The debate over evolution often presents itself between two ardently uncompromising groups: those who believe that evolution is a real biological phenomenon, and those who believe that the world was intelligently designed. The problem that author Keith Blanchard has with this is not the fact that evolution is disputed (he belongs in the former camp). His argument is that proponents of evolution should not treat it as a matter of faith, but as a simple matter of fact.
Blanchard explains that it is simply indisputable that evolution is happening. There is too much evidence of this in our lives, especially where evolution is catalyzed by human intervention. For example, we bred dogs out of wolves and continue to breed them to have or not have certain traits. Strawberries found in the wild are not much bigger than raspberries, but we selectively breed our strawberry crops to be as big as possible. People today are even discussing designer babies, as classmate sm4321 touches upon below. And all this rapid evolution is in addition to the slow, generational evolution that happens over years and years, and supposedly is impossible for humans to witness. But as Blanchard lists, geology, biology, anthropology, and numerous other scientific disciplines have already proven evolution.
The article lists several “rules” that govern the process of evolution; he admits that while his description is simple, the actual process of evolution involves advantageous traits becoming adopted, and unfavorable traits being discarded. This, according to the author, is why people of faith should not discount evolution, and why evolution and faith are not mutually exclusive points of view. He posits that it is very possible that God, when creating the universe, also created those rules by which evolution happens, and there is simply no way anyone can deny the cold, hard facts of evolution.
With that in mind, the issue at hand is an epistemological one. How can we (assuming we support and believe in the theory of evolution) win the debate over evolution? According to Blanchard, people who support the evolutionary view of natural history cannot continue to treat evolution like a matter of faith, and should not see it as incompatible with the various faiths that currently reject evolution. Our belief in evolution comes not only from theories that have been proven by fact, but it also comes from our daily participation in the phenomenon itself. As the author states, anybody who eats a strawberry or enjoys the company of their dog is recognizing the results of evolution, whether they know it or not. So perhaps the better thing to do would be instead of debating evolution itself, to find ways of making it compatible with the views of those who currently reject what is irrefutable.
At least in the United States, the debate over evolution is extremely intense, usually involving opposing political views. The current debate is substantively empty, as evolution is fact, which explains its dysfunction and unproductiveness. So is it a worthwhile endeavor to attempt to find a way to reconcile evolution and religion? As scientists discover more and more evidence supporting evolution, what will the debate look like in a generation? Will there even be a debate?