Print Edition: April 2, 2014
Despite heated audience discussion, Dr. Eugenie Scott delivered a professional and all-encompassing lecture on human origins.
Scott, a physical anthropologist and former university professor, was invited to speak on March 28 by the Fraser Valley Atheists, Skeptics, and Humanists Society as well as the UFV Biology Department.
Although the lecture, titled “Everything Evolves — Including Creationism,” is a sensitive topic to many, Scott spent most of her lecture discussing the history behind the ideas of both intelligent design and special creationism as well as why the theory of evolution is rejected.
Intelligent design discusses the thought that a superior being must have created life, as it is too complex to have arisen by chance; special creationism explores the idea that all life was created in its present form by a divine being. The supporters of both of these theories, Scott explained, were forces which brought the case of teaching evolution in schools to court several times. A large portion of Scott’s lecture was spent focusing on these trials in the US in order to show the progression of ideas throughout our history.
Apart from providing information regarding the history of the topics, Scott also confronted many of the common arguments against the theory of evolution and touched on observable examples which disprove these objections.
The idea that the great flood, prior to which Noah built his ark as per God’s instructions, created the Grand Canyon, was one such example.
Scott explained both sides of the argument: on one side that the flood was able to carve out the canyon with a large amount of water during a small period of time, and on the other hand that fossil evidence and geological principles pointed to an evolutionary earth.
After her lecture, Scott opened the floor for audience discussion.
It began gently with queries such as “what is the difference between microevolution and macroevolution?” but escalated once the topic of “anti-intellectualism of creationists” was brought up. In response, Scott delicately, but firmly stated that she does not agree that creationists lack intelligence.
The next speaker prompted more audience reaction. A woman stood up in order to challenge the lecture. She began by demanding proof in favour of the theory of evolution other than fossils, saying she didn’t find that evidence satisfactory. Scott returned with geological evidence, but was her only response before the audience jumped in, debating with each other instead of Dr. Scott.
Once the lecture had officially concluded, some of the more passionate evolutionists and the creationists continued to express their opinions, deciding to move it to Moxie’s restaurant. While Scott presented aspects on all sides of the debate, there was still no conclusion arrived at.