Retardedly, one of the important issues of the upcoming American election will be evolution. A few months ago, several presidential candidates were asked if they believed in evolution, and several said “no.” One wonders if these politicians truly deny evolution, or if they are just doing it to add the evangelicals to their roster of potential votes. I believe the latter.
I’ve discussed evolution on this blog several times before, and I’m sure many people have become bored/frustrated with the topic. However, this entry will be slightly different. It is a list of questions to ask yourself; questions about your own observations regarding the natural world. There are many people who say that they do not believe in evolution, and to those people in particular, I invite you to answer the following questions, and remember to consider your answer to each question when contemplating the validity of evolutionary theory. As you will notice, the questions have aboslutely nothing to do with religion and spirituality, because I don’t see how they should be related. Indeed, the following questions are not about science either. They are very simple questions, about what you notice about the world around you.
1) Do you believe that there are many different kinds of animals?
In other words, do you recognize the existence of ‘species?’ Of course, there isn’t a human being alive who would deny that there are many different kidns of animals on this Earth, and they vary greatly. One need only observe the world around them to determine the answer to this question.
2) Do you believe that certain kinds of animals are related in some sense?
Do you believe that a crow and a raven share certain similarities? Do you believe that, though there may be different kinds of ants in the world, they all fall into one category that we call ‘ants?’ In other words, do you believe that, despite variation, different kinds of animals seem to be somehow related to each other? For example, you can have two completely distinct species of frogs, but they are both still ‘frogs’ somehow. The very fact that you recognize ‘families’ within the animal kingdom means you would probably answer “yes” to this question. I don’t think I know anybody who could logically deny that some animals look a lot like other animals.
3) Do you believe that children inherit physical properties from their parents?
It seems like most families that I know share similar physical properties. Hair colour, height, eye colour, muscle mass, skin colour … we’ve all heard how it works; genetics and inheritance and so on. Do you believe that? In other words, is it a coincidence that offspring are like copies of their parents? Or is there some kind of biological process that makes this work systematically? Surely, anybody reading this would concede that, certainly, living things inherit the traits of their parents through biology. Right?
4) Does the Earth’s environment change?
Do glaciers eventually melt? Do forests get too dry sometimes? Do rivers flood? Do grasslands become deserts? Does sea level change? Does temperature vary? Well, I’ve never heard anybody answer “no” to these questions. It seems quite clear that the Earth is ever changing, and that these changes can be slow or fast. After all, even in recorded history, there have been a few major changes to the Earth’s environment. So, would you answer ‘yes’ to this simple question? I don’t think it’s too much to assume that your answer is “yes.”
5) Is it possible for one individual animal to be smarter/stronger than another individual animal?
Well, I think we see this everyday. Sure, there always has to be someone who is stronger and someone who is weaker. It’s inevitable, isn’t it?There will always be some animals that are faster, and some that are slower. Indeed, there will always be some animals that have no problem surviving in their environment, while others will have to struggle to survive. In the Savanna plains, for example, there are many Cheetahs, but there is always one that is the fastest, and one that is the slowest. In other words, is it common sense to say that some animals are advantaged, and others are disadvantaged? I doubt very much that anyone would answer “no” to this question.
* * *
So, what are your answers? Yes for all five? Probably!
There you have it: 5 simple questions. Now, let’s say you answered “yes” for all these questions, which I’m assuming you did. Let’s put your answers together into one belief about the natural world. You have basically agreed with the following:
1) The speciation of living organisms
2) Genetic relationship between living organisms
3) Genetic inheritance of physical properties
4) Environmental change
5) Natural selection
From these five things that you have agreed with, allow me to construct a hypothetical scenario which, according to your beliefs, would be entirely possible:
There is a large population of bunnies living in a grassland. Some are brown, some are black and some are white. Over the course of a few hundred years, it gets colder and colder in these grasslands, because of changes in the Earth’s climate, until eventually it begins to snow all the time there. The black and brown bunnies, now much more visible to their predators, get messily devoured and eventually die off completely. Meanwhile, the white bunnies are difficult to see, so they survive and multiply into yet more white bunnies, because of genetics. Sound reasonable? Well, you seem to think so, according to your answers. What part of this scenario would not work?
And yet, many people would come across a snowy plain filled with white bunnies and say “Behold! The bunnies and the snow are a perfect match, and were thus made for each other with intent from a benevolent creator! How else could thhe bunnies fur have turned white?”
I know my example is over simplistic, but it’s the fundamental principles that I think really show how non-scientific evolutionary theory can be. In fact, it’s highly intuitive! In fact, the word ‘species’ itself demands an acceptance of evolution, because the word implies some kind of relationship reaching far back in time, doesn’t it!? As for the origins of life, well you really just need to apply the model on a smaller scale: instead of white bunnies surviving in grasslands, think about single-celled organisms surviving in psyto-plasmic goo. It’s fundamentally the same.
The most disturbing conclusion that I must come to is this: people who deny evolution only do so for two reasons.
1) People in authority have told them to deny it for their whole lives, because it contradicts their religious doctrines
… or …
2) they do not bother critically observing about the world around them.
So to the congressmen who deny evolution as part of their twisted political platform, I ask you … to which of these five questions would you have answered “no?”