Disbelieving Evolution is Anti-science

For an old controversy with roots in institutional inequality (eg, the aristocracy in England in the late 18th century), evolution has a proud tradition of being rejected by the devout non-believers of science. And yet you see them claim they just make their minds up, not being anti-science or uninformed. They just buy the other argument.

The problem for their position: rejection of evolution amounts to rejection of science, due to the substance of the theory of evolution.

The theory of evolution states that those biological organisms that best adapt to their environment will tend to exist, while those maladaptive organisms will tend not to exist.

More generally, an evolutionary system (biological or not) is a system in which entities continue to exist (via simple continuation, via propagation, or some other mechanism) or cease to exist (via death, simple removal, or some other mechanism) based on having the property of being functional or not being functional in some context.

Thus, science itself is evolutionary. As are human thought, behavior, language, etc.

Science is based on the idea that explanatory power of an idea constitutes the fitness test. An idea which does not explain the evidence will tend to be rejected, while an idea which does explain the evidence will tend to be accepted.

Evolution is accepted exactly because it fits the evidence for why all of these organisms exist today while others that existed in the past died off.

Science is accepted exactly because it is a more functional way of seeking to understand the world and interact with it than other methods such as poking everything you see with a stick. If poking everything you see with a stick could generate the thrust needed to land humans on the moon, for example, then it would at least be a real competitor to science. It isn’t.

But without some better explanation than “I made my mind up” to reject evolution, any claim to be accepting of science in general would be mistaken. Moreover, any theory which explains the biological records better than evolution would instantly be adopted as a new paradigm for conducting all scientific inquiry, so those that reject evolution should be beating the rest of the scientific community in publishing astounding new findings in all areas.

It is not the case. The sad truth is that those who reject evolution do not understand it. They do not understand science. They have some vague notion, as they probably have with mathematics and other areas of knowledge.

And it is a sad truth, because a failure to model evolution and science is also a failure to model the psyche of their fellow man. And that failure leads to all sorts of anti-scientific political decisions that cause massive suffering. That failure means their own children have a lower quality of life.

Evolution is a beautiful idea that should be visited often with an eye toward how elegant systems can function. It is as beautiful as any painting or any song. And yet there are a lot of people that stare at it as if it’s a random dot autostereogram image (like those Magic Eye images that were popular some years ago), unable to bring into focus the reality before them. They dismiss it in favor of a simple line drawing with no depth or substance.