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A thought on Evolution

October 22, 2008

I’m breaking the theme again because I read a great post over at The Meming of Life about why he fights to keep evolution in the science class and religion out. He touches on the absolute wonder of understanding even a fraction of evolution, and that made me think of one of the key arguments that science-minded folk hear from believers. Specifically: If science explains life, then how boring and purposeless is that? Purposeless, maybe. I’ve learned that the most important purpose is one you find for yourself, but “boring”? Hardly.

Think of two snowmen.

The first snowman was built by a child. The child rolled the giant snowballs, gathered and placed two sticks for arms, carefully arranged stones in the shape of eyes and a smile, placed a large carrot there for a nose, then finished by wrapping a large scarf around the neck. Cute and prosaic? Yes. Amazing and wondrous? Not really.

The second snowman is formed a little differently. During the last snowfall and against all odds, a huge series of snowflakes fell perfectly into the shape of 3 stacked snowballs, decreasing in size from the ground up. Two dead branches fall off of a tree and jam themselves into the middle snowball exactly where the arms should be. A car skids by, kicking up a bunch of gravel which sticks in the head in the shape of two eyes and a smile. A woman trips on the pavement, spraying groceries everywhere, one of her carrots landing exactly where the nose should be. Lastly, the wind picks up, blowing the scarf off of a young girl and dumps it right around the neck of the snowman. Incredibly, exceedingly, and ponderously unlikely, but amazing and wondrous? Absolutely!

See, anyone can just make a snowman who is physically and mentally able, just as an omnipotent god could just make a person. That’s lame. That’s boring. However, if a snowman falls together or a human defeats all odds and evolves from a protein, survives, and thrives in a universe that is so incredibly hostile to life, that’s amazing. That’s wondrous.

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