The religion of evolution

I’ve heard this claim more times than I can mention, and I think that it’s a feeble attempt to bring the theory of evolution down to the level of the accuser. If they believe in a religion, and they have faith that their god is the divine creator, then by the same standard any opposing theory must also be a belief, require faith, and slot into the category of religion. The first mistake that they usually make is not researching evolution enough to understand it, and fail to recognise that a scientific theory is based on gathered evidence, as opposed to a standard theory which is an idea, or a suggestion to explain an event. The second mistake is thinking that the scientific method requires faith, as it’s deeply rooted in scepticism and doubt, and unlike a religion it’s able to adapt upon discovery of new knowledge, and/or evidence.

I read a preposterous article on Answers in Genesis where the authors, both claiming to be doctors, suggest that there’s no observable evidence for evolution, but creationism has observable evidence in the Bible, as it’s the word of god. There are many examples of observed evidence for evolution, and nothing except words from the Bible and speculation on divine creation. Young Earth creationists believe that the Earth is approximately 6,000 years old.

“2,000 years from Adam to Abraham, 2,000 years from Abraham to Christ, and 2,000 years from Christ to today. – Source

Here’s the scientific version.

“By dating the rocks in Earth’s ever-changing crust, as well as the rocks in Earth’s neighbors, such as the moon and visiting meteorites, scientists have calculated that Earth is 4.54 billion years old, with an error range of 50 million years.” – Source

As you can see there’s a tremendously vast difference in the age of the Earth from both parties and it’s actually a four billion five hundred thirty-nine million nine hundred ninety-four thousand difference. So when you accept how creationists blindly believe the words of the Bible over science, then it’s of no surprise that they think that evolution requires faith to must logically be a religion, but that’s assuming that creationists are able to apply logic in the first place. The way the creationist mind works is obvious, and it’s a fear of uncertainty. The Bible maps the birth of the universe and the start of life as an encyclopaedia, a pseudoscientific one, but all of the answers that they require are there. Whereas science whilst in the search for knowledge, being derived from the Latin word ‘scientia’, literally meaning knowledge, it’s about applying reason and doubt. Both of these processes go back as far as the archaic Greek philosophers, mainly the skeptics.

‪Well I am certainly wiser than this man. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know.‬” – Socrates

Having the honesty to say ‘I don’t know, as the evidence is insufficient’ is a frightening concept to them, and it’s rare to find a sceptic person of faith, as gods require absolute belief and obedience.

Scientists claim that they think unicellular to multicellular is in principal the same as a ‘ratcheting mechanism’, in that it can only go one way. What this means is a scenario is created where it’s only beneficial to a group, and destructive to anything alone, meaning there is no reversion to the state it was in before. In other words unicellular life banded together as a group and became reliant on each other, so there was no chance of a mutation to turn multicellular life back into unicellular life. In a group state, mathematically there’s more chance of mutation, but a mutation to go forward, and not backwards. This is Microevolution at work when there are small, but significant changes at a molecular and cellular level, caused from selection, genetic drift, gene flow and of course mutation. This is certainly a possibility of how life went from unicellular to multicellular. Biologists have been studying evolution for centuries are there are several key areas, and they include:

Anatomy- which shows that species that are similar in structure ie: humans and chimpanzees. Dogs, whales and humans all have similar bone structures in the forelimbs, which suggests that not only did the whale once walk on land, which will explain why mammals live in the sea, but the development of the related bone structure developed in a common ancestor.

DNA – genetic coding that’s shared throughout species that prove a universal common ancestor. This includes the building blocks of life; amino acids.

Resistance – this is how a species evolves to survive ie: bacteria vs antibiotics, and insects vs pesticides

Fossils – that provide evidence of our long extinct relatives.

Natural selection – is the change of biological heredity of a population through generations. Considering bacteria mostly has such a short life span, then several generations can happen very fast. Some microbes can live for hundreds of years on a surface, and some, like HIV only last seconds, but most don’t last very long at all.

Convergent evolution studies how significantly distinct species have evolved the same way through evolution. The strikingly similar features of a shark and a dolphin, despite one being a fish and one being a mammal. To look at they are similar, but anatomically they are very different. A shark has gills and cartilage structure, whereas a dolphin has bones and breathes fresh air. Physically they are very similar in that they have evolved for a common goal. To swim fast and efficiently through water.

Divergent Evolution takes us back to unicellular life, and how the diversity of modern life came from it, and how life can develop from a common ancestor.

Real time observation – watching species evolve over time, and a great example of this is the Florida green lizard who over several generations evolved its feet to climb higher up trees to narrower branches to avoid competition.

Vestigiality – this is organisms that have retained redundant body parts. Did you know that snakes have pelvic bones? Creationists will argue that was god’s doing as he punished the serpent in the garden of Eden.

Biographical relations – put the same species of animals in two different environments and over time they will change to suit the habitat. This is what inspired Charles Darwin to study finches at the Galápagos Islands.

‪‪The fact is that evolutionists believe in evolution because they want to. It is their desire at all costs to explain the origin of everything without a Creator. Evolutionism is thus intrinsically an atheistic religion. Some may prefer to call it humanism, and New Age evolutionists may place it in the context of some form of pantheism, but they all amount to the same thing. Whether atheism or humanism (or even pantheism), the purpose is to eliminate a personal God from any active role in the origin of the universe and all its components, including man.” – Source

‪The above quote is taken from another creationist organisation, and this time it’s the Institute for Creation Research, and as you can see, they are as delusional as Answers in Genesis. This article, however, is extremely bitter and is a direct attack against atheism, in which because we can’t prove there’s no god, then we must have faith, thus making it a religion, and they also claim that evolution isn’t promoted as a science, it’s promoted as a secular religion. So that means that I not only practise the religion of atheism, but I also practise the religion of evolution. How do these people genuinely expect to be taken seriously when they manufacture things to suit their agenda? Because scientists can’t fully explain naturalism, or provide evidence of abiogenesis, does this mean that because we’ve an incomplete picture, then it’s obviously false? And by their standards, believing something that they claim is without evidence is a religion, then surely it’s a two way street and they are being hypocritical?

Viral Evolution

With ‘COVID-19‘ being the focus of the world, many people are claiming that it’s a hoax, or it’s been manufactured to disrupt the world economy, but in a crisis, conspiracy theories are rife. One thing is certain, and that is the death toll is rising rapidly, and the future of humanity rests on science finding an antiviral solution, preparing for a another outbreak, and people being more conscientious about personal hygiene and self-isolating if they become sick.

The trouble scientists are facing attempting to combat COVID-19 is that it’s a virus, and treating them can be extremely difficult as they are prone to mutate and benefit from natural selection, a key component of evolution. Researchers in China have discovered that there are more than one version of COVID-19, and the more aggressive strain that has spread around the world that mutated away from a far less aggressive strain.

What’s interesting about viral evolution is a virus isn’t technically living, and with it needing to hijack a host’s molecular makeup to reproduce, but natural selection still plays a huge part in its survival. Without life, viruses can’t exist, but in 2013 two virologists from Marseille discovered a virus that had been frozen for thousands of years in Siberia.

“Pithovirus’s relatively large number of genes also differentiated it from other viruses, which are often genetically simple—the smallest have a mere four genes. Pithovirus has around 500 genes, and some are used for complex tasks such as making proteins and repairing and replicating DNA.” – Source

Who’s to say that with the ‘pithovirus‘ having the ability to create proteins, which is one of the essential components needed for life, that descendants of the pithovirus weren’t responsible for the basis of life on Earth? Scientists are confident that this and the ‘tupanvirus‘ aren’t as dependant on a host as modern viruses are. Imagine that life originated from one mutated virus that turned into a unicellular life form. It certainly adds another potential possibility of how life began.

The biodiversity of life

Biologists and geologists claim through extensive research that the current species of life on the planet, which is estimated to be over 10,000,000 is approximately 0.01 percent of life that’s existed on Earth throughout its existence . We may think that the biodiversity that we have around the world is of an abundance, but that’s simply not the case. Billions of species of birds, insects, mammals, reptiles and amphibious creatures have had their moment, and through one reason or another 99.9 percent of them have gone extinct. We can’t even begin to imagine what was around before we were, and what’s waiting to be discovered deep underground. The age of the Earth is described by scientists as 4.54 billion years old, and the earliest signs of life are proven to have existed approximately 3.5 billion years ago, so I’m sure we can agree that there’s been a lot of comings and goings.

As I have already covered in my article It’s the end of the world as we know it, there have been at least five major catastrophic events that could have potentially wiped out all life on Earth, but life was most resilient and managed to survive these events. The majority of life is found around the Equator where the rainforests are most prevalent, and when the rainforests are destroyed, by natural events or catastrophic events, this is where life is affected the most. Evolution and natural selection over 3.5 billion years has allowed life to adapt to its surroundings and the majority of the time that life has existed on Earth it was very primitive, and was literally single cell. I touched upon this in my article The tree of life. Micro organisms known as Eukaryotes can reproduce asexually, and the more common known types of micro organisms are bacterium and archaeon, and are very resilient. I’ve shared the below image a few times now, but it shows how bacteria can mutate to survive a threat like antibiotics.

Considering the traumatic, Earth changing catastrophes that our planet has endured, it truly is astonishing that life managed to progress to a multicellular level, never mind an abundance of sentient life. If the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct, and continued beyond their 175,000,000 year reign over the Earth, where would that have left us and other mammals? Would we have ever co-existed with dinosaurs like the charlatan Ken Ham believes? Yet, only the non-avian dinosaurs perished, and their descendants (birds) flourished. The link between dinosaurs and birds is commonly viewed by scientists as the Archaeopteryx, which was a non-avian feathered dinosaur that was thought to be capable of flight, albeit it limited. The name like you’d expect is derived from Ancient Greek, and is ἀρχαῖος (archaīos) meaning ancient, and πτέρυξ (ptéryx) meaning feather.

In my article All creatures great and small, i discusses the diversity of creatures who stray away from the normal standards of survival, and this involves parasitic relationships, symbiotic relationships, and hermaphroditism. Life will mutate and evolve, and even change sex to continue the species’ survival. Some species of animals have no close relatives and other species have many, scientists rate their value on how important they are to the ecosystem. Species with many relatives are often studied closely to try to understand why they’ve been able to evolve so successfully and become so diverse.

Look at Primates, but more specifically human beings. We are an extremely diverse species in that there are multiple races, with thousands and thousands of developed languages. We are a prime example of how successful evolution is, and how living in tribes, or societies if you prefer, is essential for our survival. We are simply greater in numbers. You have to agree that in the two million years since Homo Erectus stood on two feet, and the 200,000 years that Homo Sapiens have evolved, humans have achieved a great many things in their brief existence.

So why do theists believe in a creator, and creationists believe God made Adam and Eve, when there’s clear evidence from fossils that isn’t the case and there have been several variations of humans before us. Why would a God make life so diverse? If the current life on Earth is 0.01 percent of life that’s existed, why did he allow so much death and suffering? Even if we address the ARK and the Great Flood, how has life on Earth become so diverse again? How have humans developed over 6000 languages in such a short time, and separated into several races? Why would God create parasites, symbiotic necessities or hermaphroditism? Why overcomplicate everything? I could write a whole article just asking questions on the absolute lack of logic in believing a God created everything, but that’d be as futile as believing in a God.