Today’s post may ramble a bit. Fairly warned ye be.
I had never intended to start an evolution/creation blog, but that seems to be the direction the blog has taken for the present. That’s fine with me; I’m certain that exciting happenings in science will tug at my fancy. For now, it’s evolution, and as I regard victory in the war on evolution as vital for our continued survival, I’m happy to give it center stage for a time.
That may have seemed like idle hyperbole. Certainly it’s important to protect evolutionary theory from the ideological attacks on it, in this country (the US) and in all others. If we fail, the US stands to fall behind the rest of the world in scientific competency. Not only that, but if the soldiers of religious wingnuttery are able to censor science, what’s to prevent their influence from entering other areas of public life? What’s to stop them from outlawing homosexuality, or undermining religious freedoms? All these are nontrivial concerns, but none of them threaten our survival as a species.
I fight so hard for evolution not only for the theory itself, but for its necessary implications. The fact that humans share a common ancestor with all other life makes one long-held notion virtually untenable: that humans are somehow above and separate from the rest of life. Evolution makes it uncomfortably difficult to believe that humans were made “in God’s own image.” We are a part of the life of this world, we came to be in the same way as anything else, and we are subject to the same laws of nature as anything else. It is unspeakably vital that we all grasp this fact, and soon.
Again, the urgency with which I advocate this idea may seem strange. What harm is there in some people’s believing that humans are somehow exalted over other organisms? The danger is in the actions such a belief permits. If humans are exalted over all other life, than we are free to do what we will with all other life. In fact, “civilized” humans have done whatever they would with all other life for thousands of years, and the results are all around us. Fisheries are collapsing, vast areas of forest are destroyed daily, the products of agriculture and industry are driving global temperatures up, and estimates hold that dozens of species are driven extinct every day. This is a direct result of the idea that the world was made for us, and that we were made to make what we would of the world.
Accepting the more humble origin of humanity does not utterly banish this notion, but it does make it difficult to maintain. If we are simply a natural outgrowth of the processes that shaped this planet, it is hardly possible to justify our treating it as our personal property.
I fight, because fighting for evolution means fighting for humanity.