As an Orthodox Jew, I have a difficult issue with evolution. I do not know how to reconcile Darwin's theory of evolution with the first chapter of Genesis. I have heard a few possibilities, but -- on an intellectual level -- I'm not clear about the matter.
Nonetheless, I do not think that learning about evolution is a waste of time. As far as I know, no-one challenges the idea that evolution does occur on a "micro" level--that is, species definitely do adapt to new circumstances through the process of natural selection. This has been observed many times in a wide variety of species. For example, the HIV virus was only identified in 1981. Since then, however, scientists have observed how the virus has evolved to evade various treatments that they have attempted to use against it.
The big question is whether a species can evolve into a totally new species. Could a one-celled organism evolve into a small insect? Could a fish develop legs and crawl onto land and propagate a species of frogs? Could an ape stand up straight, shed most of its body hair and develop the superior brain capacity of a human being?
There are fossils that point to this possibility, but no-one has ever actually observed this happening.
Whatever the answer to these questions is, it is clear that evolution is an observable phenomenon, and is therefore worthy of study. It is hardly a waste of time to study an observable phenomenon and to attempt to discover its possibilities and limitations.
If you wish to take your study of evolution with a grain of salt, that's good. All scientists should add a little skeptical salt to their experiments. Not believing everything you're told -- or even what you think you are seeing -- is the essence of the scientific method.
I suppose that there are a couple of ways you could argue this if you have to.
First, I would argue that evolution is something that people do not need to know about. I would say that you can easily live your whole life without knowing anything about evolution. Knowing this does not help you (unless you are going to become a biologist). Evolution does not affect our lives, so who cares about it? Even a doctor does not need to know about evolution, about how people evolved -- only about how things are now.
Second, you could argue this from religious grounds (I am assuming you are in the US. If not, this is probably less useful.) Many Christians in the US say that the doctrine of evolution is contrary to a belief that God created the world. Therefore, it is a false teaching. If it is false, then there is no reason to learn it.
Evolution is a waste of time to learn because it is not true. God made the heavens and the earth and people and animals separately. Evolution is a false theory that many people go down the wrong road of believing.
Most things you learn in school are a waste of time to learn in practical terms. The ability to read enough to fill out a job application, the ability to print, the ability to do simple addition and subtraction; millions of people the world over and most people throughout human history survived with that much knowledge or less.
I read an article last year that said that the most useless bit of widely available knowledge is that a peninsula is an extension of a landmass surrounded on three sides by bodies of water. Everyone is taught that in school, but does anyone really need to know it? Would Florida or Baja Califonia change if we didn't have a word that referred to precisely that shape and teach it to every elementary student?
Evolution isn't something that you personally can control for the most part. It's not something that is going to happen to you in your lifetime. You can live your whole life--and many peope do--without understanding it. Granted, a doctor, espcially an epidemiologist, needs to understand the evolution of infectious disease organisms. And while I would prefer that a paleontologist understand evolution, how many students grow up to be paleontologists?
In the one aspect of your life where you could affect evolution, the ingestion of antibiotics for too short a time, causing bacteria to become immune to them, I think someone better educated than you saying simply that doing so, "Teaches the germs to tolerate the medicine, much like running short distances teaches your body to be able to tolerate running longer distances," is probably sufficient explanation.
Heck, Darwin got the most important job of his life without knowing a thing about evolution (joke).
It's very hard to argue, though, in favor of ignorance. The knowledge of the difference between a lepton and a boson, between a descriptive and a prescriptive dictionary, between Jane Adams and Jane Austen; I don't use this knowledge on a daily basis. But my cats, who get canned food twice a day, like to play with toy mice and practice the killing techniques they don't need to employ. And I have my storehouse of knowledge that I can take out and play with, exercising the "muscles" of my brain.
Well I think that Evolution is a waste of time, because I am a Christian and I dont really believe any of it. But I guess since Evolution is change over time, I guess that there is evolution to an EXTENT. But I dont believe in the big boom, or how every human evolved from monkeys. I do believe that there is one creater and that would be God. The thing about the big boom is that, How can that create Earth? it cant! Because Earth is perfect. It is the only planet that has everything that life needs to survive, also it the perfect distance from the sun. So yeah I think that Evolution is just a bunch of BS. And I dont get why scientist have to keep on trying to figure out everything. But that is how humans are curious, and we need to find out everything. But really God just wants you to live your life without having to worry and figure out everything. Ohh. and i totally agree with funfunfun111, and everyone else:) But what makes me angry is that how can one compare Darwin to Jesus?! They are too totally different people! Darwin is a man of sin, Jesus is the son of God! Actually I totally think that the Devil has something to do with Evolution because he would do ANYTHING to try to get you confused and quesiton God. So yeah I dont believe in it at all.
Invu, it looks like you have job ahead of you. It is rather difficult in the modern days of science say that it is a waste of time to anything that is considered to be a scientific fact. As a matter of fact, even rejecting a theory or belief as incorrect without examining it carefully, is unscientific and therefore very difficult to support.
I believe the only reasonable approach for you is to recognize the controversy of evolution versus creationism without supporting or opposing the either. Then you can say that although it is fine for serious scientists to study evolution and argue their case, just as it is fine for evolutionists to argue their case. But for common people the best approach is to concentrate on their field of work and study without getting embroiled in such controversies. In this way you can try to justify that study of evolution, and more than that arguing about it, is waste of time for common people. In this way you would really be supporting the futility of arguments about evolution rather than futility of studying evolution.