There's nothing quite like a liberal in full throat voicing his scathing contempt for those backward, unenlightened, Bible-thumping, inbred hillbilly rednecks who aren't even smart enough to grasp the concept of evolution. You know, those same people whom Barack Obama referred to as "clinging to their guns and their religion."
I, like the vast majority of conservatives, agree that evolution is undeniable: the fossil record may not be complete, but it's complete enough to be convincing, and the whole thing just makes too much sense not to be true. Mutations happen, most are not adaptive but a few are, and those genes get passed along to the next generation.
When it comes to very earliest origins of life, how that first bit of inanimate matter became animate, evolution is a little harder pressed for an answer. Many who believe in evolution claim that's where God's hand is demonstrated. This is harder to argue against, though I suspect that science will eventually have the answer there, too.
The one course that ever really set me on fire when I was in college was sociobiology (now known as evolutionary psychology). It explained human nature far better, and far more logically, than any psychology course I ever took. Evolution explains perfectly why and how people act in ways to maximize their genetic contribution to the next generation.
We've lived in a technologically advanced age for less than 100 years, and in an industrial one for 200 years before that. And we've lived in an agricultural age for a few thousand years. But we were Stone Age tribesmen for millions of years before that. Like it or not, what we have been shaped by evolution to be are cavemen, with all of the primitive instincts we associate with such.
Sociobiology explains why men and women have evolved different attitudes towards mating. For a woman, spending nine months pregnant and then caring for that baby for years afterward is a far bigger investment than the act of intercourse is for a man. So women are the gatekeepers to sex. If they have a choice, they will choose to mate with men they deem most likely to help their children survive long enough to have children of their own.
Women don't think of it in those terms, of course: they simply find themselves attracted to the strongest, smartest, best-looking man who seems as if he might be willing to stick around and help raise her offspring. (Looks generally equate with health.)
Men, conversely, are evolutionarily selected to be -- or at least to try to appear to be -- the strongest, smartest, and best-looking. And they are programmed to spread their seed as widely as possible. All of which explains much of male psychology.
These principles aren't just true of humans, they're true across all mammalian species. And while human brains are bigger, our animalistic natures are really not so different than those of our mammalian brethren.
Evolution explains sexual dimorphism. Men evolved to go out and hunt for meat and compete for women, and women to be maternal and nurse babies. Men are larger, stronger, more aggressive, and more competitive than women by nature. And women are more nurturing. (Neither tendency is all encompassing or mutually exclusive, and there are certainly exceptions, but gender differences generally hold sway.)
Evolution explains why people who evolved in northern climates developed lighter skin, so as to be able to take in more Vitamin D from scarcer sunlight. It explains why they evolved thinner nostrils, so as to preserve heat. It explains why people who evolved in Africa developed sickle cell anemia: because the gene for that disease, in its heterozygous form, helps protect against malaria.
Although this is not a staple of textbooks, evolution also explains why people who evolved in climates with harsh winters developed larger brains: to plan ahead, build better shelters, store food, make fires, and fashion warmer clothing. (People in warmer climates benefited from larger brains as well, but people in colder climates had to evolve them.)
Anyway, here's the irony: the same people who mock Christians for not believing in evolution themselves refuse to believe what evolution actually teaches us. If you're going to mock those who don't believe in evolution, shouldn't you yourself believe in the logic of evolution?
Back when I was in college and studying sociobiology, there was a leftist group called Science for People, who inveighed against everything that evolution taught us. They would say, conservatives will use this information as an excuse to repress women, or bring back Jim Crow. But no one uses it for that reason. I've never heard a conservative suggest that women not be allowed into the work force, or that race be factored into college admissions.
It's the liberals who, with their know-nothing attitude, pass and enforce government mandates which completely disregard the way evolution has shaped us: Title IX, affirmative action, disparate impact, etc. Science for the People has long since disbanded, but their spiritual progeny are more numerous than ever. They don't like the idea of innate human differences, so they call such facts "pseudoscience." But sociobiology is no more pseudoscience than evolution is. In fact, it is evolution.
Scoffing at those who don't believe in evolution but then refusing to believe in any of its logical conclusions is a little like scoffing at those who don't fully embrace the benefits of diversity -- but then insisting that we don't diverge in any meaningful ways.
If you're going to scoff at those who don't believe in evolution, then you ought to believe in it yourself. And by all means, let's not only teach evolution in schools, let's teach sociobiology as well.