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Religion, evolution can live side by side

Thanks to mordacious1 for the link.

(CNN) -- Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" on November 24, 1859. All 1,250 copies of the initial print run of the book were scooped up by readers eager to see the British naturalist going rogue with his radical new theory of evolution, "By Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," in the book's full title.

How important is this book? Thomas Henry Huxley ("Darwin's bulldog") proclaimed that "On the Origin of Species" was "the most potent instrument for the extension of the realm of knowledge which has come into man's hands since Newton's 'Principia,' " and lamented to himself: "How extremely stupid not to have thought of that."

The Harvard biologist Ernst Mayr, arguably the greatest evolutionary theorist since Darwin, asserted: "It would be difficult to refute the claim that the Darwinian revolution was the greatest of all intellectual revolutions in the history of mankind." The Harvard paleontologist and historian of science Stephen Jay Gould called the theory of evolution one of the half dozen most important ideas in the entire history of Western thought.

Why, then, do so many Americans not accept the theory of evolution? A 2001 Gallup Poll found that 45 percent of Americans agree with the statement "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so," while 37 percent preferred a blended belief that "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process," and a paltry 12 percent accepted the standard scientific theory that "Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process."
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