“Now are you paying attention girls?” Asked Mrs Beacham.
“Yes Mrs Beacham” Chorused back her class.
“Right I will elaborate on Darwin’s theory of evolution. As I explained yesterday, Charles Darwin wrote his book ‘On the origin of Species’ back in 1859. He based his theory on observing various animals on his travels to the Galapagos islands, including finches. He noticed that several different islands had different finches which showed adaptations that helped them cope with the different environments of each islands. Some developed a stronger beak to help crack the nuts and seeds that was common on that island. He theorised that all these different Finches had evolved from one common ancestor. Yes Frances?”
Frances Desmond had put up her hand.
“Doesn’t this theory state that we all descended from Monkeys? That’s what my father said.”
“Well I can’t speak specifically about your Father, Frances, but No. The theory does not state we are descended from monkeys. It states that we are related to the Apes. Like the Chimpanzee and the Gorilla, but we did not descend from them or them from us but that we all descended from some common ancestor, of which we know nothing about.”
“I find that hard to believe.”
“Well, this is a theory and as such you do not have to believe it. You only need to understand it in order to pass your Biology exams. When Darwin proposed this theory it was quite revolutionary and not many people believed it at the time. However as time has gone on and science has advanced we discover more and more evidence that corroborates the theory. For example, Darwin knew nothing about genetics and yet we are discovering that it is our genes that we pass on to our children that decides how tall we get, the colour of our hair and all sorts of other physical traits.”
Elizabeth Hardy stood up.
“Yes Elizabeth, what would you like to say?”
“My father is a Minister and he said that this Theory is a blasphemy and goes against God.”
“That is a charge that has been levelled against it, but I assure you I am a Christian and I believe in God. I also believe in this Theory. I don’t personally see anything in this theory that states that God does not exist. I can and do believe both. There has been many battles over the centuries between men of faith and men of science. The Bible was written by men of faith who sort to explain our existence in terms of God’s will. They did not know how the world was created, but they believed in God. As Science progresses we learn more and more about our World. For example, many early philosophers and scientists believed the world was flat. Science has proved otherwise. It was believed that the world revolved around the Earth. Copernicus theorised that this was wrong and that the Earth revolved around the Sun. He was persecuted for this belief because the Church believed that this was somehow a sacrilege. We now know he was correct. Those who study the Bible came to the conclusion that the world was six thousand years old. Those of you studying Geology well know that the processes of mountain building and erosion take many millions of years. If you have a belief in God, then this is not a problem because he works in mysterious ways, and to create a system by which creatures evolve on their own seems like a clever idea to me. Anyway, as I said before, I teach you this theory in order for you to understand it and pass your Biology exam. Feel free to believe what you wish to believe.”
Mrs Beacham knew full well that this would not be the end of this debate. It had raged on for decades and will continue to rage on and on. Her job was to teach, and it was important that knowledge continues to be imparted regardless of whether people liked it or not.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 25/April/2018
via Daily Prompt: Elaborate