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Steven Jay Gould

Happy 200th Birthday!

Charles Darwin was born 200 years ago today. Yet many Americans do not believe in evolution. Really, it is not a question of believing, it’s more a question of understanding. What many people don’t understand is that evolution is a FACT. It happened and is happening now. Darwin’s “theory” of evolution is simply the best explanation we have at this time.

Steven Jay Gould explained that evolution is both a fact and a theory. “And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.”

So while we can debate a theory, the facts are indisputable. Yet a scary percentage of Americans still deny the basic fact of evolution.

Chart source, National Geographic News

This chart depicts the public acceptance of evolution theory in 34 countries in 2005. Adults were asked to respond to the statement: “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” The percentage of respondents who believed this to be true is marked in blue; those who believed it to be false, in red; and those who were not sure, in yellow.

This is not a true or false question folks! The human brain is evolving way too slowly in some people!