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Second, he said, although these differences in each generation are random, some of them convey distinct advantages to an animal, giving it a much greater chance to survive and breed.Over time, this beneficial variation spreads to the rest of the species, because those with the advantage are more likely than those without it to stay alive and reproduce.And, finally, over longer periods of time, cumulative changes produce new species, all of which share a common ancestor.
The answer lies, in large part, in the theological implications of evolutionary thinking.
For many religious people, the Darwinian view of life – a panorama of brutal struggle and constant change – conflicts with both the biblical creation story and the Judeo-Christian concept of an active, loving God who intervenes in human events.
Still, the issue didn’t filter down to the wider American public until the end of the 19th century, when many popular Christian authors and speakers, including the famed Chicago evangelist and missionary Dwight L.
Moody, began to inveigh against Darwinism as a threat to biblical truth and public morality.
The book became an instant bestseller and, as Darwin had feared, set off a firestorm of controversy in his native Britain.
Dissertation Learning Outcomes - Creationism Vs Evolution Essays
While many scientists defended Darwin, religious leaders and others immediately rejected his theory, not only because it directly contradicted the creation story in the biblical book of Genesis, but also because – on a broader level – it implied that life had developed due to natural processes rather than as the creation of a loving God.In spite of the fact that evolutionary theory is accepted by all but a small number of scientists, it continues to be rejected by many Americans. (The Print Collector/Getty Images) Most biologists and other scientists contend that evolutionary theory convincingly explains the origins and development of life on Earth. adult population accepts evolutionary theory, but only as an instrument of God’s will.A look back at American history shows that, in many ways, questions about evolution have long served as proxies in larger debates about religious, ethical and social norms.From efforts on the part of some churches in the 19th and early 20th centuries to advance a more liberal form of Christianity, to the more recent push and pull over the roles of religion and science in the public square, attitudes toward evolution have often been used as a fulcrum by one side or the other to try to advance their cause.He might never have done so if another British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, had not in 1858 independently come up with a very similar theory.At that point, Darwin, who had already shared his conclusions with a small number of fellow scientists, finally revealed his long-held ideas about evolution and natural selection to a wider audience. First, he argued, each animal is not an exact replica of its parents, but is different in subtle ways.(See “Religious Groups’ Views on Evolution.”) This basic concern with evolutionary theory has helped drive the decadeslong opposition to teaching it in public schools.Even over the last 15 years, educators, scientists, parents, religious leaders and others in more than a dozen states have engaged in public battles in school boards, legislatures and courts over how school curricula should handle evolution.The issue was even discussed and debated during the runups to the 20 presidential elections.This battle has ebbed in recent years, but it has not completely died out.