Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Smartest Monkeys

As I sit here typing on my laptop computer in front of my digital cable-enabled television while my son and his friend play interactive video games with wireless remotes in the next room, I take heart in the spirited defense of evolution issued this week from the National Academy of Sciences, stating that it is the bedrock principle of modern biology, arguing that it, not creationism, must be taught in public school science classes.
The year is 2008, if you haven't taken the time to update your calendars. "We seem to have continuing challenges to the teaching of evolution in schools. That's something that doesn't seem to go away," said Barbara Schaal, an evolutionary biologist at Washington University in St. Louis and vice president of National Academy of Sciences, "We need a citizenry that's trained in real science."
A lot has changed since 1925, when John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution to his high school class in Tennessee. We're still very smart monkeys, and humans seem to have an edge over most of the other species in terms of managing our planet. This doesn't mean we're doing the best job, it just means we're using our opposable thumbs to manage an move things in ways that make us more comfortable.
But couldn't God create a Costco? Commerce and technology seem to be excluded from the creationism debate. Evolution is change in living organisms over the eons due to genetic mutations, and I know that my son's thumbs are much more flexible and strong than mine after being born into a world that values mad gaming skills. My joystick abilities are outdated and useless in this day and age.
President Pinhead said in 2005 American students should be instructed about "intelligent design" alongside evolution as competing theories. "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," he said. A 2006 Gallup poll showed that almost half of Americans believe that humans did not evolve but were created by God in their present form within the last ten thousand years. Looking at these bits from a purely scientific point of view, maybe Darwin was wrong.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm with President Bush on this one. We must teach theories that provide alternatives to evolution and creationism. I favor introducing Flying Spaghetti Monsterism into the standard curriculum.