TED Conversations

Tim Colgan


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Why don't people believe the fact of evolution?

Biological evolution, the principle that species change over time due to the combination of random mutations and natural selection is a well accepted scientific fact (about a clear a fact as any).

Why do so many people insist on denying it? Why do people feel such a need to protect an archaic world view that they deny science?


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    Apr 11 2011: I think we tend to categorize people and ideas and these pigeon-holes are numbered one, two, threeand so on in order of their importance to us ? You think ?
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      Apr 11 2011: Actually, I only have two pigeon holes:
      1) people who believe in science.
      2) those who believe in superstition.

      What was the third category?
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        Apr 11 2011: You sir, you happen to be a more enlightened person. But I was thinking in terms of personality and I believe arrogance could be another which would supercede other categories. Myself, I believe that evolution of species and memes, if you wish, makes sense but why would you state it as a Fact ?
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          Apr 12 2011: Helen: Do you believe that the existence of atoms is a fact? I bet you (or I) could name less supporting evidence for the existence of atoms then we can for the theory of biological evolution via mutation and natural selection.

          Yet you refuse to call it a fact. Why?
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          Apr 12 2011: Helen, it is a fact. Evolution has been observed countless times and people have been doing 'artificial selection' since the dawn of times to breed better pets, cattle, etc.
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          Apr 12 2011: Helen, this is a question of definition. you say that evolution is not a fact. by fact, you mean something that is unchallengeable, and we can be 100% sure about it. but such statements about the world can not possibly exist. none. zip. we can not say with 100% certainty that the earth revolves around the sun. such facts only exist in mathematics.

          when we say evolution is fact, we say that it is as sure as newton's laws, the theory of relativity, or that malaria is caused by bacteria. these statements are in the same league. both are facts as we, scientists use the word. neither of these are facts as 100% sure statements.
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          Apr 13 2011: Masonic: I concede your point that all science is under continual scrutiny and subject to revision when new observations are made.

          I suppose I was just using "fact" to be provocative, but the point I was trying to make is that deniers of evolution are working from a motive other than observing evidence and determining truths. What motivation do you see?

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