Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Solution: Educating Yourself on the Basics

Upon seeing how many Americans and Britons don't understand evolution and even reject its existence, Richard Dawkins took it upon himself to write a book that would bring the discussion back to its foundation. In The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, Dawkins strips the discussion to the basics and then shows what sorts of evidence would have to be present to show that evolution has taken place. From there he builds the indisputable case that evolution is a fact and that to deny otherwise requires a level of cognitive dissonance, not skepticism.

Dawkins would know about skepticism when it comes to evolution. He has been one of the central authors in changing the way the mechanisms of evolution have been understood. He, like many, identify that Darwin had a good start, but that Origin of Species is far from a complete accounting of the complexity that is evolution (nor was that Darwin's goals). At Utah State University, they offered a course in which you read Origin of Species and identified what things Darwin got right and other areas where he was off the mark.

Until people take the same intellectually curious approach that great scientists take to big issues, we will continue to have moral politics and biblical debates where policy discussions and mutual respect should be.

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