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Evolution and the brain

Our Evolutionary Inheritance

HelpLien : Évolution ou création   ou création ?Lien : l'Association des Sceptiques du Québec!Lien : Introduction to the Creation/Evolution Controversy
Lien : The voice of the people reveals why evolution remains controversialLien : débat contre un créationnisteLien : Creationists are changing state educational standards
Chercheur : Ernst MayrChercheur : Stephen Jay Gould: le héros de l'évolutionChercheur : Stephen Jay Gould Archive
Histoire : Évolution et religionHistoire : Timeline: Monkey TrialHistoire : La croisade contre Darwin reprend au Tennessee 1/2
Original modules
Tool Module: What Is Evolution? What Is Evolution?

The “God” of Apple and His Disciples

As any biologist will tell you, the entire science of biology makes sense only when studied in light of the theory of evolution. Like all scientific theories, the theory of evolution is based on observable facts that are used to develop hypotheses, which scientists then attempt to confirm or invalidate.

Thus evolution is not a theory in the sense that word is sometimes used to refer to something that is uncertain or speculative. On the contrary, it is a set of consistent facts that are interrelated by mechanisms that account for a wide range of phenomena. Exactly like the theory of relativity, quantum physics, or, more simply, the theory that the Earth is round and that everything on it is made of atoms.

Tool Module: What Is Evolution?Lien : Evidence of EvolutionLien : Which Theory Has More Evidence?

One of the points of disagreement between creationists and evolutionists is the age of the Earth. For geologists, the age of the Earth, estimated using a wide variety of dating methods, is about 4.55 billion years. But according to the creationists interpretation of the Bible, the Earth is only 6 000 to 10 000 years old.

When creationists thus dispute the entire body of scientific data, one of the arguments they advance is that the Flood caused such a total upheaval of the Earth's landscape that it thwarts all our efforts to determine the Earth's true age. But when scientists have dated the moon rocks brought back by the Apollo mission, they too have yielded the same estimate of around 4.55 billion years. And yet the Bible does not tell us anything about a flood that took place on the Moon!

Lien : The Age of the EarthLien :  Young-Earth Creationism

The term "evolution" refers first and foremost to change. Galaxies, languages, political systems... all these things are subject to change. In biology, evolution refers to hereditary changes that are transmitted in a population across many generations. For most people, the theory of evolution generally refers to the idea that we are descended from primitive life forms that appeared on Earth over 3 billion years ago.

This theory is now accepted by all scientists, because there are countless facts that support it and because its numerous mechanisms have been confirmed many times. But it wasn't always thus.

The Creation of Adam, by Michelangelo, is the central panel of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and represents the official view of the creation of human beings, before Darwin.

In 1859, the publication of Darwin's landmark book, The Origin of Species, sent out shock waves by calling into question the idea that human beings had been created by God. Darwin's proposal that humans were instead descended from ancient apes was very badly received by the religious thinkers of his time, who saw in this theory a loss of human dignity.

But gradually, faced with the rapidly accumulating weight of the facts that supported the idea of evolution, believers in traditional religions came to harmonize their faith with these facts of science. Most such people now believe that it was through the process of evolution that their deity made it possible for life to emerge.

For some time now, however, a movement called creationism has been growing, especially in the United States, that flatly denies the entire theory of evolution.What is creationism? First of all, it is a religious doctrine, derived from Christianity, which asserts that the universe and human beings were created as such by a superior being.

But unlike the majority of Christians, who take the story of Genesis in a metaphorical sense, creationists believe that what is written in the Bible must be taken literally. For them, Adam and Eve, the six days of creation, the Flood, and everything else that goes with them are literally true. Obviously, all this is incompatible with the theories of the Big Bang and evolution.

The problem arises when people try to give creationism a scientific veneer, because their “method” is the exact opposite of the scientific method. They start from conclusions that they do not question, and they retain only those observations that tend to support these conclusions.

Now, these errors would be merely regrettable were it not that several U.S. states are now demanding that creationism be recognized as science and taught in their schools. The most active creationists are now holding debates where they scarcely bother going into the details of the theory of creation. That is understandable, because creationism is a matter of faith, so once they have stated their position, there is really very little more they can say. Once again, this approach is the direct opposite of the scientific method.

And yet creationists do not hesitate to push evolutionists to the very limits of their knowledge, then cite these limits in an attempt to discredit evolution. But even scientists readily admit that there comes a point when you have to acknowledge your ignorance.

Before the 17th century, everyone was a creationist. Then the scientific method and the theory of evolution forced us to recognize our evolutionary inheritance. The creationism that is resurfacing today among certain religious fundamentalists entails some major misunderstandings of what evolution is really about.

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