Thursday, June 14, 2012

Everything Evolves

                Why are so many people against evolution? One could say that it is but the small minded majorities who still don’t believe that it is true but a good share of them have to be intelligent enough to think it through for themselves, right? I am one who believes that IQ is no indication of intelligence but merely a number expressed by academics in order to score tail at democratic fundraisers. No, I believe everyone is capable of understanding the wonders of life and all it has to offer in the scientific sense. Some are smarter at certain things than others. I can write a twenty page essay that is coherent and meaningful in less than thirty minutes but give me an Alan wrench and some Duck Tape then expect me to fashion an air conditioning unit out of spare parts and I am completely left in the dark. Surely everyone must agree on one thing, things change.
                I believe that the intellect in all of us has at one point or another has rejected the possibility of evolution at some point or another because it contradicted what is supposed to be the one basic truth, that the Holy Bible and all of its fantastical stories must have happened. To reject this would be at odds with a creator who may or may not exist. Simply betting the odds in this case won’t necessarily take away from life’s glories but it sure does make for a pretty inclusive existence. Then again, if we’re wrong then what’s the harm? We’d be dead anyways. But as the world has progressed and evidence has mounted has there ever been a better time than now to reconsider that the bible may have been wrong or at least interpreted a little too literally?
                Even high ranking officials at the Vatican lost their battle with science and conceded that life had to have evolved over time instead of one instance of creation. Although to be fair they still keep the faith that God had a hand in it. But to me I would like to think a creator would try to avoid or at least fix mistakes in the gene code that allowed for such things as gluttony and hatred. Even the fact that a man’s testes has a chord that goes from them, around the midsection and then back into the prostate should be a concern over why didn’t a better plan just be for them to go from the testes to the prostate in a more direct route? As much as I would like to, I will not make this a paper on atheism, although that would be an interesting topic for another discussion, I would like to instead pronounce my enthusiasm for the facts and theories of evolution as an unbiased observer.
                (If I came off as being anti-God please forgive me, I am just an intellectual asshole who has nothing better to do with his time than to pick on the resurrection of Christ.)
                First off let me explain the difference between a theory and a scientific theory. A theory in the contemporary sense is an educated guess on how things work. A scientific theory uses evidence to make an informed hypothesis (also an educated guess, just wordier) meaning that if you had a fossil record that seemed to transition from one thing to another you would use a theory to test your hypothesis, such as using the now standard DNA model of detection. We first saw this theory arise when Darwin conducted his biological studies and found that some newly discovered fossils looked different but slightly less so than current living species. As the century progressed we used his theory model to conduct real time experiments on sexual selection (aka: breeding for certain traits in dogs or racing horses) to and natural selection (putting a group of bacteria in a jar with finite amount of food and saw which strands strived to reproduce over their lesser equipped counterparts). It is to say, that a lot of work goes into gathering facts before a scientific theory can be accepted as truth. And we have the facts for evolution.
                One of the worst things about history deniers to me is that they say there is no proof, that the world’s scientific community is lying to cover up God’s work. My question to them would be how can a million scientist be covering up something without having to first devote their lives to such a grandiose lie? Why on Earth would somebody spend their days pursuing something they didn’t believe in just to spite others who have no direct relation to them? It’s a waste of time and energy, and, just as natural selection has taught us, this would be quickly weeded out of society seeing as it is of no good to the propagation to the greater good.
                But what these people fail to realize is that it has probable saved their lives and made them better to boot at least a million times over by now. If we never had the theory of evolution then we’d be puzzled as to why white lab mice have almost identical immune systems as we do or even why a chimp would act so human. With it though we can see where certain things stack up with our DNA code and then use the similarities in order to produce medicines and treatments that actually work at bettering ourselves. Knowing that a mouse carries the same gene for depression has helped us make prescriptions for anti-depressants. Knowing whether or not bacteria strive under certain conditions due to certain genetic conditions will either help us or hurt us has formed the basis for anti-bacterial and pro-biotic medicines.
                In fact genetics simply would not even work as a science without our understanding of evolution. It is the basis and concept for everything in biology. It is a thing that has stood the test of time and very critical and analytical minds of the past century.
                The idea to me that nothing is simple makes me want to know more about how things work. Doesn’t it you? Saying that a rainbow appears out of nowhere during a rain shower does nothing for me because there is nothing to explore about it. But saying that it is a product of the prism effect of rain drops in proportion to sunlight makes me think that there is more going on in the world. The fact that everything comes from something, and that something comes from something, that comes from something we have yet to discover makes me anticipate the day that we discover it. If only to then turn and try to find out where that something in fact came from.
                Evolution is seen in everything we do. From us divulging from single non-organic molecules into self-replicating non organic molecules to organic and so on, to the fact that technology (in principle) becomes twice as fast and effective every two years is just the start. Why not think of our solar system as having evolved, and why not with the idea of natural selection? The elements were forged in the first stars (which came together from gravity and hydrogen) and through nuclear fusion became all the elements that we know of and then exploding, which released those elements which in turn are seemingly randomly selected to form new stars and now life giving element rich planets? Without those first stars we would not have oxygen or carbon, the two things necessary for us to exist in the first place. And when our star dies it will release more of those same elements and become new stars and planets (Okay so our sun may not go out in an explosion but the birth of new planets and stars are as inevitable as you having to eat something at least some of the time to keep your body going.)
                Evolution is everywhere. We have the facts, and we use those facts to form theories. To me a world without science would be a never ending rut of plague and disease and disaster. Why wait for a God to cure your cancer when you can go to a hospital and receive treatment? To do so is sound and we rarely think of it in this day and age. But there was a time when going to the doctor meant death by contamination and blood-letting to cure your cold. Medical practices have too evolved over time. Evolution is an unavoidable part of life.
                The next time you see a pretty flower, think not that it was just made, but think of it as a wonder of biology that took millions of years of trial and error to become so beautiful and complex. Wouldn’t that be more fulfilling in the end? I think so. And I hope that you will too someday.