I'm inclined to agree on confronting the full history of evolutionary theory rather than ignoring all challenges to it. However, on the subject of what polls tell us about how people think ("a recent poll taken for the BBC found that the British public was split on the issue: Only 48 percent of respondents thought evolution best explained the development of life on earth, while 22 percent chose creationism, 17 percent intelligent design, and the rest said they did not know.") I really think most people pay very little attention to matters scientific. (As I find whenever I open up a topic with elements of science in it, such as climate change - I'm struck by how people simply parrot what the last radio commentator said, rather than trying to understand some of the mechanics for themselves.)
I suspect that people also still 'believe' what is most psychologically comfortable in most cases, no matter the scientific evidence. The idea of a god saying, "Let there be light!" is much more orderly than a messy, unguided and unprincipled process; it provides life with a sense of meaning and purpose. How do you think most people would respond if asked in a poll:
Are you involved with your current partner because:
a) We fell in love
b) We were in the right hormonal condition and life stage to engage in temporary commitment?
Perhaps one in a 100 would answer b)! OK, OK, that's a joke, I know it's a combo of many things including b)!
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Michael Balter
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 11:55 AM
Subject: dealing with creationism and intelligent design

Since I am relatively new to this list I don't know what sort of discussions have taken place here about these subjects, but I thought list members might be interested in seeing (or maybe not!) an opinion piece I wrote on this for the International Herald Tribune a few weeks ago. I have gotten a lot of grief for these views from more diehard Darwinians but would be very interested in knowing how a lefty crowd sees these things. I have no preconceptions about that. This article should be freely available at this link, but let me know if you have trouble accessing it as I also posted it on my Web site.



Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
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