COLUMN: Evolution is an often misunderstood theory

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A recent column by David Meredith explored the Theory of Evolution. Meredith wrote that the Theory of Evolution is not anywhere close to scientific fact and that the scientific community does not agree on the factuality of the theory... He also claimed the Theory of Evolution has throughout history contributed to numerous atrocities, including but not limited to the Holocaust.
When it comes to the opinions of  “Scientific Community” (a term which has a very broad meaning) I researched the topic and the results are exactly as I expected.
Since the term “scientific community” applies to hundreds upon hundreds of scientific occupations, including ones that have little or nothing to do with biology or evolution, no survey or poll has been conducted regarding the views of the entire “scientific community.”
Thus the most accurate means by which to prove the scientific consensus regarding the legitimacy of Evolution is by looking at the views of scientific organizations.
One scientific organization which best represents the American scientific community as a whole, as it is the largest scientific organization in the world, is the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2006, the AAAS released  a statement regarding the teaching of Evolution in public school science classes, stating, “there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution.”
The AAAS represents more scientists than any other general scientific organization in the world.
While the AAAS is only one organization in one country, 68 other academies from around the world crafted a statement – the IAP Statement on the Teaching of Evolution, compiled by the Interacademy Panel on International Issues, written and supported by 68 academies from around the world.
The columnist argues there is no consensus in the scientific community on the legitimacy of the Theory of Evolution. But it seems that the consensus is very much in favor of the theory, which is not surprising considering that it is backed up by, well, scientific evidence.
Before blaming numerous human atrocities on Darwinian Evolution, consider the millions of deaths caused by religious conflicts throughout human history.
I find the argument that Hitler was influenced by Darwin’s Evolutionary theory to be especially odd since some of the many pieces of literature which were banned by the Nazi’s were, in their own words, “Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism.”
Hitler was influenced by Social Darwinism, an idea that was not conceived by Darwin, and actually predates his own theory. The term Social Darwinism is simply a term for the application of “survival of the fittest” to society rather than nature, while Darwin’s own theory relates to the adaptation of species to their natural habitat in order to survive.
Contrary to what the name implies, Darwin had nothing to do with Social Darwinism and it is a name that is not often used by proponents of the view. Social Darwinism was coined in late 19th century England, by sociologists opposed to the view.
It is highly unlikely that Hitler’s views were influenced by the theory of Evolution, it is in fact more likely that religion played a part in either Hitler’s views or in his strategies for gaining support for the Final Solution.
As Hitler himself said:
“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. .. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.”
Sounds to me as if the Holocaust was more a result of the perversion of Christianity than the perversion of Evolution.
Does the fact that Hitler used religion to commit one of the worst mass murders in human history make religion a wrong idea? Does it mean that religion should be avoided?
Some would argue that point, but I do not believe that it does.
I agree with the columnist’s argument that religion contains more morality than Evolution, for religion attempts to define morality while Evolution does not. Indeed, it is the very morality of religion which allows it to be used for both malign and benign purposes.
Religion consists of moral teachings, Evolution does not.
While Evolution attempts to explain what we are, Religion explains why we are. Religion and Evolution are not competing attempts at explaining how we came to be, they are instead two attempts at answering two separate questions.
Evolution and religion need not be exclusive of each other, they can instead be inclusive of each other. Not two opposing explanations of our origin, but rather two cooperating attempts at explaining the biggest mystery of our universe: ourselves.

J. Christiaan Faul lives in Crestwood. The views in this column are those of the writer.