennis' Opinions

Evolution and Creation Mythology  

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859 and put forth the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.  Darwin's theory has since been confirmed by genetic science and is now an underlying basis for modern biology and paleontology.

Creation mythology varies widely among cultures in the world.  Pan Gu and Nu Wa (Chinese), Odin and Ymir (Norse), and the Hopi Spider Woman are ancient-rooted explanations of the origins of humanity and the world we live in.  Creation mythology, if interpreted literally, conflicts with evolution.  By 1925, Christian fundamentalists had succeeded in introducing legislation in 15 states to ban the teaching of evolution.  Tennessee enacted the censorship law which resulted in the infamous Tennessee vs John Scopes "The Monkey Trial".  In 1950, to the credit of the Catholic Church, Pope Pius XII acknowledged "the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter."  (Encyclical Humani Generis)  In 1996, Pope John Paul II stated, "Today, almost half a century after the publication of the encyclical, new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis.  It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory."   (Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, "Truth Cannot Contradict Truth")  The Catholic Church's view on evolution is conditioned by the belief that human souls are created by God.  

Many Christian fundamentalists, however, have not been enlightened to the Catholic observation that "truth cannot contradict truth" with regard to evolution.  They have given up on trying to ban the teaching of evolution entirely, although they have tried in recent years to censor references to evolution from teaching standards in some states.  They created the oxymoron of "creation science" and sought to have it taught in schools on equal footing with evolution.  The creationists, after losing so many court battles to have their religious dogma taught in public schools, have now repackaged their pseudo-science under the name of "intelligent design" and are pushing for this to be taught alongside evolution, an idea which has been endorsed by President George W. Bush.  The National Academy of Sciences and the American Geophysical Union provide excellent reasoning as to why religion, such as creationism or intelligent design, are not science and should not be taught in a science classroom.  Teaching these religious myths in a biology class would be akin to adding the Heaven’s Gate UFO to an astronomy course.  I personally might not be opposed to the teaching of a course on comparative creation mythology, outside of the science classroom, provided that it cover many different versions of supernatural creation and not just the beliefs of Christian fundamentalists.  Then again, it might be best just to keep the teaching of religious mythology where it is now...in homes and churches. 

As a father and geologist, I opposed Christian Fundamentalists who, years ago, censored references to evolution and other scientific principles in New Mexico public-school teaching standards.  I am a Charter Member of the Coalition for Excellence in Science and Math Education , and a member of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason .  These groups, and many persons, eventually restored good science to New Mexico's teaching standards.  I helped by writing letters to the newspaper, and by attending hearings before the State Legislature and School Board.   I am appalled by censorship, and provide this link to the  Creation Science Fellowship of New Mexico where you can judge their illogical blasphemy for yourself.  What?  Our Mother Earth is only 6000 years old?  Here is another site that provides more unscientific dinosaur nonsense .  They would have you believe that we geologists are correct when we apply our science to find the fossil resources that heat their homes and fuel their cars, but are incorrect when we date the fossil record in millions of years.  For a spirited written "debate" between evolutionists and creationists, go here . God bless America and our right to free speech!   I hesitated in using the term "debate" because creationism and intelligent design are not based on the scientific method, and are not science.  They rely, instead, on some kind of supernatural act.  How can a scientist argue with the assertion  of "poof" and God created the world?  It is obvious, from this "debate", that creation science is really just a pseudo-scientific assault on evolution that provides no logical explanation of its own for the origin of species on Earth.  Did Noah forget to board dinosaurs on his ark, or was his boat simply not big enough?  And why did the trilobites become extinct during the Biblical flood?  They lived in the ocean.  Could it be that evolution is actually the mechanism of God's wondrous creation?

The position that Christian fundamentalists cling onto regarding evolution, the age of the earth, etc. is akin to the position that the church took nearly 400 years ago regarding the assertions of Copernicus and Galileo that the Sun, rather than the Earth, was the center of our solar system.  Hopefully, the Christian conservatives who are wielding increasing political influence and control in the United States will take much less time to realize that truth cannot condradict truth, and to reconcile their religious beliefs with reality.