Evolution: Darwin’s theories exploited hideously

July 12, 2007

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Re: ‘Taking the middle ground on evolution’ (letters, June 28)

Polls suggest that, like the above letter writer, most Canadians take the middle ground on evolution, believing life is created, but also adapting to changing environmental needs.

The question remains, however, do we believe we’ve evolved from an apelike being as Darwin theorized? Or do we believe human adaptations have been less dramatic, and humans have always had a higher place among living things?

And how does this all affect how we see others in our human family? As someone who’s worked extensively in other cultures — the Arab world and now Africa — I find this an interesting, underlying aspect of the evolution debate.

At its worst, Darwin’s theories have been exploited hideously. Hitler often used the German word for evolution, entwicklung, citing “lower human types,” and often spoke of “monstrosities halfway between man and ape.”

But even without such madmen, 20th century Social Darwinism brought its own harmful mentalities, often operating under the surface of daily life, arguably even now as global disparities deepen.

Further, how does believing one’s ancestors are anything less than human affect how we see ourselves personally?

I, for one, would stay in bed with the drapes closed.

There are scientists who see reasonable evidence that intelligent beings with a purpose, like you and I, have originated from an intelligent source with a purpose. I buy that because the alternative seems not only harmful to others, but deflating personally.

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July 12, 2007 • Posted in ,
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