I was outside a few moments ago and my mood shifted me to become very observational. As I looked around and beheld the beauty of this earth and this world, I thought, “wow. This is really gorgeous.”
I began to consider that there are people that believe this was all created and that we are all God’s creations, living on his earth, for his pleasure. Of course I don’t believe any of this to be true, but I thought, “well, I can see why people would want to believe that.”
But, as I became more thoughtful of this notion, I decided that it’s actually much more beautiful being a product of evolution. You see, evolution doesn’t mean that everything is up to chance, or random occurrence. If and when you recognize that the earth is at least 4.54 billion years old, the concept of evolution starts to make much more sense. It might be hard for you to wrap your mind around subtle changes occurring to eventually morph us into the dominating and technologically-adept homo sapiens (or bromo sapiens, as Alex and I call each other) that we are today. But if you realize that small changes over millions of years are what led us to where we are today, then you can start to make sense of how realistic this actually is.
What’s more, is that there really is very little chance or randomness about it. Creationists like to parade the idea of chance and randomness so as to decrease the credibility of the Theory of Evolution. But this is not so. Specifically, if a mutation in reproduction, or asexual reproduction (cell duplication) has occurred and this change is beneficial, then the likelihood of that new organism reproducing and passing off its genetic code is greater. There is no omniscient mechanism that dictates whether or not a change is good. If the change creates a major advantage, then this organism may have a longer life, a greater chance in hunting or gathering food, and a better probability for reproduction. Additionally, many organisms can reproduce many times in a short period of time, so the flooding of a specific advantage (or even disadvantage) is very possible. This can quicken the chances of a change “catching on”. If a particular species advances advantageously, this is called “winning”. We recently adapted that term after Charlie Sheen popularized it.
I come back to the concept of beauty – I find so much more beauty (in the beautiful things) of this world because of evolution. Since evolution doesn’t produce intrinsically “good” results, I can see beauty in the subjective goodness of the earth. If a god really did create this, it wouldn’t merit a very respectable response. If earth was indeed created, how could you thank a creator for volcanoes, hurricanes, and other disastrous events that cause place all living things (which said creator loves equally) in danger? Or conditions that make the this spinning mass uninhabitable in certain areas? What about the fact that we can do a lot of damage to this planet through seemingly harmless and mundane daily activities? Any being that creates worlds like this doesn’t deserve worship, but instead, a ride to a Special Ed classroom on a short yellow bus.
It’s rather conceited to claim that this universe was created specifically for us. The conditions in the known universe are totally inhospitable to us, with the exception of planet earth. With billions of years insulating us before we could recognize our existence, and likely after our demise, why is our existence but a blip on the radar of time? If I were an architect, and I was hired to build a home for a just-married husband and wife, I wouldn’t be in business very long if I built a 50-story skyscraper, of which 48 stories were completely unusable or burdensome. Furthermore, nobody of sound mind would ever begin to think that I built this towering monster for them! In the same way that the universe is so superfluously gargantuan, what makes us think that it’s all here for us?
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?”
Couldn’t that statement be modified to address the omniscience of this purported being, or its supposed omnipresence? With so many contradictions concerning the characterization of the Judeo-Christian god, it’s just plain silly to do the necessary mental contortions to convince yourself that this could be the case.
What’s certainly the most interesting piece of evolution is the Christian’s vehement dismissal of macroevolution, yet some accept the concept of microevolution. I’m not sure if the ear-plugging-loud-singing Christian is using his or her brain when they ignore that the same changes that occur in microevolution would lead us down the same road as macroevolution. Evolution has been observed by everyone and it’s a fact. Period.
Where evolution becomes a theory is in the “how”. The actual mechanisms for evolution are where some of the mystery still lies. Understand that a theory in the realm of science is something that is basically regarded as the application of understanding something the utmost degree of certainty. Laws are also theories, but usually include some sort of mathematical equation to “prove” a result. Stephen Jay Gould puts it best:
Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world’s data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein’s theory of gravitation replaced Newton’s, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin’s proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.
Moreover, “fact” does not mean “absolute certainty.” The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
Note that the emboldened text was my addition.
Evolution comes bearing gifts, too! Modern medicine relies heavily on evolution to immunize us against dangerous viruses and ailments. Vaccinations, which include a very small amount of a given virus are “taken in” by the human body through ingestion, or through the bloodstream, which are then introduced to the human immune system. The immune system develops a method to fight and neutralize the threat because the virus is small enough to be easily handled by our crime-fighting white blood cells. Basically, our body learns to recognize the threat in order to combat it should we ever encounter it in the future. Were it not for evolution, humans (and indeed all living things) wouldn’t be able to develop natural immunities against threatening pathogens, viruses, and bacteria.
My hope (and belief) is that evolution will continue to gain traction among creationists. Once they realize that evolution is backed by fact, evidence, and logic, and their view of God creating the earth is as baseless as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, perhaps the gradual but systematic dismantling of organized religion will become a reality. And everyone can embrace truth, logic, science, deduction, reasoning, and equality.