An Atheist Participates in Evolution

© Deafilosophy

An argument made consistently for the existence of God, and consequently against the scientific, agnostic, or atheistic position, is that evolution is a false theory.  I have heard noodly logic and word soup at every level of this claim from “It is completely impossible,”  to, “There is no evidence,” to, “There has been microevolution but not macro evolution,” and finally, “There are no transitional fossils.” (Coincidentally, this particular claim frequently comes from people who have never looked for them and stare blankly when you mention Archaeopteryx).


I mention these a priori because I wish to concentrate on a specific time scale or event that widely solidifies faith and belief for some people.  The birth of a child is regularly used as evidence of the gift of creation, the hand of God, or a miracle – that biological materials from two separate animals can combine to create a wholly independent (in time) creature.  I’ve chosen those nouns intentionally to include the entirety of birth in the animal kingdom, of which we are a part and not the top as we are frequently reminded by microorganisms (quite a limited dominion over all, but I digress).

Yes, that is my actual baby.  Visualized in real time with the help of science, physics, and a willing female human.


Now, onto the meaning of that title.  “An atheist participates in evolution” does not really imply anything, as I would simply wager the number of people who accept the concept of atheism over agnosticism and theism probably agree that we are all quite eagerly participating in evolution.  But in this case, I have a more playful meaning.  I have recently created a human inside my wife (I know that sounds strange but I think it is fun to say and read).  We are expecting a little girl in mid October and this level of grown-up excitement is truly new to me.
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Faces in the Crowd: A Darwinian Family Affair

Imagine a small crowd of people – a hundred or so – in a public place. A few minutes earlier they were all in transit to various other destinations, but a momentary spectacle has drawn them together. They do not, for the most part, know each other and in most cases they’ll never see each other again once they go their separate ways. They include representatives of every age group from infancy to dotage; there are people of various ethnic backgrounds, political and religious persuasions, socioeconomic status and states of mental and physical health. There is little consensus among them with respect to tastes or aspiration. Some are happier than others.


The people in this crowd have come to be together purely by accident, and it is the kind of accident that will never again draw this same crowd: the crowd has no identity, no “meaning.” Many people would be tempted to say of the people who make up that meaningless crowd, “They have nothing in common.”


But that sweeping statement, “They have nothing in common,” is not entirely true is it? They are all human, so they have that in common. Since they are all human, they are all the offspring of two biological parents, even if one of them merely traded his semen for cash at a sperm bank, or if in vitro fertilization was involved. And this makes it possible to list a great many other commonalities: they all have 23 pairs of chromosomes; they’re all bipeds; they’re all mammals; they’re all vertebrates; they’re all mortal; they’re all subject to the laws of physics and chemistry that make life possible, sets its limits, and so forth.


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