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home : opinion : opinion May 1, 2016

2/9/2014 6:00:00 AM
Editorial: Evolution: Embrace the disruption

Alan Choate
News Editor

I thought this day would never come, but here it is.

I'm about to quote Pat Robertson - and agree with what he said.

Surely, 'tis a sign of the apocalypse.

Following last week's much-anticipated debate about evolution and creationism between Bill Nye, "The Science Guy," and Ken Ham of the Creation Museum, Robertson was critical - of Ham.

Among other tenets, creationism pins the beginning of the Earth (and the rest of the universe, I suppose) at 6,000 years ago. Of this, Robertson said, "There ain't no way that's possible."

He continued: "We have skeletons of dinosaurs that go back 65 million years. To say it all dates back to 6,000 years is just nonsense."

Well, paint me green and call me a dinosaur. I had no idea Mr. Robertson could be so reasonable.

As for me, I both don't understand and do understand this conflict.

The part I don't understand: Ever since the idea of evolution emerged, naysayers have been trying to stomp it down, going so far as insisting that literal interpretations of Genesis be held up as equal evidence against decades of scientific research backing the idea the life forms on this planet have evolved over time.

That's like pitting your favorite team against the current week's rival on your home Madden NFL Football game and expecting the result in the real world to match what happened in your video game matchup. (A friend at one time did this; sadly, it never worked out like it should've for my Cowboys.) One has nothing to do with the other. Genesis is to the fossil record as Donald Trump is to an actual presidential campaign - their paths will never cross.

Nature is fantastic and inspired. Even those who aren't religious, or reject the idea of a divine designer, marvel at the adaptations and processes that drive the natural world. Perhaps the greatest of these adaptations is humankind. We are capable of discovering, documenting and understanding these processes, and sometimes even fixing them when our actions have disrupted the natural order.

Disruption is the part of this conflict I do understand, because Darwin's idea was very disruptive to the world he lived in and its ramifications wreak havoc with how we instinctually perceive ourselves.

Against the age of the Earth and the universe, our human perspectives are miniscule. A hundred years? A thousand years? Mere blips. But those blips are all we have. We see other people, and representations of other humans from our era, and we look the same and occupy the same prime placement as dominators of the planet. Dogs are dogs, and trees are trees, and crops are crops (with our modifications), and despite the rapid technological change that's constantly altering how we interact with the world, it's still very clear who the humans are and who the animals are and who exactly is running things around here.

But when a geologic time scale and evolution are introduced, all bets are off, and that is genuinely scary to a species that can be self-aware of not existing anymore. (See: "The Walking Dead." Or the "Feast" trilogy.)

I think that fear of change, fear of the unknown, is behind the surprising resiliency of creationism. If reason ruled the day, creationism would've been tossed into the dust bin of history by now, right next to the flat Earth theory and the idea that the universe revolves around our planet.

As the Rush lyric says, "Changes aren't permanent, but change is." And if anyone out there claims they can freeze a time in place, that they can stop the movement of the world and keep things just as they are if only you will give them your time, your money, your vote - well, all you've got to do is quote Pat Robertson.

"There ain't no way that's possible."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

"London's Daily Mail"....lololol

May as well quote the National Enquirer. They both have about as much credence in real journalism circles.

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014
Article comment by: pl .....

In case anybody's interested in the facts, soft tissue including red blood cells have been discovered in dozens of sites around the world - in dinosaur skeletons! This materiel is necessarily of a relatively young age, and utterly dispels the dishonest, even foolish notions of evolution which have been foisted upon us. - the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, quoted this week in London's Daily Mail, carries the latest broadening reviews of these discoveries. Since dinosaurs are proveably only some thousands of years old, time for y'all to do a 180 and consider what else must fall by the wayside.

Posted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Article comment by: Oh Ya

"if man evolved from the apes, why are there still apes?"

"Evolution is a complete fraud."

So I say, "if 6,000 years ago, some mythical being created the heavens and the earth, where did this being come from, and what was here before? Empty space? Why does facts show that the earth is billions of years old? Did this being "steal" the earth from some other place?

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014
Article comment by: pl .....

well, Stokes, you can breed a dog with a wolf, ditto with the other species you mentioned. But breeding humans with chimps presents demonstrably different dynamics. That may not constitute a one-off rebuttal to evolution, but it's well worth considering.

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

@ pl .....
Right back at you....

If dogs evolved from wolves (the most accepted theory), then why are there still wolves? Why are there different species of quail, deer, and bears?

Ever heard of diverging branches on the evolutionary tree?

More science sites, less CT sites.

Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014
Article comment by: pl .....

@Stokes.....if man evolved from the apes, why are there still apes? Just wondering.

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

Some people are in for a very big surprise and/or shock somewhere down the line when they come face to face with their maker -- pure nature, no intelligence or omnipotence at all.

This is Mohave County. Even if there were some sign of intelligent design anywhere (which would be of human origin) there is little here but ignorance and hate for those who do not believe, think, act, walk, talk and look like everyone else here.

Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Article comment by: F H

I agree with Sensible. I'm sure it is difficult to be the lone employee (at least among the editorial staff) that believes in education, science and displays intelligent opinions. Keep the faith (pun intended).

Replying to Rick O' there's really only one word - WHAT?

Proud Christian, nice to know there are a few of you reasonable Christians left in town. I too, saw the debate. Well debate is stretching it. Mr Hamm refused to answer so many of Mr Nye's questions with anything except "I have a book". Any reasonable, thinking person - Mr Hamm might say, "Made in God's image" knows proof requires more than one source.

I suppose the real surprise here is that this is actually debated. It is sad that our education has declined over the years to a point where so many of our citizens refuse to accept science. Of course we think there are too many uneducated American adults now, wait for 20 years. With the home schooling and charter school fiascos we will be fighting for the best cave to call home.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: V Stokes

"Evolution is a complete fraud."

Yep...of course it is because some Supreme Being just waved his hand and made the world and everything on it.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014
Article comment by: origional kingman resident

Edward T. I am not saying that I believe in creationism. I am saying that evolution is only agreeable to liberals when it is a tool with which to put Christians down.
Saying that the principles of evolution apply only to plant and animal behavior and not to the human behavior of adaptation is like saying gravity only exists in some places on earth and not others.

You can copy and paste from the Bible all day long, but in no way does the New Testament advocate governments to steal resources from some and become the total source of support for others.
The Bible tells the INDIVIDUAL to be charitable. Jesus said give a man a fish and he eats today, teach him to fish and he eats everyday. Jesus advocated for self sufficiency.

The truly elderly and infirm should be supported by society. It is a favorite liberal straw man to claim that conservatives don't care about those who truly cannot take care of themselves when they call for welfare reform, however, 1/4 of our society is not too elderly or ill to work.

There is a whole segment of society that has adapted to the welfare state by believing that spending a lifetime taking from others by accepting welfare is an acceptable way of life.

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Evolution is a complete fraud. Most evolutionists are guilty of not checking the facts. If they did, they would easily see, evolution has so many holes in it, there is not the slightest possibility it is true.

Most of us are at least vaguely aware of the book of Genesis...God made the Heavens and the earth....blah blah blah. There actually IS proof of that and one day, when time permits I intend to go into it.

Meanwhile, atheists. Don't kid yourself. Intelligent design is all around us. Nothing slunk out of the mire and later was able to build a skyscraper.

I always found it interesting years ago, while reading in the Bible, that the earth was referred to as round......long, long, long before it was proven to be round...but in fact at the time was assumed to be flat. Figure that one out.

And poor Darwin, whose evolutionary theory was based on species.....was NEVER able to even define what species is.

We do know this. Darwin's so called theory helped fuel the ovens at Auschwitz, Hitler used genocide to try to speed up his belief in evolution and in our own country, thanks to Darwin, we had the eugenics movement which pushed forced sterilization and Margaret Sanger's lovely Planned Parenthood which pushed abortions of dark skinned babies, or "human weeds".

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014
Article comment by: Justa Citizen

There's that old liberal philosophy coming out. Be tolerant of others beliefs if you are a conservative but if you're a liberal, only be tolerant if other's beliefs agree with your's.
Being an agnostic, I feel what others religious beliefs are is they're business,
Remember, if you don't believe in Christianity, don't be a Christian, in all other cases, mind your own business.

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

OKR, you think you know evolution but you completely wrong and applying that twisted logic to the poor & disabled is obscene. Survival of the biggest, baddest and toughest is completely at odds with Christ’s teachings in the eight beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)

Blessed are …
-the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
-those who mourn: for they will be comforted.
-the meek: for they will inherit the earth.
-those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be satisfied.
-the merciful: for they will be shown mercy.
-the pure in heart: for they will see God.
-the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God.
-those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 6:24–26:
Woe to you …
-who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
-who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
-who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
-when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

OKY would rather he strong conquer the weak, the rich devour the poor, the bullies stomp the ill, the fat eat plenty, the poor scrounge in the streets, and the disabled put out of their misery ... so you don't have to be offended by someone else's poverty.

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“What puzzles me is that liberals will often treat Christians with distain for their preference for creationism over evolution.”

Seriously? People who look upon The Flintstones as a documentary do not deserve to be treated with disdain?

Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2014
Article comment by: THE TEA PARTY IS ON KOCH

I think you meant to say "survival of the richest", right?

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

What puzzles me is that liberals will often treat Christians with distain for their preference for creationism over evolution. However, when it comes to putting the principles of the theory of evolution into play, they find that these principles get into the way of their liberal agenda of controlling the population, so they promptly disclaim these principles.

For example, one of the primary principles of evolution is survival of the fittest. Animal and plant life either adapt to become fit, or they die out. The system of economics follows this same principle.

Humans, being relatively intelligent, are pretty good at figuring out ways to adapt their behavior so they can survive. They will find ways to earn money. Capitalism is a testament to the ability of the average person to succeed in finding ways to support themselves.

Just like we are told that we should not feed animals in the wild, or they will become dependent on the easy food we provide and not hunt as they should, the liberal system of the welfare state does the same thing to the motivations of the people receiving handouts. It interferes with the principles of survival and adaptation.

Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Article comment by: biker randy

Nikki B, an excellant response to the author. I am an agnostic but as I live thru life things have happened to me I can't explain except that they were from a higher being than me. So I am in the middle of this but sway more towards the Christian side as I learn more in life. But I don't believe I need to belong to a church and do live by the 10 Commandments. I believe if I live my life in what I believe is the truth I will not go to Hell if there really is such a thing after death. If I am wrong, then so be it.

What bothers me the most is the millions of humans who believe in what they have been taught religiously and they all can't be right. I'm talking about the other faiths like Muslims, etc. where humans kill each other in believing what they were taught in their lives. Something that has been going on for hundreds of years. So I really don't know if I have all the facts or not in my beliefs.

But I certainly won't automatically berate what others have been taught in their lives. I just feel we will all find the truth after death. Whether that means eternity after death or no answer after death.

Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Article comment by: THE TEA PARTY IS ON KOCH

Thank You Fox Hound. No one could have said it better!

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: Nikki B

There isn't space enough here to properly respond, but I do want to make a few quick points.

(1) All things "scientific" must be run through the scientific method (SM), which is: hypothesize, test, observe, collect data, repeat. Let others repeat the experiment using your parameters, and if the results are the same, it can be said to be a scientific fact.

(2) There are six different meanings of the word "evolution" and they are often used interchangeably. It can be used to describe cosmological events such as the big bang, or as molecules to man theory, or mutation/speciation or just simply change. It's important to keep that in mind when discussing the issue.

(3) Cosomological evolution (the big bang) is not a scientific fact. It cannot be run through the SM. Neither can M-to-M theory. Therefore, it is unprovable and not scientific.

(4) Both creationists and evolutionists have the same data to work with. What this comes down to is starting worldview. Neither can be proven. Both are based on a system of faith (see #3).

(5) Origins theory of any kind is not required to learn about science.

(6) Belief in the bible as literal requires a creationist worldview. There cannot be both Created and Evolved origins. ID is not a valid alternative.

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: drawde nihcmot

Agreed, it is a very interesting article and one I, for the most part agree with.

What I don't understand is why people have to belittle and denigrate the opinions of others. Being an agnostic, I don't go along with much of the Christian line, but I don't have to put them down to make myself feel better. In truth, most of them would probably go along with the fact the world is millions of years old, not 6000.

It's that tolerance thing the liberals are always screaming about wanting others to be, but never quite figure out how to be tolerant themselves of other's beliefs.

The fact is that nobody really "knows". I even have a little suspicion about these scientist who tell us something is 10 million years old. Really!!! Are they sure it's not 5 mil or 20 mil? And we hear all the time about a new discovery putting the universe older than we thought.

A few hundred years ago, some people thought the earth was flat. A few hundred years from now, who knows what we will have discovered that is not what we "know" today?

Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

What is astounding is that Mr. Choate got hired in the first place. It certainly gives me hope for the future. Mr. Rand Paul made a speech yesterday about how the Republican party needs to change if they want to win another election. The locals in Kingman might want to heed the warning. Mr. Roberson did not get where he is by being stupid. I don't agree with much of what he says but he knows his audience as well as any entertainer. He knows how to push their buttons and how to get them to send him dollars. Which is really what religion is all about.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Charles Darwin

It is likely the usual suspects will tell you, you are throwing off Biblical principles. However those who insist on their version of Creationism are actually putting the deity in a box of their own making. They insist that the deity could only create in their own arrogant image, not in an infinitely complex process.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Edward Tomchin

Thank you Mr Choate for an enlightened essay. It's the old guard standing hard against evolution, both the idea and the practice, religious and political. I'd ask a question: Given the history you've suggested, graphing an xy chart shows us nearly vertical, yes? It's clear you've a positive view of humanity. Then, I ask, what happens if you project that graph into the future? I just can't see us self-destructing. We've faced down that armageddon and survived our own best efforts to destroy ourselves. I see us spreading out into the galaxy, populating other worlds, developing new civilizations. It seems we're just at the beginning of technology and civilization. (Ref: Speaker for the Dead, O.S.Card)

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Proud Christian

This debate was fantastic. Glad you brought this to other's attention. Still available on YouTube. What made me so proud to say I am a Christian was NOT the supposed Christian pushing denial of reality, but that the great Scientist repeatedly said that there are billions of us Christians who don't buy the junk science of creationism. The so called Museum of Creation is a joke and an embarrassment to the majority of Christians who get lumped into their company by claiming to be "true" Christians. Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to show we are not all crazy.

Posted: Sunday, February 9, 2014
Article comment by: Sensible Moderate

Alan, it's always refreshing to see your columns - evidence that there really is one person in the Miner upper echelon who is both coherent and reasonable.

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