Mar 1, 2006

Natual, not monkey, selection

Five of six students in a public speaking class raised their hand in response to the question, how many do not believe in Darwin's theory of evolution. One student, the brightest and an economics major, raised her hand to half staff, then brought it down. A suppression more than a conviction. And so began a discussion. Why not? I asked. Well, because it is not in the Koran. Which lead to an alley chat on the difference between Koranic pragmatism, a book authored by someone with no education they were quick to point out, and western science, the scientific method. Platonism. Reason, which has many corrollaires in Islamic philosophy. Many. But why? I asked again. In the end it came to monkeys. My students refuse to be associated with monkeys, no matter how distantly, no matter how benignly. "It is disgusting," one student said. "I don't even want to think about it." But what then, if not monkeys.... Slime is better they said. Out of bacteria, but not monkeys.

And why is that? In no small part, I'm told, it has to do with the way in which children are criticized often by parents and as being like monkeys. There is no worse ridicule.

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