Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection has been creating controversy ever since it was first published. In the United States particularly, it is a topic that has created a large amount of discussion. Evolution seems to be something that people need to have an extreme opinion about. It is difficult to find someone who doesn’t believe in evolution through natural selection as absolute fact, that isn’t a religious creationist. In fact, it seems to be almost impossible for people to criticize Darwin’s theory without being labeled religious fundamentalists. Of course, there are problems with the theory and it is not absolute fact. However, this does not mean that the theory is wrong. It is important to keep looking at scientific theories, and modifying them as new discoveries are made.
In the United States, there has been a battle going on in high schools over science textbooks. People who do not believe in evolution through natural selection want warning labels on science textbooks, claiming that evolution is not fact. Those that do believe in evolution are fighting to keep these stickers off textbooks, saying that they promote religion in schools. When you think about it, people on both sides of the issue are being ignorant and dogmatic. The Darwinists will not even really admit that evolution is a theory (especially a non-perfect one). One problem may be that currently their aren’t any real alternative explanations for the origin of species that do not hint at religion.
The only other theory that is recognized today is called the Theory of Intelligent Design; this theory proposes that some intelligent force is causing the complex design of living things. This is not even a thinly-disguised reference to some kind of god.
The way science is taught in school is partially responsible for this situation. In high school especially, science is really about memorizing fact rather than truly understanding how things work. High school students are not encouraged or stimulated enough to truly understand the material. They tend to just accept what they are told, and remember it so that they can pass tests.
Rather than just memorizing the facts presented, people should attempt to understand where those facts came from and how we acquired our knowledge. When you look at it this way, it is not necessary to have warning stickers on textbooks, because the students can look at the evidence and understand it. They will see that everything presented is a theory; a theory with a large amount of supporting evidence, but still a theory, just the same.
The idea that life evolved from one form to another is difficult to deny. It is clear when observing life on earth now, and fossils from ancient times, that animals and plants living today are very different than those that were living millions of years ago. What is not proven is how that life changed. Although we now have ideas about how these changes occurred, and have observed similar changes, we are still far from a complete understanding of what causes evolution.
Simply because we don’t know exactly how it works does not make the theory useless. It is still the best explanation available. Most scientific theories that are the basis of biology and chemistry are not absolute. The model of the atom has changed many times, and may change many more times. This does not make the old theories useless; they were simply incomplete. The new theories did not just abandon the old ones; they just changed and added to them.
Science is about trying to understand how things work. As we dive deeper into concepts, theories will change. We are nowhere near understanding how life works and we may never really know. However, a dogmatic approach to finding it, whether you are for or against Darwin’s theory, will not get you anywhere.