Why do some believers find it so hard to accept evolution?

Ras is back with another question….

I know I came here before when I asked a question about martial arts. But I have another question that has been bothering me for some time and thought I might ask.

Why is it that some people still don’t admit the fact that evolution is scientifically true? Like why do they, even christians, think that evidence for god exists but that it remains obscured from public speculation and that the scientific knowledge we know is false? Like even though Talk.Origins tells a lot, there is a site called ‘True.Origin’ talking about creationism.

Why can’t those people admit they are wrong?

Hi Ras, good to have you back.

For years I’ve had a personal motto, “The hardest thing for anyone to do is to see things as they are, and not how they wished they would be.” What this has always meant to me is that quite often we insert our own bias into our perspective of the world around us and that it takes effort to remove that bias. It’s been my experience that only through thinking skeptically and relying on objective verifiable evidence, can we begin to get a clearer perspective on how things really are.

However that’s not an easy task, and unless you understand the value of being skeptical, even about the things that you think you know are true, you might find yourself holding on to ideas because they make you feel comfortable.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

So imagine for a moment you’ve been raised to believe that there’s a sky daddy up in the clouds that created everything there is in just 7 days. You’ve been told this over and over. You’ve been given cute little stories as a child that were designed to make you feel loved and cared for. You were told over and over that you were special, that this sky daddy made this entire world for you and your brothers and sisters of humanity because he loved you immensely. You are special. He breathed life into you and made you separate from all of the other living creatures on the planet. You grow up to believe this your entire life and in return you give thanks to your sky daddy by praying to him, by giving to charities, by sacrificing your own needs and desires so that you can show him how grateful you are for everything that he’s given you. You love your sky daddy, and you believe that your sky daddy loves you too.

Now imagine someone comes and tells you, even shows you, that the earth wasn’t made in just 7 days. That it took billions of years and that this planet is no more unique, no more special, than any other planet out there. Imagine then that this person tells you, even explains to you, that you are the same as every other living animal out there. That you and these animals share a common ancestry. That you weren’t created in a day but through millions of years of natural selection and random mutation. How do you think you would feel about this message? How do you think you would feel if someone told you that you weren’t special? Would you automatically accept this new truth, or would you struggle with it? Even to the point where you clung to hope so tightly, that you denied their claim in hopes that some evidence would show that they are wrong, and that you are indeed special?

For many theists, this is exactly how they see the message of evolution. They see it as an insult to the way, the reason, that they are special. They see it as being told that all of their prayers, their charity work, their sacrifices, all of it, was for nothing. For some, it’s a bitter pill that they simply can not, will not, swallow. It goes against everything that they’ve believed about themselves. It’s to much to accept. So they cling to the hope that the message is wrong. They try every trick, every argument they can to justify their belief that they are special. Even if it flies in the face of a mountain of evidence.

Seeing it from this perspective, it’s not hard to understand why some people deny evolution. It’s not an easy thing to accept. In my experience, the only way a person can let go of this way of thinking is if they love the truth more then they do the idea that they are special. For some believers, their way of thinking adopts evolution into their sky daddy mythos. They accept evolution but believe it was their sky daddy that started the whole thing. This allows them to continue to believe that they are special and at the same time accept the truth of science. For others, it becomes the straw that breaks the camels back. It becomes a gateway into the rejection of their sky daddy belief and into atheism.

So there you have it. I hope that answers your question for you, and as always, feel free to reply in the comment section below.

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