All right, so I’m going to throw up a disclaimer here just so we’re clear on everything and anything.
First things first, I am absolutely not a scientist. Curious? Absolutely. But certainly not a scientist. Second, my opinion is based on what I’ve found in my research of this topic. Third, I’m a Catholic. I’ll try not to let this add bias to this post, but hey – every word has bias in it. Deal. Fourth, this is a layman’s viewpoint. I couldn’t hope to simply sum up the discussion that’s been going on for decades. But it works for me, and if it works for you as well, then that’s cool. I guess.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, this is going to be a test run. I just want to put something out there that’s more…substantial than my usual fare. I don’t want this blog to turn into a political newsy garbage-tier blog. This blog is meant to do two things to its readers: cause them to laugh, and cause them to become inspired. Both things, I think, are elements severely lacking on news blogs, Facebook, and just about any other place on the internet that involves politics en masse. What I post here isn’t meant to change your mind about anything. I’m simply offering my perspective to you, allowing you a brief glimpse into my brain. I also want you to look at the world – as a whole – in a better light. To make you wonder “What a beautiful and astounding world we live in.” Because I think, deep down, that’s really true. Some people don’t care. Others care too much. But I just think that as long as we can appreciate the beauty of life, the beauty of change, and the beauty of faith, then that’s really all you need to get yourself through another day. Disclaimer out.
All right, so now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’d like to take a minute to tell you what I think about Darwin’s theory of evolution. In my own words. In one sentence.
That’s it, really. “Eh.” Not like the Canadian “eh” that goes on the end of a stereotype, but the “eh” that is usually after the “m” in “meh.” In other words, I don’t really have a strong opinion on it. Anyway, Darwin figured that animals can change over time. A long time. A REALLY long time. Like, older than your great-great-great-great granddaddy time. Like MILLIONS OF YEARS. That’s quite a few generations. 20 million years = 1 million generation-ish things. For humans, at least.
Which brings me to my first point: How could an animal evolve from a deer to a rhinoceros when an ape only evolved into a human? Well, I get the feeling that deer don’t live as long as humans do. Humans usually have babies at an average age of 20 (-ish). Let’s be generous and say deer live 20 years, at best. Now, that’s the absolute top age. That is one old deer. He’s got grand-deers by now, most likely. So in one generation of humans, we’ve burned through 3 generations of deer. That means, more or less, that deer evolve thrice as fast as humans do. Now, I don’t think that a deer actually evolved into a rhinoceros (more on that later), but at least the example gets my point across. The same is true for single-celled organisms – I’d imagine that’s how you’d get such diverse life. But what do I know.
Here’s a fun question – if we evolved from single-celled organisms, why are there single-celled organisms? That’s taking up the “why are there still monkeys” question up a notch or two. Or a few million. But it’s a good question. Again, I’m going to play my “not a scientist” card here. When I think of single-celled organisms, I think of bacteria. Now, bacteria suck for us humans because they make us barf and get sick and die, which really sucks for us. But if we die, the bacteria’s environment goes more or less stagnant. If we don’t, we develop antibodies and perform bactericide, killing every single bacterium in us. Can’t evolve if they’re all dead. So that’s how that works, I guess. Single-celled organisms are in a tight spot where they can’t evolve without dying out completely for trying or dying out over time due to weather. Cells are fragile, yo.
So if cells are so fragile, then how did they survive the galactic bombardment the Earth received over countless eons? Well, most of them didn’t. But a few did, and that was enough, I suppose. Actually, the whole “common ancestor” thing could be a lost cause, if our ancestor evolved a few times and then died out. I mean, what’s the point of looking for a common ancestor if they’ve all vanished? The clue to look for is common descendant, I think – and that seems to fall in line with DNA.
There’s this idea floating around called “irreducible complexity.” Basically, what it means is that something is complex enough that if you take out one part, the whole thing doesn’t work anymore. A bike doesn’t work without a chain. Or wheels. Or pedals. A car doesn’t work without gas. Basically, anything that only works when all the pieces of the puzzle mesh together is irreducibly complex. Things that are not irreducibly complex include paper, bags, knives, and so on. Now, you can add things to these to make them more complex – hilts for the knives, for instance – but since you could also take those things away and the object would still function, they aren’t irreducibly complex.
So, as it turns out, there is an awful lot of stuff in biology that is irreducibly complex. The brain, for instance. Or the eye. Or the stomach. Or…OR…DNA. You see, messing around with DNA is a bad time for the creature getting its DNA messed around with. DNA is a code, and when somebody starts changing what that code means, it becomes very…messy. And usually very crippled. Or dead. Dead works too.
The reason for this, I think, is pretty simple. Probably because I thought of it. It’s because evolution happens over MILLIONS OF YEARS. Trying to take a goat embryo and a sheep embryo and smooshing them together in a lab isn’t evolution. Not really. It’s not natural selection, it’s just…selection. Which, I think, is why we humans haven’t been able to concretely prove evolution yet. We just haven’t had the time. Hey, it’s an excuse that I’ve been using all my life, so I’ll let the scientists get away with using it, too. But just this one time, y’hear? It’s 2016, why aren’t there hoverboards and moon restaurants yet?
All right, so moving on. The title of this post is called “God and Evolution,” but I haven’t really talked about God yet. So allow me to introduce you to our good friend the Creationist! The Creationist believes, from what he tells me, that God created the earth with his beautiful godly hands! And I say, “that’s terrific, that is!” And then he proceeds to tell me that humans have souls, and this separates us from the other animals! “Wow,” I say, “that’s really something!” He moves on to tell me that Adam and Eve really existed! “Cool,” I say, “that’s great. I guess?” But my change in tone doesn’t stop this guy! He then tells me that the Book of Genesis is literal and God created the universe in 7 days! And I say “It takes me that long to make a blog post, at least! How can this cool dude with the godly hands create the entire universe in just one week?!”
You see, the Creationists are great and all, and I really appreciate their use of religion, but unfortunately, their argument just doesn’t hold up. There is no way that the earth I’m standing on is only a few thousand years old. Look it up, there’s all kinds of evidence supporting billions of years of history, and only a few supporting a six-thousand year old earth.
My Creationist buddy gets all defensive now. “But you’re a Catholic!” he says to me. “You have to believe this stuff!”
And to him I say (and all you other Catholics would do well to say it too) is this, which is a direct quote from an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences written by Saint Pope John Paul II:
“There is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points….”
Yup. From what I understand, there are four things a Catholic like me needs to remember concerning this matter:
- That God created the world all by Himself,
- God didn’t abandon the world; He is still watching over us,
- Everybody has a unique soul, and
- Adam and Eve were real people that really existed.
That’s it. That’s all my faith requires me to believe in. And I do. BUT! That doesn’t make me a creationist. The key thing that I don’t have to believe is that God created the world in 7 days/168 hours/10,080 minutes/604,800 seconds. That’s not a lot of time. I mean, God’s God, and He can take as much time as He pleases to create the world. But I just want to quote 2 Peter 3:8 (Which is a quote from the Bible, the book Mr. Creationist is using to describe how God created everything):
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
Boom. So that’s, what, 7,000 years? That’s a lot of years. I’d be barely a fetus in God’s life. We all would. Not only is this from the Bible, it’s from the first Pope – Peter. You know, the infallible guy? That guy said this.
All right, so I’m going to give you the quick run-down of what I think happened during the first couple billion years of everything.
- First, God made stuff. That part I get – there isn’t really much recorded history from before the Big Bang, so there you go. God said “Let there be light,” and I can’t think of a more dramatic light to start things off with than the Big Bang. This is “Day 1” in Genesis. God divided light from darkness, stars from space, to-may-to, to-mah-to.
- Day 2 is water. H2O. Hydrogen and oxygen. Now, boys and girls, it’s time to learn what that whole “you’re stardust” thing people always tell you really means. It means you were basically made from a giant nuclear reactor in space! How’s that for stardust? Anyway, stars are hot enough and heavy enough to perform fusion. Hydrogen turns into helium, and you move on down the line until you get heavier and heavier stuff. Water’s a strong bond, so any nearby hydrogen and oxygen would make steam as soon as it could. When the conditions were right. And remember the whole “God-guided” thing? So yeah. Eventually, conditions were right, God made a bunch of water in space. Done.
- Day 3 is earth, or ground, or whatever you want to call it. Again, this is fusion. Water is lighter than rocks, so it’s just the natural order of things. Rocks are heavier than water, though, so eventually, space water turns into land water turns into ocean. Pretty simple stuff.
- Day 4. This is pretty much the “settling down” of everything. It’s still extremely violent, though. We get a big ol’ moon from something crashing into the earth, and that’s that. Stars align into patterns over millions of years. Pretty cool stuff. Everything’s falling into place nicely. Time to pad it out with something. Hmm…
- Both birds and bees abound. And whales. And trees. And everything else except humans. But it all STARTED with a single-celled organism. I’ll get back to this one, but for now, let’s move on.
- Day 6, as you might have guessed, is us. People. The final divine creation. And that, my friends, is that. God took a nap after making us. I think. I hope. I’d imagine creating literally everything with zero sleep has gotta be pretty tough on the guy.
So back to day 5 and 6. God created the animals. But since God also created everything, I prefer to think that he shaped the animals. God-guided evolution. God guides us, why not animals?
And there you have it. In a nutshell. God made everything. God guided everything. Natural selection is a guiding process. I don’t see what’s left to argue.
Unless you’re like an atheist or something, and to that I say just omit God if that works. Everything was made. Everything was guided. Natural selection. And if you ever need to ask “What made everything? What guided it?” Well, see the above paragraph.
Hey, so I hope you enjoyed this. If not, don’t hesitate to leave a nasty comment or whatever. If you somehow think I’m wrong on something, I wanna know. But if you pretty much agree with everything I’ve said here, then go ahead and tell me that, too. I like hearing that I’m right. Again, this is just to test the waters of deeper concepts. Or pistachios. Whatever floats your boat.