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give evolution a chance

June 6, 2011

To be honest, I’m a bit surprised by the number of people who still deny the validity of evolution. At this point, Darwin’s theory of evolution is fairly well-proven; it’s basically a fact. And despite what critics may say, all the evidence thus far (e.g., DNA, fossil, observations of evolution, etc.) supports it 100%. It’d only take one ‘Precambrian rabbit‘ to turn the theory of evolution on its head; but so far, not a single piece of evidence has been found to contradict and/or disprove it.

Moreover, most of the arguments I’ve seen against evolution are based on completely specious grounds, such as Chuck Missler’s argument (which conflates evolution with abiogenesis, by the way) that, apart from God’s direct intervention, life from non-life is impossible. However, there are other logical, and more importantly, demonstrable, explanations for the beginning of life on Earth than God, and there are numerous models of abiogenesis currently being explored by scientists.

Don’t get me wrong, if someone wants to believe that life on this planet began as an act of God, that’s fine with me; but it certainly hasn’t been proven that (1) organic molecules can’t form via natural chemical reactions (which the Miller–Urey experiment has done), or that (2) those molecules can’t form a protocell. It’s true that a protocell has yet to be synthesized, but it’s still a relatively new field and scientists all over the world are currently working on it, so I think it’s a bit early to count them out just yet.

I know that this is a touchy subject in that it starts to encroach upon people’s religious beliefs, and I’m not trying to convince anyone that God doesn’t exist via evolution (and, by extension, trying to use evolution as a unified theory against theistic or creationist accounts); but at the same time, I don’t want people’s belief in God to blind them to the very real evidence of how life evolved, and possibly even began.

Science isn’t perfect, and it certainly doesn’t have all the answers, but that shouldn’t stop us from considering the enormous amount of knowledge that science has already given us, even if it happens to challenge our deepest-held beliefs.

I’m not trying to promote scientism here, but saying things like the Earth is 6,000-10,000 years old when geological and radiometric evidence strongly suggests otherwise, that evolution doesn’t take place when DNA evidence, fossil records and direct observations strongly suggest otherwise, or that organic molecules can’t possibly form via natural chemical reactions when experiments strongly suggests otherwise, simply because that’s what a certain set of religious beliefs with absolutely no supporting evidence say is hard for me to understand, let alone defend.

Now, it can certainly be argued that there’s some kind of divine intelligence at work here, a type of cosmic architect that we call God determining the laws of nature so that we were destined to be here from the very beginning of the Big Bang; but at the same time, these things can also have purely natural causes and don’t necessarily need a creator or architect. More importantly, regardless of whether or not an all-powerful being is behind these natural processes, we can, and should, observe these processes at work in the universe and learn what we can about them.

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