"[Our philosopher] asserted that he knew the whole secret...[H]e surveyed the two celestial strangers from top to toe, and mantained to their faces that their persons, their worlds, their suns and their stars, were created solely for the use of man. At this assertion our two travelers let themselves fall against each other, seized with a fit of...inextinguishable laughter"
-- Voltaire (1752)
Hello all. My name is Lu. This is a science blog, on a microscopic and astronomical scale (and a combination of both--extraterrestrials!). I'm biology student, pretty much in love with the universe.
Message for URL to my personal Tumblr.
So someone wanted my answer to this question in a rebloggable format. I think I’m going to start doing this from now on when I get a thought-provoking, earth-shattering question. Keep them coming!
Anyway, here is my answer:
Hello hello! Not too personal at all! I’m always willing to answer these questions—especially ones about evolution vs. creationism. My faaavorite subject! Plus, it would also give my followers a better sense of where I stand:
First, I want to emphasize the idea that “believing” is different from “knowing”—I know it’s rarely used interchangeably, but I feel like it’s important to address when answering this question. To me, believing is the idea that I think something is true even if it may or may not be true. Like, I “believe” my roommate is eating my food, or my parents “believe” that (according to Buddha’s teaching), good things will happen to good people, bad things will happen to bad people, etc. Those are beliefs, and beliefs do not have to be true.
Evolution is different. See, evolution actually happened. I know that the word “theory” that accompanies it dilutes down its meaning, but evolution is as true as the very law of gravity that’s holding you down to the Earth this very moment. It’s as true as the sun rises and sun sets every day. Organisms DID arise from simpler lifeforms. We ARE akin to our chimpanzee cousins. All the diverse species of life on Earth WERE descended (with modification) from common ancestors. Nature DID select for the fittest.
Now why do biologists use the word “Theory”? Because theory is an explanation. A theory provides the explanation or the mechanism to which an observable fact is rested upon. So using our previous example: we know that gravity is holding us down to the Earth. Well, how could this be? What is the explanation? See, there are many. Maybe we have super heavy feet that keeps us to the ground. Maybe the Earth is a giant magnet and it grabs on to everything. Maybe all objects have microscopic propellers that keeps pushing us down instead of up. Or MAYBE anything that has a mass warps the fabric of spacetime and attract each other depending on the distance between them. Sound familiar? Yes, the Theory of Relativity is a THEORY—therefore an explanation. And we bow down to this explanation because it MAKES SENSE. It aligns with our physical world, it’s observable in all aspects, it’s PREDICTABLE. We don’t believe in the Theory of Mini-propellers because no evidence have suggested that we have mini propellers that spin and push us down to the Earth.
Back to the subject. I wish I can express to you how profound, and beautiful the theory of evolution is. As a biology student, I stand in awe of the mechanism explained by Darwin. It is so simple, and so powerful. Even if you don’t have a clue what drives a photosynthesis reaction, or what makes a bee pollinate a flower, or why ATP synthase pumps out H+ to the mitochondial matrix, it all comes down to one simple dichotomy: “Does this work better? Is this useful? Yes? I guess I’ll keep it then! Yay I’ve survived!” or “No? It doesn’t work? Well, I guess I can’t do much about dying earlier than expected”
Evolution is a fact. Whether I believe in it or not, it happened. But if you are asking if I believe in the Theory of Evolution? Yes. I do. I think it is the most probable explanation of how life arise. It’s taken so so so so so so long to get to today, but what we see today is the result of the mechanism explained above.
I kind of equate Creationism to that Theory of Mini-propellers that I made up a few paragraphs ago. It’s such a childish conjecture that I can’t fathom that we’re still having discussion about it in the 21st century. It’s been refuted by so many generations of scientists, and debunked by a multitude of observations that it’s clearly a theory that simply does not uphold. God didn’t create horses and dogs and cats in their perfect forms—they came from their common ancestral mammals that outlived the dinosaurs, and the dinosaurs from their common ancestral reptiles that outlived in the amphibians, and the lungfish, and the invertebrates and the jellyfish, and the rofiters and the algea, and the cyanobacteria and all the way to the very first life on Earth.
Now again, you can BELIEVE that life was created by God. You can BELIEVE that God drove that first RNA to replicate itself, and the micelles to form in solution, and the prebiotic soup give rise to life. But no matter what, it happened. It happened because we are here today.
Whatever nature intended, the meaning is hidden inside the intricacy of life. This is why I study biology.
I’m currently at one of the top-leading research Universities. I have not (yet) met any professors who believe in creationism. In fact, I’ve had two professors who flat out said if anyone does not think evolution happened, they should step out of the class. And I don’t mean leave the classroom, I mean like drop the course. They take this very seriously, because that’s one of the biggest problems in today’s society. There’s a HUGE gap of scientific illiteracy in the common population. It’s staggering. So people who wish to uphold their religious/comfortable/inalienable beliefs and reject so much as the truth of the physical world can continue to do so. But there’s no place for them in the sciences.
As for me personally, I know I will become an educator one day. It’s a lovely thing to understand how the universe works. So I would detest anyone who tries to teach another person this so-called “creationism”. Now, we are currently in search of the Theory of Everything, and that itself might trumps Theory of Evolution, or Relativity, or Gravity, or Chaos. But hey, that’s science. For now, evolution explains how I got here today.
And as to why I am here today? That’s a whole other story.