The serious heat in the debate is generated by the extremes on both sides, whose religious beliefs are threatened by the possibility even that evolution and non-evolutionary processes might co-exist. I suspect that most folks -- especially those who believe in God -- are not particularly uncomfortable with the possibility.
Of the two sides, the "evolution is false" position comes across as the least rational of the two. The mechanism for the accumulation of mutations over time is a very plausible one, especially given mankind's increasing knowledge of genetics.
The problem with the "evolution is everything" position is more subtle, but also unscientific: it lies in the area of pre-excluded hypotheses -- the starting assumption is that (say) an intelligent design hypothesis is a priori invalid. (You can see this argument on any number of FR threads). Here, too, the problem with this approach is highlighted by mankind's increasing knowledge of genetics: the very existence of the biotech industry demonstrates that it is not scientifically sound simply to exclude a "design" hypothesis without question. Genetic design is an established fact, with a growing set of methods and tools to accomplish its aims. Of course, the scientist who offers a "design" hypothesis must still provide evidence suitable for accepting or rejecting the hypothesis -- but the hypothesis itself is not invalid. (In a scientific sense, we're talking about the difference between validation and verification.)
But again -- at root the real heat in this particular debate tends to center on religious, rather than scientific issues. If you scratch the surface of an ardent Creationist, you're likely to find a person who is seriously worried that "evolution is true" implies that there is no God.
On the other hand, the existence of people like Dr. Dawkins suggests that there may be very little separating their scientific beliefs from their militant atheist ones. For them, the opposition to a "design" hypothesis seems more rooted in the fear that it implies the existence of God, than in any purely scientific objection.
So long as someone is willing to pay there will always be someone willing to collect... The only issue for him is who holds the collection plate in his temple for the god of communism or the gods of religion.
Well said. Add to that the fact that if they believe that the universe is not 6,000 years old, then the Bible must not be true.
This comes from an inability to grasp the various meanings of Hebrew words and an innate anti-intellectualism. Not one Young-Earther I've asked on these threads has ever made public their scientific education and work background. I wonder why?
I don't know anything about welding. I've never been trained in it and have no work experience. Imagine if I posted an article that promoted ideas on welding that were completely out of line with welding techniques and knowledge. In fact, the article claims that you can weld steel to ice cubes. If some people with actual welding experience and knowledge showed up to set me straight with the facts, would I accept their knowledge or call them atheists and boot-lickers at the Cult of the Temple of Weldingism? I would hope that I would do the former.
That's exactly what the Young-Earthers do. They blindly post things that they don't understand and insult anyone who actually knows what they're talking about. You try to rationalize with them, point out that the incontrovertible truth, and try to reason with them on the Bible. They don't understand it because they can't.