I don’t have to believe in evolution

January 18th, 2010

It seems someone on Facebook has set up a group called “We can find 1,000,000 people who DO believe [sic] in Evolution before June”.

The group was set up in response to a group called “we [sic] can find 1,000,000 people who don’t believe [sic] in Evolution befor [sic] June”.  What happens in June if they do not get a million members? Will they give up being creationists?

I considered joining the former group, because that genetic material changes  (evolves) from one generation to the next is a scientific fact. However, I wanted to give some thought to it (as a rational person should do) before adding my name to those of a group of strangers before I really know what they are about.

Roughly 30% of Facebook users live within the USA (ref. 1). According to Gallup polls, in 2008, 44% of those polled in the USA believed that God created humans in their present form (about the same percentage as in 1982).

I know you cannot get an accurate result from simply performing arithmetic with statistics, but for my purposes, I do not need a very accurate result.

The population of the USA is about 300 million, which means roughly (very roughly) 132 million Americans are creationists.

Facebook claims to have over 350 million active users, but that is probably just propaganda, so let’s be conservative and say 200 million active users. That means there are roughly 60 million active Facebook users in the USA.

I would be very surprised if the 132 million American creationists and the 60 million American Facebookers did not overlap to the tune of several million. According to my crude calculations, it should be somewhere in the region of 26 million. Let’s be conservative again and say it is only a quarter of that, roughly 6 million.

I think, therefore, the creationists on Facebook are being highly unambitious with the title of their group.

But why are they bothering in the first place? Probably for the same reason that human beings have always tried to gather like-minded people about them: safety in numbers when they feel threatened or weak.

That’s the one thing both groups have in common. Someone posted on the creationist group’s page that the creation (excuse the pun) of the evolutionary group’s page was because:

“they feel threatened by our group so lets show them we CAN CRUSH THEM!”

Such fervour!

The creationists are right, of course. Well, they are right about someone on Facebook feeling threatened. But, of course, fear and insecurity are why the creationist group was set up in the first place. The fear that ‘there just aren’t enough people out there who think the way I do’.

The evolutionary group was set up in haste, as a knee-jerk reaction to the creationist group. How do I know? Because of the title. Nobody “believes” in evolution. Evolution is not a god, or a fairy, or a troll who lives in the woods.

That changes in genetic material (evolution) take place is a fact proven by scientific studies.

Natural selection, on the other hand, as an explanation of that fact, is a theory. However, it happens to be a very plausible theory with compelling evidence.

Still, you cannot “believe” in a scientific theory. You cannot even believe in a scientific fact. Gravity is neither more nor less because of anyone’s beliefs.

The founder of the evolutionary group acknowledged this mistake with the following statement:

“Apologies for the name of the group, it has been pointed out numerous times that ‘believe’ is really the wrong word word when talking about a scientific theory…
I didn’t really think about it at the time of creating, I just copied and pasted the opposing group’s name, and there’s no way of changing it now. If you feel that strongly then you are free to create another group with a more appropriate title, but please don’t complain about it on this group wall as there is nothing more I can do about it, other than apologise.”

However, that does not change the fact that the group was set up as a knee-jerk reaction.

So what is the point of a Facebook group that shows support for  evolution?

One could argue that creationism should be battled on every front because it promotes ignorance and blind faith in the face of knowledge and evidence. Certainly, that is a noble cause. In that case, however, the group should have had a simpler name and the purpose of the group should have been to provide links to reliable resources where people can inform themselves about evolution.

I do not think there would be much benefit in debate within such a group because nodding heads do not seek out truth. Even if there were contention, it would hardly be constructive. It would consist merely of discord, poor grammar and even worse spelling.

In any case, I think there is about as much value in debating creationism as there is in debating whether Athena was born out of Zeus’s head.

So I decided it would be more constructive to write this blog post than to join “We can find 1,000,000 people who DO believe in Evolution before June”.

I will not be joining this evolutionary group because I do not subscribe to knee-jerk reactions and because I believe that gathering together in numbers for its own sake is futile (unless you are being stalked by lions).

3 Responses to “I don’t have to believe in evolution”

  1. Frank Kelleyon 20 Jan 2010 at

    Dude, relax! It’s a ‘social’ networking site. Pick a side, post a comment, joke around have some fragging FUN! Follow some links maybe learn a thing or two. You make it sound like it will ruin the ascent of western culture to click a ‘Join’ button. Take that stick out of you rectum!

  2. Declan Chellaron 20 Jan 2010 at

    Thanks for the comment, Frank. :-)

    If you browse through my ballog, I think you will see I do joke around and have some fun, but some things need more serious consideration. For you, joining the evolution group is just a bit of fun and that’s fair enough. I’m not urging anyone not to join it. I’m just explaining why I will not.

    The way I see it is just because some creationists decided to band together because they were feeling scared and lonely, does not mean everyone else has to.

    All the best!

  3. Steven LaValleon 27 Mar 2010 at

    I posted something like this on the page you are talking about, but it looks like I should have done a little more research. I didn’t know enough about FaceBook to get the figures you have above. Other than that, your assumptions match mine, except that I decided I might as well post on this topic as any other.

    On the whole, staying out of the fray probably would have been wiser.

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