Thursday, February 12, 2009

Darwins Birthday, Damned Lies & Statistics

On the 200th birthday of Darwin, the state of knowledge regarding him is rather frightful, at least according to a recent Gallup poll, On Darwin's Birthday, Only 4 out of 10 Believe in Evolution.
More bothersome than the lack of support for evolution (don't worry, it bothers me a great deal) is the sheer lack of knowledge of who the man was, or what his contribution to science and culture was.
Whether or not you are a believer in evolution, Darwin's idea and work have touched your life. As have the works of those inspired by him, either inspired to carry his work forward or to challenge and deny it.

I find no surprise in the correlation between lack of education and an ignorance of Darwin. That doesn't mean I find it any less depressing.
I know plenty of well educated people who doubt evolution - I will (usually) respectfully disagree with them, but they are at least marginally educated on what they don't believe. They actually know who and what they rally and rail at.
The majority of the people who stand against evolution, do not - That Gallup poll is not needed to tell us this, it's just one of many pieces of evidence we have. They have sense of the history, no real knowledge of the field - All they know, is that something provides a challenge to their belief and it must be battered down. They are barbarians at the gate.
People are entitled to believe what they will and wish, but I'd honestly like to see them believe it for something that at least pretends to be an educated reason. I'd like to see people truly accept a challenge, and use it as a learning experience. Particularly when they stand opposite me on what is a rather bloody cultural battlefield.

It's not just evolution. Plenty of educated, non-ignorant people, have questions about evolution. But, this is an area in which the symptoms of a disease are extremely visible.
My greatest concern for the world in which I live is not war, it is not disease, nor poverty, nor population growth - It is education, or the lack there of. The rising tide is one of ignorance, globally. Of so many things, on so many fronts.
I believe an education is a necessity for ever person on Earth - To function in your world without destroying it, you need to understand it to the best ability possible. If I had to trade everything in my life for two things, I would do it for an education, and a rifle.
A rifle because of all the other people with rifles, an education because of all the people without - Tools to survive.
This is my calling in life - Rifles, and Education.


Chris Muir said...

Good calls!

Steve Bodio said...

Well said.

Interestingly, I was taught evolution in a Catholic school, and you know how old I am.

Later I studied to be an evolutionary and populations biologist, though my road led to something else. But I have only rarely met an anti- Darwinist who knows anything about the subject