Why defending evolution is important

www.pacificviews.org 404 Not Found (linkrot)Here’s an interesting argument I hadn’t heard before for why it’s important to defend the theory of evolution (in addition to the part about it being true):

There happens to be a great deal of disagreement over lines of descent, the development of cellular mechanisms, whether or not protists (which include seaweed and diatoms) should all be grouped into one big family or categorized in anywhere from four to a dozen separate groups, and it just goes on, and on, and on. Yet about the basic idea that life as we know it is all descended from common ancestors over billions of years through the mechanism of natural selection, there is no scientific disagreement. Which is to say that while a few individual scientists may hold alternate beliefs based on their personal ideology, the verifiable scientific evidence points to evolution, and that body of evidence is growing all the time.

If they can portray the scientific community as hopelessly confused on such fundamental issues, it isn't a stretch to assert that 'nobody knows' whether or not global warming is happening or even whether stem cell research could be useful. By creating a story line where any secular investigation of the facts is portrayed as being inconclusive by definition, and the material truth unknowable, the listener might as well pick that version of the story which suits them best at the moment. This has implications beyond whether or not people believe that we're distantly related to other primates.