Wednesday, December 01, 2010

google hubble (totally sounds like gibberish, don't it?)

Today I googled hubble photographs. I do this every once in a while because they are the most beautiful things I have ever seen. But since today is the first say of Hanukkah and Christmas is coming, I thought for the first time about God in the context of these photos. Now, I know a lot of people see such beauty in nature and take it as proof of God's existence. It's almost the default position for a human to take. But I've come to the conclusion that, while God could certainly have made all the pretty things in the universe, my default position is not to credit God. Or at least, not to take such beauty as proof of God, since if He is real then it's all because of him, admittedly. But anyway, I see science when I see the pretty colors and clouds and dust rings and such. And have you ever seen the back of the inside of a human eye? It is the coolest shade of orange ever. And the human cervix is a vivid bright pink (don't ask me how I know and don't bother looking for a link because I just google searched "cervix" and my eyes melted). And I just think, isn't it absolutely amazing that these beautiful colors are hidden out in space and inside our bodies, visible only to aliens and serial killers (and of course, alien serial killers. Serial alien killers?) and not just out in the open like flowers and rainbows and ladybugs? Isn't it great that these things all just happen through biology and chemistry and physics, through chains of random coincidences, over billions of years? Isn't it great that there is so much beauty that it can be spread far enough to not even be seen for eons? Isn't it great that because of nature and biology and chemistry, and their beauty, that we don't need to believe in a god?

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mean that there isn't a god, or gods, or intelligent design. I mean, that we have, as a species, solved enough mysteries that we can know how things happen without attributing them to a god. There might be a God, but our faith in him is now dependent more on actual faith than on a need to explain things. We can believe because we believe, on faith, and no because we need some explanation for sunsets and rainbows and babies.

I recently got into an argument with a Christian (not a poster child for all Christians, just one person who was a Christian) about evolution. And she said the same thing I hear all the time that drives me crazy. She said she believes a species can adapt, but not evolve. If one species could evolve into a different species, why don't we see transitional species all over the place?
Oh My God. That is evolution! I don't know who is running around telling people that evolution is cats becoming whales or whatever (Sarah Palin?) but it's not. It's a species adapting in tiny ways until, after a million years or so, those tiny adaptations add up enough to warrant calling it a different species than its ancestor. And, since species are always adapting, every single species alive today is a transitional species. People are, on average, taller than they used to be, with smaller jaws and shorter pinky toes. And in a million years we may have a whole different face shape, be ten feet tall, and have only 4 toes on each foot. And a whole bunch of other things, too. And then we will cease to be homo sapiens and be homo somethingelses instead. Evolution, made up of adaptations. There is no crocoduck.

I do not, despite all evidence to the contrary, have a problem with religion, Christianity in particular, or Christians. I do have a problem with people who believe something without knowing what or why. This woman I was talking to actually did believe in evolution, but she had been told not to so she thought she didn't. She had been told that evolution meant some cow walked to the beach, decided to swim, and then became a whale. Now, she can refuse to believe in evolution all she wants, but I think she (and everyone else) should know what it is and then choose not to believe it if that's what she wants. I can't explain what made life start, where the spark came from, and it very well could have been a god. But to say that a cow's inability to swim out to sea disproves evolution is just lunacy.

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