Scientist: Evolution debate will soon be history

NEW YORK (AP) — Richard Leakey predicts skepticism over evolution will soon be history.

Not that the avowed atheist has any doubts himself.

Sometime in the next 15 to 30 years, the Kenyan-born paleoanthropologist expects scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that "even the skeptics can accept it."

"If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it's solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive," Leakey says, "then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges."

Leakey, a professor at Stony Brook University on Long Island, recently spent several weeks in New York promoting the Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya. The institute, where Leakey spends most of his time, welcomes researchers and scientists from around the world dedicated to unearthing the origins of mankind in an area rich with fossils.

His friend, Paul Simon, performed at a May 2 fundraiser for the institute in Manhattan that collected more than $2 million. A National Geographic documentary on his work at Turkana aired this month on public television.

Now 67, Leakey is the son of the late Louis and Mary Leakey and conducts research with his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise. The family claims to have unearthed "much of the existing fossil evidence for human evolution."

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Tags: Africa, Debate, Evolution, Leaky, fossils

Comment by Tom Holm on May 28, 2012 at 11:30am
I read this article a couple days ago and its really exciting news, though as we know most still will not acceppt it even with the irrefutable evidence we obtain even today. Le sigh I guess we will have to wait and see what happens in the next 15 to 30 years
Comment by matt.clerke on May 28, 2012 at 7:12pm

I don't like this article... it gives the doubters another reason to doubt. It actually reads like the current evidence isn't enough to convince everyone. IMO the only reason some people haven't accepted evolution is that their religion says that's not how things happened.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on May 28, 2012 at 7:30pm

The only people who do not realise that Evolution is a fact - that is 100% proven and with the full consensus of mainstream science behind it – are those who do not understand it/They have not studied it or been taught it properly so they that it is a matter of belief rather than one of understanding. It is only creationists who wish to debate it because it ruins the myth of their creation stories. Short Video

Comment by Becky Glynn on May 28, 2012 at 9:26pm

True Reg, and yet, these people make laws that affect all of us - with their sheer ignorance.

Comment by Logicallunatic on May 29, 2012 at 12:08am

I have just left this over at Dawkins.net, on the same article:

The idea that there will be some kind of mass acceptance of evolution in 15 to 30 years seems very doubtful. These people don't understand what evidence is. That is the key for me. Further, they are not schooled in critical thought or in the scientific method. Acceptance may improve slightly but as long as parents indoctrinate the next generation with anti-science garbage, it's going to take some time. So we don't need them. It would be nice of course if they came around sooner, but I think it's an irrational optimism.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on May 29, 2012 at 4:20am

....even if it did take the papacy over 350 years to admit that they were wrong in condemming Galileo.....

Comment by Helen Pluckrose on May 29, 2012 at 5:45am

If creationists were going to be convinced by evidence, you'd think they would have been already. The problem is not that the evidence for evolution is not already strong enough for them to accept but that they refuse to look at it. Just go onto Yahoo Answers, Religion and Spirituality and you will find the same 'questions' from creationists over and over again asking how we can have evolved from monkeys when there are still monkeys and how evolution could possibly have produced the complex eye or moral values or intellectual thought and claiming that evolution is either all about random chance or some kind of sentient magic. It does not matter how many of us provide short, easily accessible information about our shared ancestor with other apes, the evolution of the eye, morality and human brain or the process of evolution having nothing to do with either chance or magic and everything to do with environment,  the same questions keep coming even from the same people. Its very depressing. However, there does seem to be a slow change in attitude in America with more young people questioning creationism and God and this is what will make the difference much more than the strength of the evidence. We have only 7% creationists in the UK and I think this is because our theists tend to be less fundamentalist that Americans and more open to scientific evidence despite the fact we still have Christian teaching in schools.

Comment by Tom Holm on May 29, 2012 at 6:05am
I made the mistake of thinking other people would be as skeptical as me, and your right helen I figuredd we have museums and the internet, google this shit man. They are too intellectually lazy to do the research and stick with "god did it." Fucking sad man. And the parents and grandparents teaching these kids to only accept their god isn't really helping neither
Comment by M on May 29, 2012 at 3:57pm

Sounds fantastic.  Of course, faith is not about evidence, but what one "feels."  That is one of the bigger walls we have to bust through.

Comment by Jack Howard on May 29, 2012 at 5:03pm

I don't understand how the author can think that additional evidence will convince willfully ignorant people. I hope he is right, but I seriously doubt it. The only hope is as several respondants have indicated more and more younger people are rejecting the rigid mean spirited worship of fear, ignorance, and superstition of the creationists and their ilk. So, it seems to me, when the current crop of deluded religious folks die out, and are not replaced by more deluded folks, there is hope the insanity of religion will disappear.

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