Top 10 Reasons Why Christians Should Study Evolution in High School

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Traditionally, the debate between evolution and creationism as secondary education topics has been a hot button issue. As a matter of fact, the famous Scopes trial once focused on the very question of whether evolution should be taught in schools at all. However, even if you have no intention of believing in the tenants of evolution, here are the reasons why it might be important to at least study it as much as possible. If for no other reason, you will want to be able to know your enemy, as it is, and intelligently discuss your belief in an intelligent design.

10. Christian Theology States You Will Not Be Tested Above What You Can Handle

Gutenberg-Bible

The King James version of the Bible states that “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”  To many Christians, this is not a minor point. The verse is commonly interpreted to state that “God will not test you above what you are able to handle.” If being presented the theory of evolution in a classroom challenges a Christian faith to the point where said faith is abandoned, then the onus would seem not to be of the theory of evolution, but rather on the strength of the faith. It would be the same if a Christian took a philosophy course which challenged a belief in God, or if they encountered an atheist with well-thought out views on God’s existence. Faith, to be faith, needs to be able to survive challenges.

9. Piltdown Man (and other hoaxes)

piltdown-man

Knowledge runs both ways. As a matter of fact, for every embarrassing statement made by a professed Christian, there are also more than a few made by professed scientists. “Piltdown Man” was actually skull fragments made out of three separate species, put together to make what was assumed to be an evolutionary “missing link.” The skull fragments were all found in near gravel pits in Piltdown, East Sussex, England. The finds were made by hoaxer Charles Dawson in 1912, and were not officially proven false until 1953.

Outright forgeries, disguised as proof, have long confounded and stalled evolutionary science. Regardless of your beliefs, you are not going to be able to begin to argue the points associated with evolution without a proper study of the evidence, even if it has been completely hoaxed.

8. The Debate Over Archaeopteryx

Archaeopteryx

The first bones for the Archaeopteryx were first found in 1861 in Germany. Archaeopteryx had apparent feathers, a wishbone, and wings, as well as three fingered claws. Its beak had teeth in it. The image was electrifying, as Archaeopteryx seemed to many at the time to be the first bird in history. It was even seen as the evolutionary link between reptiles and birds.

However,  modern science has started to cast doubt on how much this raven-sized creature really had in common with what we now consider to be birds. As a matter of fact, Archaeopteryx may simply now just be a small dinosaur.  Many of the same features that made Archaeopteryx seem to be an avian forefather also were found in T-Rex skeletons. At the moment, Archaeopteryx seems to have more in common with being a small velociraptor  than a hybrid or evolutionary link. If you are simply shown a picture though, you would have no basis for argument.

7. The Study of Adaptation Is a Fascinating Science

horse-adaptation

All animals adapt to their environment, up to and including humans. Bones of ancient horses had feet rather than hooves. There are fish today that neither have, nor need, eyes. The adaptations that a species makes, in order to survive, is a fascinating study. In your mind, it may or may not  support the theory of evolution, however it is enthralling to see how animals have changed over time.

Adaptation itself does not definitively prove the theory of evolution, in that the species is evolving within itself, and not becoming a different species. There isn’t a slow transition from a horse to a pig. It’s still a horse, only now it has hooves. How the world, and the animals within it, has changed over the years is pertinent to our understanding of the world as a whole.

6. Mutations Are Real

mutation

It is fairly unlikely that you will wake up one day and discover that you can shoot beams from your eyes, read minds, or have forearm claws ready to be fitted for indestructible metal. However, mutations (both beneficial and harmful) are a very real fact. In the future, DNA manipulation and mutation may very well become a part of daily life. Ignorance of the science of genetics, or how natural hereditary mutations manifest themselves, seems to be rather limiting on the part of people who refuse to learn about them.

5. The Biblical Timeline

evolution

The Book of Genesis will tell you that water animals came before land animals. It will also tell you that after the land animals there came  humans. Interestingly enough, an evolutionary timeline will tell you exactly the same thing. There is a severe discrepancy over how it all came about. However, is it not amazing that a book written by ancients, and the modern scientific community, have come to roughly the same conclusion about who came first on Earth?

Fish before mammals, and mammals before man, is not in doubt by either side of the equation. That may mean that both sides have more in common that either are really willing to admit.

4. The Galapagos Islands

Galapagos-tortoise

The lesson of the Galapagos Islands is every bit as relevant today as it was when Charles Darwin first visited the Islands in 1835. Darwin was viewing a landscape of ecological diversity, precisely because the islands had been untouched by man. There were species there that were found nowhere else in the world.

In modern times, the armistice in the Korean War, and the embargo against Cuba, have created strikingly similar results. The demilitarized zone in the Korean Peninsula is a lush strip of green which can be seen from space. There are species in Cuba which have survived and thrived since the 1950’s, precisely because of the lack of tourism. Whatever conclusions Darwin drew, it is fascinating to study areas in which the absence of man has led to an explosion of natural extravagance.

3. The Differing Theories On How Evolution Came About

evolution-theories

Evolution is still characterized as a theory. That means that there are differing views, and divergent theories, as to how evolution actually happened. At what point does a member of a species simply give birth to another species? Does that ever actually happen?

The most generally accepted idea is that animals will split into different environments. Those animals will then adapt to that environment, to the point where they are no longer able to successfully breed with animals in the other environment. If they cannot breed and create animals capable of breeding, then the animals are, by definition, different species. Breeding will also often stress dominant genetic traits, and weed out weaker ones over time. The difference of opinion (even within the scientific community) makes these theories an interesting point of study, without the burden of absolutes.

2. The Possibility Exists For Magnificent Undiscovered Animals

Giant-Squid

Evolutionary ideas can actually help a believer in God believe more. For instance, a dominant species’ ability to survive hostile environments can make what was once considered to be pure myth a reality. Take giant squids. For generations, they were believed to be more the stuff of fisherman’s tales and science fiction, rather than scientific fact. Given enough time, science caught up with the stories of salty old sailors and proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that giant squids do exist to this day.

Knowing the awe-inspiring magnificence of some of those previously-unknown creations is truly humbling. By studying evolution and the natural world, an appreciation for what Christians believe to be God’s creation can actually be heightened.

1. Charles Darwin Never Denied The Existence of God

charles-darwin

Charles Darwin, given his reputation as the Father Of Evolution, is a surprisingly bad choice of hero for atheists, since he never actually stated that he was an atheist, or did not believe in God. Darwin did not necessarily see a belief in God as incompatible with a study of the natural world. From his own mouth: “science has nothing to do with Christ, except insofar as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities.”

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Darwin saw Christianity and science as being in different spheres, and not necessarily conflicting. This does not mean that Darwin stood without conflict over the issue. It does mean that Darwin never espoused an atheist point of view, and that Christians do not necessarily have to espouse an anti-evolutionary point of view either.


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27 Comments

  1. I studied all my life in a catholic school and we DID learn evolution. Not al christians are close minded cretionist jerks like reddit and 4chan make you believe

    • SilenceSoLoud on

      I went through Catholic schools (kindergarten through college) as well and the only time creationism came into the classroom (science or religion) was the teacher saying if you believe in creationism, too bad, you’re being tested on evolution.

      In fact, the catholic church endorses the theory of evolution and sees no conflict. They just argue that the soul is created directly by God, making humans special. Unfortunately, we get lumped in with the annoying fundamentalist everytime.

  2. christians should learn about evolution because its correct and what they belive is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong . Thank god for making me an athiest

    • There’s nothing more hilarious than atheists trying to justify their own existence when, in fact, atheism teaches that there is no real value in existence.

      • Common Sense on

        There is nothing more hilarious than theists (nuts) trying to justify their own existence when, in fact, religion tells you are nothing but a pet for some senile imaginary lunatic up in the sky.

        Atheism does not care for the reasons of existence. It simply states what everyone, including yourself (behind that thick head of yours), knows based on evidence that god does not exist. There are are more than the slave-master god hypothesis to give justification for existence and find value in it.

        • If you don’t care about reasons for existence, then why exist?

          “It simply states what everyone, including yourself (behind that thick head of yours), knows based on evidence that god does not exist.”

          Really? Where is this evidence? Show it to us. Present it. Because I’m guessing you’re using a lot more faith than you’re willing to admit, because you’re drawing a conclusion about a being who, by description, is not bound by the laws of nature, and I’m guessing your evidence is purely naturalistic.

          Funny thing is, if atheism is true, then atheism itself is merely a chemical reaction in your brain, just as religion is a chemical reaction in my brain. It’s all chemical reaction, and since there is no overarching ethical standard, then YOU have no right, under your own philosophy, to presume that your own beliefs have more value than mine.

    • Dude, there are many Christians who think evolution is wrongx6, too. You already understand how they feel about a bunch of people with what they believe to be wildly inaccurate beliefs, and so stop bashing them. You’re only contributing to the number of Christians who do not tolerate atheists because they keep encountering more of them who act like you. In short, you make atheism look bad just like the Christians you hate make Christianity look bad.

  3. Sigh…

    1. Let’s make this very clear: “Christians” are not synonymous with “creationists”. There are Christians who are not creationists and there are creationists who are not Christian.

    2. Second – there is no conflict between science and religion. They cover 2 different areas of life. The purpose of science is to educate us about the observable universe. Religion attempts to educate us about the unobservable universe. While they may cross paths, they can co-exist quite nicely.

    3. Finally, the big debate among Christian creationists is really focused around a single word in Genesis chapters 1 and 2: yowm. In most translations of the Bible, the word “yowm” gets translated as “day”. Creationists have taken this to the extreme of saying that it is a literal, 24-hour day. The problem is that yowm doesn’t JUST mean day. It also means month, year, era, and undefined period of time. Basically, Genesis 1 is saying “First, God created light. Second, God created the firmament…” and so on. If you really want to watch creationists twitch over this, point out that Genesis 2:3 and 2:4 both have yowm, but one describes a single “day” in the creation process (where God rested) while the other describes the entire “week”-long creation process. Obviously, there’s some flexibility. Throw in the fact that the vast majority of Hebrew scholars don’t subscribe to the 24-hour theory and… well…

    I’m not saying I don’t believe God COULD have done it in seven literal days. I’m just saying that in a universe where quasars are 14 billion light-years away, I think that maybe there needs to be some flexibility in the issue.

  4. Regardless if who is right or wrong, evolution should be taught in schools on the same grounds religion is – because it is a belief. Denying a possible and more than probable truth is denying people the right to make their own minds up. It’s not healthy.

    • Common Sense on

      I suggest you should look into your own comment and see why you should follow your own advice. By the way, evolution is a scientific theory (there is a difference from regular theories and scientific), while religion is not. Please learn at least the basics of evolution (at that, try to learn the other side of anything before you go on a tirade of regurgitation based on what your preacher said) before making yourself look ignorant. – by the way, this goes for most of the commentators and even the author of this article.

  5. ParusMajor on

    Oh, wait a minute now. Why would you think that Christians do NOT study evolution? Do you think all Christians are stupid? I am a Christian and I was still taught evolution in high school.

    • The author never stated that Christians DO NOT study evolution, nor did he make any assertion that Christians were stupid. All he was doing was explaining why it is good that they do learn about it. There has been an ongoing fight from Christians to stop public schools from teaching evolution and replace it with creationism. The author was simply giving reasons (good ones) as to why it is important to keep evolution in the curriculum and why removing it would be damaging to our youth.

      I too learned about evolution in public school, most people have. However, unlike most people, I actually went through public school and private Christian school. And at the Christian school I attended, evolution was not taught at all and Creationism was taught as fact rather than theory. Being that most of the students at the school had been attending the school (as well as the connected Baptist church) for their entire lives, they never contested this. However, I was enrolled in the school my 9th grade year and had already learned about evolution in middle school. I was expelled about half way through the school year because I was very vocal in my disapproval of the curriculum and because I was presenting evolution to the other kids during lunch. It turns out that most of their parents wanted their children to remain ignorant and complained to the Principal/Reverend about me.

      So no, not all Christians are stupid. But apparently, some of them want their children to be.

  6. Good list. I was expecting a very one-sided list, but got a very well-balanced viewpoint.

    Of course, the comments often end up being a slanging match between diametrically opposed fundamentalists (and I’m sure I’ll get my own suitably vitriolic response).

    As an engineer, scientist, and Christian, I think evolution should be taught. As the theory it is. Scientific theories are taken to be true until they are proved false, and can be very useful guides to the universe we live in.
    Unfortunately it is often taught in the UK as a verified scientific law, setting up a needless opposition to the Christian viewpoint. Belief in either theory to the point of thoughtless dismissal of all others is in itself very unscientific, and as the list itself hints at, the two are not actually mutually exclusive.

    thanks again for the well balanced list.

    • Evolution is pretty much a law.
      At this point, given all of the evidence towards evolution, there is pretty much no chance whatsoever of it being proven false. So well done Britain.

  7. So here’s a theory. Perhaps Darwin didn’t claim to be an atheist or denounce religion because in the 1800s he would have been burnt at the stake for been a heratic. Fact is religions of all types rely on the ignorance of their followers and an intrenched fear of punishment from an all knowing all seeing being to maintain their hold on power over the masses. If they had their way the world would still be flat and the sun would revolve around it.

    • That is not true. My church and every church I have been a member of has always believed that God gave us a mind and we are to use it. You are confusing the small mindedness of men who lead with fear-mongering, which happens in every vein of life unfortunately, with the true teachings of Christianity. We believe God made us and knows that man has a mind to think and a curious mind at that. That is why we have free-will/free-thought, so we can question and make our own decisions.

      I won’t argue that many terrible things have been done in the name of religion, but many more great kindnesses are done and done every day by Christians. Fanatics and manipulators should color all of Christ-followers.

  8. Richard Watson on

    What about Muslims? Should they study or are you just targeting Christians? The real reason you hate Christians is because you refuse fidelity

    • I am a Christian. Understanding that world and its creatures evolve is not against my Christian beliefs. Think before you react. Did you even read the article. Sheesh.

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