According to a survey conducted by VTsIOM, almost a third of Russians support the exclusion of Darwin's theory from school courses. This is the highest number ever recorded in tracking public opinion on this issue. Why exactly now Russians are so up in arms about the evolutionary theory of the origin of species, and what a ban on Darwinism could lead to, we talked with Alexander Evseev, a Moscow biology teacher with 40 years of experience.
The same survey revealed that regarding the origin of man, 28% of respondents believe that the cause was natural selection and the adaptation of living beings to changing conditions of existence. Another 39% are of the opinion that this question currently has no answer. 23% are confident that the creation of life on earth and man in particular is the work of God. The remaining 3% believe in our alien origins.
At the same time, 30% of respondents - that is, even more than supporters of the divine theory - considered it correct to exclude Darwin's theory from the school curriculum.
- Alexander Andreevich, why, in your opinion, has Darwinism become so unpleasant to our fellow citizens that they do not want their children to even hear about it?
- Well, firstly, we are still talking about a minority; 60% in the same survey spoke in favor of teaching Darwinism. And, secondly, this is quite understandable - in troubled, uncertain times, such as we are experiencing now, many people have a craving for mystical explanations, or religious ones. They are always simpler and more accessible than scientific ones.
- But the theory of evolution has been criticized by many before, including scientists...
- This theory, put forward in the middle of the 19th century and formulated in Charles Darwin’s work “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” later received numerous confirmations made by modern science, which happens very rarely. Let me remind you: Darwin argued that in each population there are different traits, and in the course of evolution the most viable ones are selected. And over a long period of time, those signs that help species to survive become more frequent, which leads to evolution and changes in the entire population. This is how dinosaurs, for example, transformed into birds, and so on.
It’s interesting here that in the 19th century no one knew about genetics and the genetic mutations that cause variations. But this science confirms the theory of evolution - having proven that ancestors pass on certain characteristics to their descendants in the form of genes, the science of genetics testifies to the validity of the theory of natural selection, species and speciation.
Or, for example, about 30 years ago, paleontologists confirmed Darwin’s assumption that whales descended from land mammals: during the process of evolution, their nostrils moved upward so that they could breathe without rising high above the water, their front legs became fins, their hind legs disappeared, their bodies became streamlined.
- Religious leaders have been hostile to Darwinism before...
- Well, of course, the denial of the divine origin of life has never pleased the church. For example, in 1925, a sensational trial against Darwin’s theory took place in the state of Tennessee; the state governor demanded that only the theory of the origin of life described in the Bible be taught in educational institutions. This law was in effect until 1967.
And in 2004, in Italy, the Minister of Education proposed to abolish the study of Darwinism in schools. True, public opinion did not support this proposal, and it was withdrawn. The same story happened in Serbia - the Minister of Education excluded the theory of evolution from the secondary school curriculum, but after protest from the scientific community, this law was also repealed.
- However, it cannot be said that the correctness of Darwin’s theory has been proven one hundred percent?
- Of course, it’s impossible - this is too complex, a global topic for it to be possible to dot all the i’s and dot the i’s at this level of scientific development. I would like to remind you that some inconsistencies were also found in Einstein’s theory of relativity, which are being studied and additions are being made to the theory. This is normal; no genius is able to immediately calculate all the nuances in such complex theories. And Darwin was wrong - for example, he assumed that the age of the Earth was about 800 million years, while it was later established that our planet is at least 4.5 billion. Therefore, I fully admit that additions and changes are possible in other aspects of the theory of evolution.
As for the teaching of Darwinism in schools, its ban, in my opinion, would be a real disaster, depriving new generations of basic knowledge. I really hope this doesn't happen.
Darwin is outlaw