Georgia Congressman Paul Broun made some waves this month when he stated that the theory of evolution, the fundamental integrating theory of biological science, is a lie “straight from the pit of hell.”
Charles Darwin spent more than twenty years of his life gathering evidence for the theory of evolution. He presented it in 1859 with the publication of On The Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection, which—drawing on observations of an incredible variety of animal and plant life from all over the world and integrating it with geology, geography, animal husbandry, and the available fossil record—proved the theory of evolution. This says nothing of the observations and experiments of later scientists, which bolstered and expanded the theory.
Congressman Broun would do well to note that, while there is overwhelming evidence for the theory of evolution, there is zero evidence for the existence of the “pit of hell” from which it supposedly came. Faith in “God’s word” is not an intellectually defensible argument against a scientific theory. If Congressman Broun wants to criticize some element of the theory of evolution, he must provide evidence for his claims. Isaac Newton, responding to criticisms of his theory of optics, indicated the kind of evidence required to properly dispute a scientific theory:
I could wish all objections were suspended . . . from any [grounds] other than these two: of showing the insufficiency of experiments to prove . . . any part of my theory, . . . or of producing other experiments which directly contradict me, if any such may seem to occur.
Isaac Newton, the greatest scientist in history and himself a religious man, would never have taken seriously faith-based arguments against a scientific theory—and neither should anyone else.
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