Thursday, September 9

do the evolution

At my family reunion last weekend, one of my relatives tried to convince me that Darwinism is all washed up. (Just for the record, yes, he's Christian and midwestern.) I didn't get to ask him whether he believed in evolution at all, or just evolution by natural selection. It was difficult to get a word in edge-wise because he's a hyper speaking, in love with his own voice. (Very much unlike your dear blogger here.)

He wanted me to send him an email to tell him why an experiment at my work, CERN, is called ALICE. I thought about writing him a little diatribe against creationism and intelligent design ideas... I haven't gotten around to it yet. But here's a summary of a study I wrote in my summer internship and which was just published. The study used the ideas of natural selection to genetic drift and so on to examine a group of genes in humans. Apart from what the study tells us about how natural selection has worked in people, it could help find genes involved in disease--and, the hope is, new treatments.

I wonder if creationists would accept evolution and natural selection if it helped save their lives. The burgeoning field of Darwinian medicine is trying to do this. Ah, creationists might say, but how does a few more moments on Earth compare with everlasting peace in Heaven? Perhaps their minds won't be swayed so easily. But whenever I despair because I think people are mired in a wrong-headed view, I remember that's it's good people don't change their minds too easily. Otherwise, brain washing would be all too easy, and things would probably be worse overall.


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