406 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 39 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Evolution Produced All Life, Including Skeptics

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments

James A. Haught
Message James A. Haught
Become a Fan
  (1 fan)

This piece was reprinted by OpEd News with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Evolution is astounding. The mind boggles to realize that natural selection driven by weak hydrogen bonds that let the long DNA molecule unzip and replicate itself could produce the planet's incredible array of millions of living species, including humans. It's almost unbelievable. How could such amazing diversity come from a self-replicating molecule? How can an assemblage of amino acids and cells write symphonies or put manned space stations into orbit?

However, honest, intelligent people must accept scientific evidence that evolution produced all living things, because no other trustworthy explanation exists. There's no evidence whatever--zilch--that a magical god created life.

Evolution is ruthless, heartless, killing off most creatures it spawns. Almost 99 percent of all species that ever lived became extinct and humans nearly did. National Geographic genome expert Spencer Wells says the last Ice Age, perhaps coupled with a super-volcano in Sumatra, almost exterminated humans before they migrated from Africa. He wrote:

"While homo sapiens can be traced to around 200,000 years ago in the fossil record, it is remarkably difficult to find an archaeological record of our species between 80,000 and 50,000 years ago, and genetic data suggest that the population eventually dwindled to as few as 2,000 individuals. Yes, 2,000 fewer than fit into many symphony halls. We were on the brink of extinction."

That's stunning. Despite our large brains and survival skills, we humans nearly vanished. We almost were lost like dinosaurs and other victims of cruel evolution. We narrowly pulled through.

But we survived and eventually dominated Planet Earth, manipulating nature to nourish ourselves. Humans are a bizarre mix of genius and inventive abilities, entangled with primitive superstitions and paranoid war-making savagery. Evolution made us kind and cruel, intelligent and stupid, admirable and absurd.

A scholar who probes deeply into the puzzle of humanity is sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, who has written several deep books repeatedly denouncing the human tendency to concoct imaginary gods, devils, heavens, hells, angels, demons, miracles and other supernatural figments.

In Consilience, analyzing how knowledge grows and becomes verified, he said there are two ways to look at reality: Empiricism, believing only what evidence reveals, and Transcendentalism, believing that a hidden order rules events. If any proof ever upholds the latter, he wrote, "the discovery would be quite simply the most consequential in human history". But no proof ever emerged.

In a later book, The Meaning of Human Existence, Dr. Wilson lambastes religion mercilessly. He concludes that evolution caused humans to be tribalized, and to invent imaginary gods suited to their tribes. He says: "The best way to live in this real world is to free ourselves of demons and tribal gods." (p. 158) Other observations:

"The great majority of people worldwide remain in the thrall of tribal organized religions, led by men who claim supernatural power in order to compete for obedience and resources of the faithful. We are addicted to tribal conflict, which is... deadly when expressed as real-world ethnic, religious and ideological struggles." (p. 176)

"The principal driving force of mass murders... is tribalism, and the central rationale for lethal tribalism is sectarian religions in particular the conflict between those faithful to different myths." (p. 154)

"Demons and gods do not vie for our allegiance. Instead, we are self-made, independent, alone, and fragile, a biological species adapted to live in a biological world. What counts for our long-term survival is intelligent self-understanding." (p. 26)

"We are not predestined to reach any goal, nor are we answerable to any power but our own. Only wisdom based on self-understanding, not piety, will save us. There will be no redemption or second chance vouchsafed to us from above." (p. 15)

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

James A. Haught Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight Atheism, (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Feeding 7.7 Billion

Megachurch Mess

Religion-Tinged Politics

deadly labor struggles

The Dreams that Stuff is Made Of

Coal Mine Wars

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend