Saturday 23 November 2013

Going Round in Circles: God Versus Evolution

More often than not, when I go on Twitter, I see on my timeline arguments between religious folk and atheists. I don’t follow most of these people - their responses just appears there in the form of retweets. Inevitably, that argument trickles down to evolution. Theists argue that if we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys and that evolution is like saying something came out of nothing (and a magic man clicking his fingers to make life appear fully formed isn’t making something out of nothing?); atheists then spend time pointing out the inaccuracies that litter the sacred texts so revered by religion folk.

And on and on it goes, where it stops, everybody knows: back to the beginning of the argument. Nothing changes. It’s getting a little boring to be honest.

But why argue about this at all when the matter has already been settled?

Forget about the fossil records - those bones have been put in the ground by Satan to test us anyway. We don’t need Satan to distract us from what’s happening right now. That’s right: evolution is happening right before our eyes, but we’re spending too much time on Twitter to see it.

Here are seven examples of evolution in action:

Among them, elephants are losing their tusks, fish are becoming immune to toxic waste, lizards learn to dance, while others are learning to digest previously indigestible foods, and what’s happened to the peppered moth?

And here’s another site. Granted, some examples are the same as those linked above, but there are other, even more amazing ones:

You’ll learn of lizards giving birth to live young, an amazing arms race between crabs and mussels, stronger, faster toads, how butterflies deal with parasites and even an example of evolution happening in the lab.

If all of this wasn’t enough to convince you that evolution happens, how about hearing it from the leaders of your faith?

Let’s take the Pope. In 1996, John-Paul II stated that evolution happens.

Yes, yes, I know; the Pope’s the Anti-Christ. So how about all you Protestants out there? Well, the Church of England apologised to Charles Darwin in 2008. "The apology, which has been written by the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, the Church's director of mission and public affairs, says that Christians, in their response to Darwin's theory of natural selection, repeated the mistakes they made in doubting Galileo's astronomy in the 17th century."

So really, why are we still arguing about this? Listen to your leaders! You do for everything else, so why not this?

Of course, the next argument will arrive: Intelligent Design. Good grief. People who promote this have studied very little biology, because if they did, they’d realise that yes, complex organisms are amazing biochemical machines, but by god are they messed up! If that’s Intelligent Design, then God was suffering from the mother of all hangovers when he sat down and made all those animals pop into existence.

What’s so intelligent about having a donut-shaped brain and passing your oesophagus through it? No, not ours, but the giant squid’s. If it swallows something too big, it runs the risk of brain damage. Clever.

I’ve borrowed these examples of our own anatomical intelligent design from Scott Atran’s site:

"In land animals, for example, the mouth does double duty as an opening to take in food and air. As creatures evolved from water onto land, the opening to the respiratory system was jerry-rigged to share the pre-existing digestive tract's anterior structure, including the mouth and pharynx (throat). In terrestrial vertebrates, the pharynx became a short passage linking the mouth to the esophagus and the windpipe. Any mistiming of the swallowing mechanism, which blocks off the air passage in routing food to the esophagus, causes choking. For humans, the problem is even worse because the mouth and throat do triple duty, serving also the function of speech. Both in swallowing food and in articulating speech sounds, respiration is temporarily inhibited as the larynx rises to close (in swallowing) or constrict (in speaking) the opening to the air passage (glottis). Humans are more liable than other animals to choke, as they attempt to simultaneously coordinate eating, breathing and speaking. In the bargain, the swallowing capacity of humans has become much weaker than that of other animals.

Or consider the procrustean fit of the reproductive, urinary and excretory tracts to the same anatomical region. In men, the uretha serves both as a urinary canal and a genital duct. This results in dysfunctions and diseases that pass from one system to the other. In women, these two functional passages are anatomically separated, but are sufficiently close to one another, and to the anus, to facilitate the spread of infection from each of the three systems to the others, especially during pregnancy.


Creationists, and proponents of "intelligent design," often point to human adaptations as evidence of God's plan, or "intelligent design," and good disposition towards His creatures. A closer look reveals that God may never been wholly pleased with His most preferred creations in granting them the parts they have. Why did He invert the retina and give humans (but not the octopus) a blind spot? Why, in making us upright, did He render us so liable to back problems? Why did He give us just one head, heart and liver instead of two?”

And if that’s not enough, I’ll leave you with the bunny, the creature god truly hates. This is part of the film “Flock of Dodos”:

So come on, the matter’s already been settled. Can we move on now?

Further Reading

In God We Trust ? (22 October 2012)


1 comment: