June 16th, 2010
05:58 PM ET

I believe in evolution, he doesn't

From Wendy Atterberry at The Frisky, a website on dating, relationships, fashion, celebrities and more:

Dear Wendy: I have been dating my boyfriend for about three months. We get along great and he would do anything for me. We just have one problem. He doesn't believe in evolution and I very passionately do. We got in a discussion about it, which quickly turned into a huge fight.

Although my current career has taken me down a different path, I have my masters degree in biology concentrated in ecology and evolution so I know a little something about it and pretty much dedicated my entire education to learning about it. He is an engineer and very smart, but I just found out that he used to be really religious, hence his disbelief in evolution. ... How do I broach this topic in a manner that doesn't turn into a huge argument? Should I just accept that we may never agree on the topic and try to get over it?

Read the full story ... and get Wendy's answer

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. TheRationale

    It is not wise to assume that creationism/ID should ever be approved of or put on an equal footing as actual science (ie evolution). There is no scientific debate over whether evolution happens or not – it does. Tolerance of such falsehoods must end. Aside from undermining the weight of the public educational system (in which teaching so called "alternatives" to evolution is illegal), it forwards the idea that science is somehow a matter of opinion, which it very much is not (and in fact is the opposite of).

    I doubt this relationship will work if such a question is so hotly contested. And that's without even thinking about children. I'd advise this biologist to answer any question her partner has, and if he refuses to reason, then to find someone more well mannered and more well informed.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  2. zaza

    Dating someone really dumb who can't see what nature puts in front of his face on a daily basis is probably really dumb of you.

    June 19, 2010 at 10:16 am |
  3. Kevin Hale

    Ask this question, Why could God not have chosen evolution as his means of creation.

    June 19, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  4. Reality

    In four billion years, the Sun will envelope Earth and evolution or whatever will cease only to start again in some other galaxy if it has not already in a steady recycling process of Big Banging and Gib Gnabing. Or maybe sooner if some asteroid hits us.

    June 19, 2010 at 12:36 am |
  5. amy

    This relationship may not have a future. As a fellow biologist whose graduate study involved evolution, I could never live happily with someone who did not share my worldview at this basic level. Project 10 years into the future, imagining raising kids with this guy: would you let him indoctrinate them with his antiscience views? Keep looking... Mr. Right is out there somewhere!

    June 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  6. Kevin

    He's an idiot. She's a parrot. No point in 'believing' in evolution, it trawls along well enough without anyone's acute awareness.

    June 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  7. Atheist

    One does not need to 'believe' in evolution (or anything else for that matter). It is something to intellectually explore and accept based on logic.
    An engineer who rejects explorable science essentially shows a capacity for faith induced stupidity. Any female with the capacity of logical thinking, should probably look for someone more suited to her.
    I find faith and belief based drivel a total turn off. Belief is a suckers game, and the main support of terrorism at its worst. Without faith and belief the worst terrorists on the planet would be without recruits for their special vests... 😉

    June 18, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  8. jim

    Gosh if evolution were a fact, why are there no intermediate species like bird-man. I can see how that would provide distinct adaptive advantages. Why is it that in the entire animal kingdom there are no animals that can speak a human language. If evolution is real, why is it that man has not evolved into something better over the course of six thousand years. Why don't we see a lot of broken "trial and errors" out there trying to make it. I'm sure had man discovered one, he would have helped it along to survive and so it would not have needed to adapt to its environment. We would have nursed it. Why why

    June 18, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Eric G.

      @Jim: Your questions reflect a ignorance of evolutionary theory. I can suggest a few books that might help you, if you like.

      June 18, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Atheist

      This is the type of brainless rhetoric babbled by believers. There is so much info right on the internet for anyone who is really interested, to answer such questions. The 6,000 year span given is a dead give away as to what is being pushed. Anyone who really accepts a 6,000 year old world with all the evidence available to show that life has been here for Billions of years, can be discounted as a totally hopeless case. Like in 'nut'.

      June 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
    • TheRationale

      Jim, I'm not sure you understand evolution, although I'm fairly confident that if you asked any scientist, such as the biologist in the article, you'd quickly find the answers. It's not much of a matter of opinion here, and while that might sound like a bad argument, the knowledge gained across nearly every branch of related science in the past century and a half directly supports evolution by natural selection. Additionally, I can assure you that all of the questions you've posed thus far have been answered by many a scientist.

      June 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  9. Eric G.

    When a "Evolutionist" is asked to prove his theory, they provide facts, research and repeatable test results to support their position. When a "Creationist" is asked to do the same, they just try to discredit evolution theory. As it relates to this article, I fully understand the problem different beliefs can have on a relationship.

    June 18, 2010 at 8:51 am |
  10. Laurie

    Evolutionary THEORY people. Not Law.

    June 17, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
    • Beau2fool

      Please do yourself a favor and look up the difference between "scientific theory" and the use of the word "theory" in layman's terms. The meanings actually ARE *quite* different. It might surprise you to find out, for example, that gravity and heiiocentricism (the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun) are also "only" theories.

      This is one of THE most common "rejoinders" from creationists- that evolution is only a "theory" and somehow not to be taken seriously... Which only underlines the point that you really don't know what you're talking about.

      June 18, 2010 at 7:10 am |
  11. Abd al-Latif

    The real problem is that science teachers mostly will not touch the subject of religion with a 10-foot pole. That's because, first, most are atheists who are disgusted by the subject or think it's inherently silly; and even those who do have a religion of their own, are afraid to broach the subject because of bogus "First Amendment" concerns. The truth is that there is not necessarily any conflict between religion and evolution. There IS a conflict between fundamentalism/literalism and philosophical materialism/scientism, of course. That is the true conflict, but it is ideological and not scientific in nature. It would help, though, if evolutionists would stop the obvious lies–that evidence for evolution is as ironclad as that for gravity, for example; or that evolution is "both a fact and a theory." Such claims simply defy logic. Yes, evolution is a well-supported theory, but it is a THEORY, and anyway, scientists proudly admit that scientific methodology can never lead to certainty. What is thought true today, may be overturned tomorrow. A bit of humility is in order.

    June 17, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
    • Nurse K in San Diego

      I think one thing that you're overlooking here is that many theories in science are based on facts.
      That the stars are basically particle factories that seed the universe with the materials that go into making all things we observe (including life), is a well proven and observable fact. That forces in nature construct, hold together, and eventually tear apart all things is also a fact that is clearly observable. So much is known about the nature of electromagnetism that we can now send an otherwise deadly stream of electrons directly into your home, knowing precisely how they will act, precisely how much energy it will take to heat your house, how to stop the flow, what makes it surge, and so forth. Many facts are known about the anatomy and physiology of living things, especially humans. And the list goes on.. for some time, as much has been learned since the time that people began to conduct experiments to tease out the details re: how the world works and what it is made of.
      That life changes over time is also a well proven and clearly observable fact. The theory of evolution is a vast collection of data about how those changes happen. You could just as easily call it the Theory of How Life Changes Over Time.
      There is nothing at all in the theory of evolution that challenges the claim that someone created the universe. This is because the theory is about life on this planet, not about where the universe came from. If you listen to what many who oppose evolution are saying you’ll hear what they really mean, which is something akin to “The Creator of the Universe could not have allowed life to evolve on its own because I want to be a SPECIAL creation!” In other words, God is restricted to working only in ways that certain believers will allow him to work. It’s idoltry. Pure, simple, and disgusting to the last.

      June 17, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Evolution has been observed as an experiment in a repeatable lab setting. It doesn't get any more factual than that.

      June 17, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  12. maschyth

    Evolution is real whether you believe in it or not.

    June 17, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • jim

      Bravo maschyth. Clever argument! I'm the president of the United States whether you believe it or not.

      June 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  13. V

    Yeah, not believing in evolution is like not believing grass is really green. Personally I would have a talk with him, explain that you do not want to infringe on his religion or faith, but you insist that he at least honor the scientific truths of world. Not just pertaining to this subject, but to all subjects, because it really places a bad stigma on the credibility of his judgment not to consider the facts before belief. Its ok to have faith in God, its not ok to let your faith willingly contradict scientific knowledge.

    June 17, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  14. whosis71

    I honestly don't know if I could be in a relationship with someone who claimed to doubt evolution. I think it'd be just too large of an ideological obstacle. It would take some MAJOR league "agreeing to disagree"...

    June 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • jim

      I know what you mean. I would have a hard time respecting a mate that actually believed in that theory, particularly with all the new information that is out there that clearly show an intention to our design.

      June 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm |
  15. riverrunner

    If you don't 'believe' in evolution you might as well not believe in gravity since there is just as much evidence to support both. Ignorance is not a badge of honor creationists.

    June 17, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • Abd al-Latif

      I've heard this argument before, and it's complete nonsense. No, there is not "just as much evidence to support evolution" as there is for gravity. That is absurd. For one thing, gravity is a phenomenon that can be easily observed by everyone, over and over. Evolution is an historical and extremely gradual phenomenon. Even in principle, equal evidence would be impossible. This is either ignorant or dishonest.

      June 17, 2010 at 6:57 pm |
    • riverrunner

      Abd, can you explain how gravity actually works? why does mass attract another mass? didn't think so. Evidence for evolution is ironclad now that we have sequenced the human genome. I am afraid you are the ignorant one.

      June 17, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • Gadflie

      While there is not "equal amounts of evidence" for both, there is overwhelming evidence in favor of the theory of Evolution. Like gravity, it is both a fact AND a theory. It is a fact because there is no real debate that it happened and is happening. It is a theory because there is still (and always will be) details to be worked out as to the precise mechanism. Theory is as good as it gets in science.

      June 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
    • jim

      I'm sorry but I believe in gravity because I experience it every minute of my life. My belief is from my experience. I do not experience evolution everyday of my life. In fact I never experience it so I don't believe in it. Had it not been theorized by Darwin, when he thought matter was nothing more than just a blob of goo, then you wouldn't believe in evolution either. But throughout time the theory seemed just plausible enough, and the entire scientific community has compromised independent thinking in hopes of finding the truth, but in reality has built a house of cards.

      June 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.