Technology and evolutionary science often meld harmoniously in disciplines such as molecular evolutionary biology and paleontology. New discoveries of missing link fossils have been enabled by advanced software tools and lab equipment, as has new evidence of the path of evolution in the genome provided by advanced sequencing equipment. While the wealth of scientific evidence has the scientific community virtually convinced that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution proposed in the On the Origin of Species and later refinements provide a framework to understanding how life grew and changed throughout the Earth’s history, there are many in the public that remain critical of the theory.
With next Tuesday marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s momentous work, tensions are high between the scientific community and anti-evolution activists. Some of these critics argue that the Earth is as little as 6,000 years old. Others argue that the Earth is older, but that evolution never occurred — that life on Earth merely appeared.
Such theories have been given a voice by actor Kirk Cameron, who is best known for his role in the 1985 sitcom “Growing Pains”. Mr. Cameron has taken a curious tactic, touring the country handing out 100,000 free copies of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species on college campuses, with one significant catch — the book comes with a critical 50-page introduction co-written by Mr. Cameron.
Mr. Cameron recently popped up on Purdue University’s campus, handing out copies with California-based Christian minister Ray Comfort. States Mr. Cameron to People, “Atheism has been on the rise for years now, and the Bible of the atheists is The Origin of Species. We have a situation in our country where young people are entering college with a belief in God and exiting with that faith being stripped and shredded. What we want to do is have student make an informed, educated decision before they chuck their faith.”
Local pastor Jared Brothers of Stringtown Church of God in Covington, an Indiana church, helped with the distribution. He stated, “”I don’t believe in evolution. I am all about a personal relationship with God. The main thing is to get some literature into people’s hands and to get God’s word out. That’s the goal.”
The controversial introduction claims Darwin’s work fathered Nazi eugenics and overall misogyny. Describes Mr. Cameron, “You can see where [Hitler] clearly takes Darwin’s ideas to some of their logical conclusions and compares certain races of people to lower evolutionary life forms. If you take Darwin’s theory and extend it to its logical end, it can be used to justify all number of very horrendous things.”
Scientists on campus rallied against the handout with a handout of their own, passing out pro-Darwin fish stickers emblazoned with “I Support Science.” And a significant book summarizing the collected visual results of evolutionary biologists has also been launched in support of the theory, written by Mary Ellen Hannibal and featuring photography by Susan Middleton.
The book titled, Evidence of Evolution, is not free — it costs $29.95 (though it’s available for just under $20 on Amazon.com). It features collections of photographed animal specimens of closely related animals, tracing the path of evolution through the world’s jungles and forests. Many of the specimens photographed look similar, but have been shown to be different species, thanks to evolutionary subtleties inside their bodies. The book focuses primarily on such examples of microevolution, but also offers photographic evidence of macroevolution.
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