Friday, November 23, 2007

Myths about Atheism: Everything got here by chance

When someone wants to criticize evolution, the deceptive (and wrong) simplification they use is something alonge the lines of, "So you believe that we're just here by chance? That's not only absurd, it's depressing."

Anytime someone uses this line, ask them how they learned evolution works. Chances are, they never learned how evolution worked. Personally, I grew up in a conservative christian home and did not learn anything about evolutionary process, just that evolution was a crazy theory taught by people trying to destroy christianity. In college when some of my friends found out that I didn't believe in evolution, they began pestering me to explain why I didn't believe it. That's when I realized that I knew nothing about evolution. In retrospect, I'm kind of embarassed that I exposed my ignorance and was bullheaded enough to argue against evolution, even though I had no clue how evolution worked. I was under the common misconception that evolution went something like this: Amoeba (poof!)--> fish (poof!)--> frog (poof!)--> cat (poof!)--> monkey (poof!)--> human.

When that's your understanding of how evolution supposedly works, of course you're going to think it's crazy. And you're going to say something about a tornado in a junkyard building a boeing 747. And you're going to say that we can't just be here by chance.

But if you understand the basics of evolution (something that I am able to teach a 14-year-old in less than five minutes), you understand that "chance" has little to nothing to do with evolution. Here is a one-page explanation of mutation and natural selection. Simple, huh? And yet so beautifully complicated. Now leave the "chance" talk in Vegas where it belongs.

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