I don’t “get” why it matters: Creationism vs. Evolution

Yesterday I tweeted a joke about the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham about Creationism and Evolution. As the debate approached its third hour I tweeted:

I was making less than clear reference to the more than 150 years that have passed since Darwin published On The Origin of Species, and the nearly 90 years since The State of Tennessee v. Scopes.

As a sociologist of religion (forgive me!), I know that the debate still rages, and I have a general idea of the demographics and religious factors that tend to correlate with the various positions. As a student of society, I understand why knowing about this debate and who is on which side is relevant. Just earlier this week I discussed Darren Sherkat’s recent article about religion and scientific literacy in the United States. He makes a convincing argument that because the public is involved in making decisions about science policy and application, scientific literacy is a valuable social good. That all makes sense to me. I get it.

Moment to moment, however, I have never been convicted by the spirit that the origin of our species matters very much. Were we created as is? Did we evolve? I think we evolved. The evidence is there to support the theory. I know, in the sense that I’m aware of it being true, the science of evolution helps us develop technologies and knowledge that help us live in a better world. That said, on a day to day basis, I think my own certainty about the origin of the species is completely irrelevant. I don’t need an answer one way or the other to make sense of the world I live in or to give meaning to the things I do. I just don’t “get” it.

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