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Evolution and Religion

Reading Matthew Nisbet’s column “Evolution in the College classroom” (September/October 2017) gave me the uncomfortable feeling that the Skeptical Inquirer was having a Going-Out-of-Business-Sale and selling its proverbial soul. I understand the pressure to enlist religious allies in the war against creationism, but at what price? The idea that we should accommodate the religious needs of those who have a problem with naturalistic science means that we must both suspend critical thinking and allow revision of the history of evolutionary thought. How do we teach an evolution where natural selection can effectively be replaced by a supernatural selection? Indeed, the entire brilliant concept of selection becomes unnecessary when it is lowered to the level of a belief-based, guided, and purposeful alternative. How does critical thinking survive when we invoke it only on some occasions instead of at every opportunity? Teaching such double standards diminishes both teaching and what is being taught. And how does one teach the history of evolutionary thought when Darwin’s input has been reduced to virtually nothing? Darwin minus natural selection is not an evolutionary theory that we would recognize or accept. So why would we do that? Once you’ve sold your soul, I’m told, you can’t buy it back.

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