Settled Science that Is 'Controversial'

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Evolution Unites All of Biology

Evolution by natural selection is such a rock solid concept, that it is one of the ten greatest ideas in all of science. Opposition to the idea is particularly strong in the United States, which ranks near the bottom among westernized countries in terms of acceptance. (See graph.)

While religion certainly plays a role, it should be noted that not all religious countries reject evolution to the extent that the United States does. Notably Poland, which is overwhelmingly Catholic and more conservative than America, still accepts evolution at a higher rate than the United States. This demonstrates that there is no fundamental conflict between evolution and religious belief. Indeed, Christian and Muslim scientists have no problem accepting evolution.

What makes evolution such a powerful theory? Its ability to explain both the unity and diversity of life. The mountains of DNA sequence data generated over the past several decades serve as "slam dunk" evidence. The fossil record, which is impressive but far from complete, isn't even necessary anymore. DNA can tell the story of evolution all by itself. (The evolution of vitamin C synthesis in mammals is a particularly amazing example.)

(Image: Jon Miller et al./Science/NatGeo)

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