Sunday, January 21, 2018

Some Thoughts on Evolution from My Students

I gave my students extra credit on the final exam for my Evolution course in Fall 2017 if they shared their thoughts about evolution and religion. I wanted to pass a few of them on to you. I did not require them to agree with me; they could write anything they wanted and get credit, so long as they gave reasons for their beliefs. Remember, my university is in rural Oklahoma. Very few of the students actually had to take the course; it was a self-selected sample of students taking an elective. There were actually more anti-religious than religious students. The samples below are from the more thoughtful answers, often some combination of creation and evolution.

“I believe the theories and approaches of evolution are scientific fact, proven to be right, therefore, un-arguable. Evolution has shown prediction of how life flourishes and expands. Personally, I still believe there is a greater “force” that drives life and consciousness, and our intelligence is trying to hint to us there is something more, even if it’s not a white man with a beard.”

“Jesus—Done…I’m kidding. I am a Christian, so I do believe that God created existence. I think that God answers the question “Why is there something instead of nothing?” Why was there a big bang? Why was there a first cell? Why was there anything? Science can explain how, but not why. That is why I believe in creationism. With that said though, I also know evolution occurs. I mean come on, the evidence is strong for it. I do think that some of the Bible is metaphorical and poetic…”

“I am a Christian…However, I believe that evolution occurred and is still occurring today…We have billions of years of evidence suggesting its validity, so who am I to say it’s wrong. I’ve seen a catfish walk from one pond to another, this makes me believe that they could have stayed on land like Tiktaalik.”

“…if I was to create something then why not create a natural law to creation so you don’t have to keep changing things…Either way I shall always have an open mind and learn.”

“I am a Christian but my belief system isn’t anchored to the infallible bible. I…see the Bible as a book of wisdom…That being said, I believe that God created all that is and allowed the laws of nature to form life as we know it…There is no need to attack timelines because what God gave us was love for one another and never intended on us fighting over when things happened.”

“I have yet to understand why our origin story wants to be dictated by so many institutions. Rather I wish we could look back and appreciate just how amazing the story of our earth and species is. Instead of argue about it, why don’t we try and figure out more about it.”

“I was raised Southern Baptist and thought about salvation…the divine, etc. I had an early traumatic event when I was left alone in my house when 3-4 years old—I, literally, thought I slept through the rapture and was left behind, I went wandering outside crying and could not find anyone…I continued going to church, but things kept happening that made me question everything I’d been told…While I respect the beliefs of individuals I’ve found it increasingly hard because I do not understand how a person can be content…not questioning something that makes up such a large part of our identity…”

“I don’t believe evolution…Science does not care about opinions, it only is concerned with fact. The fact is that evolution has occurred…The idea of a god creating all life that we know is truly insulting to the billions of years of history of life fighting to survive.”

“I don’t know.”

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