What can evolutionary biology learn from creationists?

Scientia Salon

Irreducible-complexity-E-coli_472_308_80by Joanna Masel

You might expect a professional evolutionary biologist like myself to claim that my discipline has nothing to learn from creationists. And I certainly do find all flavors of evolution-denialism sadly misguided. But I also find it reasonable to assume that any serious and dedicated critic should uncover something interesting about the object of their obsession. I’m not talking about passing trolls here. I’m talking about earnest and sometimes talented people whose sincerely held anti-evolution convictions do not preclude engagement, and who invest a lot of time thinking about evolution from an unconventional perspective.

I draw three main lessons from such critics. First, there is plenty to learn about human psychology from the rejection of evolution. Why do so many people not accept scientific conclusions that seem to an expert like me to be irrefutably supported by the evidence? Dismissing the cause of their rejection as religious ideology…

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2 Responses to What can evolutionary biology learn from creationists?

  1. James Pailly says:

    I always wondered about that clean simplicity we see in biochemistry. It always seemed like complex molecular structures were a little too perfect. It makes a lot more sense that this would be the simplified version we get in school, as Joanna Masel explains here.

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    • Excellent point! The more I read about biology, the messier and more contingent I find it. I remember my surprise that animal fetuses moving their limbs in the womb was crucial to their joints forming properly. It amazes me that a process that fragile and complex works. So, I’m not particularly surprised either that biology at the molecular level is also messy.

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