Quick; who is against evolution the most? Right wing, religious fundamentalists or left-wing academics? Well, you're right. Both sides have something to fear and both sides attack evolution in order to keep their world view intact. The worst thing for a humanities professor who has spent his life dissecting the impact of social learning and culture is to find out there may actually be genetic distinctions that promote inequality. If you're a biologist, it's a strange fear because the exact opposite is true; evolution offers a way for everyone to share genetic commonality. But biologists are often confused with how evolution is misconstrued. Evolution can never be criticized for the concept of a Master Race or 'survival of the fittest' because that's not really evolution, say biologists, except it happened regardless of the accuracy of the science. How many times even on a high end science site like this have we had people write exculpatory articles about their pet cause with supporting studies leading us to believe "it's in the genes." David P. Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington, says cherry-picking science is as bad as ignoring it and he's spot on - if the right believes in evolution when it talks about selfishness and individualism (the ultimate capitalism) it seems vaguely wrong to deny its effect on actual, you know, human evolution. Likewise, evolutions's recognition of inherent differences doesn't sit well with left wing people who believe everyone is equal until mean old non-academic society ruins us or that lots of negative traits are genetic (so nothing we can do about them) but they like that evolutionary selfishness occasionally leads to the altruism of the common good. Evolutionary biologists have it the worst, even from each other. Writes Michael Lynch of the Department of Biology at Indiana University
The vast majority of biologists engaged in evolutionary studies interpret virtually every aspect of biodiversity in adaptive terms. This narrow view of evolution has become untenable in light of recent observations from genomic sequencing and population-genetic theory.
So who's right? We don't know. If modern synthesis is basically Darwinian evolution plus Mendelian genetics then, as Elizabeth Pennisi, writing in Science, noted
evolutionary biologists hammered out the modern synthesis to bring Darwin's ideas in line with current insights into how organisms change through time. Some say it's time for Modern Synthesis 2.0
Or it's just time for evolution to get better PR. We should come up with a tagline: Evolution: Darwin's Protection Racket or Evolution: Humanity's Genetic Free Ride To Altruism My choice: Evolution: We Are Ready To Support Your Ideology