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Sex on Earth: A Celebration of Animal Reproduction
Jules Howard

Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul

Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America's Soul - Edward Humes I found this book to be good in the I-want-to-pull-my-hair-out, oh-why-are-people-so-stupid kind of way. Humes writes a thorough and well explained book about the battle between evolution and creationism (or intelligent design) and schools in Dover, Pennsylvania. He includes various other cases and situations regarding this battle as well, dating back more than eighty years ago (rather ridiculous that this country is STILL battling evolution after that length of time). Aside from the battle detailed within I also found errors an editor should have spotted and fixed prior to publication, such as "problems arises" and including important words like "not" when you meant the opposite. I found it very distracting.

Growing up in a family which allowed you to decide on religion without pressure I became rather curious as to what the appeal was for others, why were they so "faithful"? Even at a young age I decided after curiosity led me to explore religion, that it was simply not for me. So I grew up happy with my dinosaur and other species books and eventually went to college and majored in biology. Of my classes, some of my favorites were based on evolution so I had a strong understanding of the field when I began this book. But even in college I still wondered what was the great appeal of religion? I did not get it. I eventually attended numerous religious events with religious friends of different denominations of various faiths, dated a guy who went to church weekly and read parts of the Bible. So I can, unlike many who blindly follow any belief, religious or not, say with conviction that I am one of those hated atheists of which the pro-creation/ID individuals in the book throw like a curse word to those who dare dispute them. So while after Humes book I see all of the pieces of the ID/creation point of view, I still do not understand how one can proceed in life this way. Most of the individuals who battled against evolution did not even understand it (and some did not even understand their own position clearly). Why oh why are we letting the Ann Coulters of the world influence so many minds?

I think I need a nice long nap and some ibuprofen after this book. Just read the actual trial information Humes includes and you will be astounded as to why anyone would think they even had a chance against evolution. These were the most entertaining of all the chapters and the decision by Judge Jones was thorough and thankfully rational. The poor man received death threats for simply upholding one of the most basic tenets of the USA, separation of church and SCIENCE (or state).

One of the sections which had the greatest impression on me was regarding those who believe in evolution broken down into such things as what part of the country they live, their level of education, sex or religious background (chapter 2). During the discussion of those Humes writes of a young man who worries about what evolution could cause. He states: "I'm really afraid to learn too much about evolution, because it might make me doubt my religion. And then where would I be? What would I tell my family?" This young man stated this at a conference with other people of faith who disagreed with evolution as well (although most could not explain the theory to you). So what I take from this, and the fact that people agreed rather than spoke against this individual, is that his faith is not solid enough to even simply LEARN about evolution? And others who heard this were not appalled by his lack of conviction? What kind of faith is that? If I believe in something I am not afraid to learn about the other side, this is simply ignorance. And I must say, if anything, the battle between evolution and creationism does seem to come down to simply that.

Overall though, evolution is an absolutely fascinating subject and more data to back it up is found everyday it seems. Is science my religion as some creationists try to state about people who agree with evolution? Nah, but it sure is fun. But that may be because I was brainwashed by going to college (did you know college did that?). Ignorance IS bliss! Oh and atheists aren’t the work of Satan or at least I haven’t found my mark yet, where is it usually located? ;)