[Taxacom] evolution education

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Mon Feb 7 11:47:34 CST 2011

Most people (including scientists) 'believe' that the chimpanzee is our
nearest relative because the molecular folk say so, not because they are
persuaded by the evidence, but rather than they have a belief that the
evidence must be right because all the molecular authorities say so.
Trying to distinguish between belief and faith in religion and that of
science might be done if one sets out criteria and follows that criteria
- if one should want to. Whether that makes any real difference or not
is another matter.

John Grehan

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Frederick W.
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2011 12:23 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] evolution education

On 2/7/2011 10:16 AM, fautin at ku.edu wrote:
> I learned from Genie Scott how pernicious it is to speak or write of
> "believing in evolution."  Unlike religion, it is not a matter of
> -- it is a matter of persuasion by evidence.

* but just as science can be diversely defined - 
http://pinicola.ca/kitchen.htm#scidef - "belief" can include the results

of both faith and of persuasion (and of course every belief is a mixture

of  different proportions of these).

It may be nicer to say that "biological data are best explained by 
evolutionary hypotheses" but this means that one "believes that there's 
no real alternative to believing that evolution has occurred," which is 
easily blurred into the more tawdry "belief in evolution." This slides 
the phrase over towards the faith-based kind of belief embodied by 
"believe in God," or "believe in UFO's," which are rather different from

"believing that Pongo is the sister-group of Homo."

In this case, it's not a question of what one would write or say 
oneself, but how it's best to reply when a naive or hostile questioner 
asks: "Do you believe in evolution?"

          Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre - http://pinicola.ca/bmnhc.htm
now in the field on the Thirty Years Later Expedition -
Daily Paintings - http://karstaddailypaintings.blogspot.com/
     RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
   on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
    (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca/


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