A Fair Question - November 1996
One of the reasons for having a booth at the Desert Empire Fair and Maturango Junction was to find out what questions people would ask about the theory of evolution. We were surprised that the most frequently asked question was,

"Why does it matter?"

Several people wondered what difference it makes if evolution is true or false. There isn't just one answer to this question because it matters to different people for different reasons. So, here are several answers to that one question.

It matters to geologists. The science of geology attempts to answer practical questions about mineral resources, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and climatic changes. Geologists need accurate information about past geologic processes in order to suggest intelligent courses of action in the present and the future. Much of what is currently believed about the age of rocks and how they were formed is based upon the theory of evolution. If evolution is false, then many important geologic theories need to be reexamined.

It matters to astronomers. Similarly, much of what astronomers believe about the size, age, and distance of stars depends upon the truth of the theory of evolution. If evolution is wrong, then many astronomical theories are incorrect.

It matters to biologists. Considerable effort has been spent by biologists attempting to prove that a living cell can form spontaneously from a chemical soup and that random mutations coupled with survival of the fittest can produce new species. When the theory of evolution is finally rejected, then biologists can abandon these foolish studies and do more fruitful research.

It matters to racists. The complete title of Darwin's classic work is, "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life". Darwin's book has been used to justify the racist practices of the 19th and 20th centuries. If the theory of evolution is not true, then there is no scientific justification for the belief that some people are more ape-like and therefore inferior to the more highly evolved people.

It matters to Christians. If the theory of evolution is true, then death is a natural process that is not the result of Adam's sin. Therefore Jesus' death on the cross could not pay the penalty for sin or redeem anyone from eternal death.

It matters to business people. If survival of the fittest is a natural law that is responsible for the advancement of the animal kingdom, then a similar process is the natural means for advancing commerce and industry. Laws that make ruthless business practices illegal, and policies that protect weaker businesses, should be repealed to allow the strongest businesses to advance naturally without artificial restrictions.

It matters to selfish people. If, as evolutionist Richard Dawkins has suggested, the "selfish gene" is necessary for survival, then selfishness is a virtue that should be encouraged. Children should be taught how to be more selfish so they can live more successful lives.

Since so many human beliefs, decisions, and actions are directly or indirectly affected by the theory of evolution, it is important to determine if the theory is true or not.

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