This article on the science blog at CNN is really interesting, and it relates to the article I linked to in this recent post. The CNN writers noted that when they posted about Australopithecus sediba, they received around 2000 comments that covered a broad spectrum on how people feel about evolution. It’s an interesting article, and I highly recommend reading it.
The reasons why I left Christianity had to do with the Bible, not evolution. But since I stopped believing in the Bible’s version of history and human development, I had no more reason to be so skeptical of evolution. That life is a product of evolution is simply what the preponderance of evidence points to. But if new evidence comes along that refutes or redefines evolution, then we’ll have the freedom to adjust our views. That’s the nice thing about science. As new evidence comes in, scientists adjust their conclusions accordingly — they don’t tend to be frightened of new information. In other words, at any given moment, science is simply humanity’s best effort at describing the world we live in. There’s nothing nefarious about that.
And while we’re on the topic, it’s often pointed out that evolution is just a theory, as though that means it’s highly uncertain. But that’s not the scientific definition of “theory.” In science, a theory is a collection of concepts that explain how certain things work together. The Wikipedia article says a theory can be thought of as a “model of reality.” None of us would deny the existence of gravity, yet that’s been called a theory too. Theories like gravity and evolution are scientific models that explain life as we know it. So trying to discount evolution because it’s “just a theory” is a misuse of the term. People may choose not to believe it, but their reasons tend to have more to do with religious convictions rather than scientific evidence.