The science of evolution
The science of evolution

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Free course

The science of evolution

Conclusion

Is a belief in God compatible with the science of evolution, or does the question itself confuse the respective roles of science and religion?

Activity

Now that you have worked through the free course, try to answer the self assessment question below.

Which of statements A−H would, if true, constitute scientifically valid grounds for rejecting the theory of evolution by means of natural selection?

Note down your answers before checking them against those provided.

  • A The majority of people disagree with the theory.

  • B Because it leaves no role for God, it leads to atheism.

  • C It led to the racist ideology of the Nazi party.

  • D It is difficult to conceive of how complex structures such as the human eye could have evolved by means of natural selection.

  • E Species appear abruptly in the fossil record in every instance, and thereafter show no significant change (i.e. none that are sufficient for descendants to be classified as different species).

  • F Frequencies of different alleles in populations that are known to be subject to selective mortality show no significant change through successive generations.

  • G Genetic variation between different local populations within species shows no correlation with any differences in their environments.

  • H

    Relative genetic similarity between species shows no correspondence with their classification, based on anatomical and physiological characters.

Answer

None of statements A-D constitute scientifically valid grounds for rejecting the theory of evolution by means of natural selection, as they present only personal opinions - no matter how widespread or strongly held - and not observational evidence that could falsify any of the testable predictions made by the theory, hence are irrelevant to its scientific validity.

In contrast, statements E-H would constitute evidence against the theory, if true.

However, statements E-H are all factually incorrect and there is ample evidence for this in each case, thereby contributing to the mass of evidence that in fact supports the theory of evolution by natural selection.

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