You are here

"Controversy" over evolution

Summary of problems:

Evolution is as well-established as a scientific theory can be. While scientists continue to investigate the importance of different mechanisms involved in evolution, the scientific community agrees that the descent with modification of living things -- the big idea of biological evolution -- accounts for the diversity of life on earth today. To claim or imply otherwise is simply wrong, and miseducates students about a critically important scientific idea.

Full discussion:

…the theory of evolution remains the focus of intense public controversy.
Explore Evolution , p. v
Indeed, the public debate over evolution waxes and wanes and takes various forums, and often is conducted with considerable heat. However, a few sentences later, the book refers to alleged “real (and more interesting) scientific controversies about evolution” (p. v, emphasis added). This implies the existence of a scientific controversy which does not exist.

In reality, evolutionary theory, the common ancestry of living things, is the core, fundamental, unifying construct of the life sciences. In the biomedical sciences, it has been a highly productive and powerful explanatory framework for research over the past five decades. In the last 10 years, the explosion of data in genomics and new insights in developmental biology have given evolutionary theory an even higher prominence and greater importance than it enjoyed before. It is for these reasons that the National Academy of Sciences recently wrote:

Biological evolution is the central organizing principle of modern biology.

The study of biological evolution has transformed our understanding of life on this planet. Evolution provides a scientific explanation for why there are so many different kinds of organisms on Earth and how all organisms on this planet are part of an evolutionary lineage. It demonstrates why some organisms that look quite different are in fact related, while other organisms that may look similar are only distantly related. It accounts for the appearance of humans on Earth and reveals our species’ biological connections with other living things. It details how different groups of humans are related to each other and how we acquired many of our traits. It enables the development of effective new ways to protect ourselves against constantly evolving bacteria and viruses.
National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2008) Science, Evolution, and Creationism. Washington, DC:The National Academies Press