Evolution is NOT a theory

Don't look at me like that, I'm serious. Evolution is not a theory, at least, not in the way that the anti-science lobby mean it.

The anti-science crowd would have you believe that there is some question as to whether evolution happens at all. This is wrong. This is wrong. This is so wrong that I may have to invent a whole new word for just how wrong this is, because, somehow, simply capitalising the "W" doesn't describe it adequately.

Evolution is a fact. Things evolve. We know this, we've proved it, we've caused it, we've seen it, we're living it. The reason that evolution is called a theory by the scientific community is because we cannot say with absolute certainty that our explanations of how it happens are 100% complete and accurate. How evolution happens is a nearly-but-not-totally settled question, but that it happens is 100%, take it to the bank, bet your last dollar, doubt me not, proven, total, utter fact.

So the people who say different either do not understand the principles involved, or are deliberately lying.

And don't give me any of that "microevolution" vs "macroevolution" bullshit, either. That's insidious creationist propoganda designed to fool the weak minded. The difference between so-called "microevolution" and so-called "macroevolution" is the difference between taking a step and going for a walk. There is no magic barrier except in the minds of the creationists. It's like saying "microtravel" (driving less than ten miles) cannot lead to "macrotravel" (driving more than five hundred miles). It's plain stupid, but it sounds scientific, and, on the surface, reasonable, so people who don't know better swallow it.

People resist evolution because they know what it means, it's just another area where gods have been evicted. If we came from primates (and we did, because we're still primates), then no god created us to be special and wonderful. We're not the creation of a loving, caring god, we're the end result of millions of years of purely natural processes. To my mind, we're all the more wonderful and awe-inspiring because of that fact, not less.

What we have here is the god of the gaps. Humans have, since our earliest recorded history, an amusing tendancy to attribute anything we don't understand to the actions of some form of supernatural being. We once worshipped the sun and the moon, believing them to be incandescent beings living in the sky. Over time, our beliefs became more sophisticated, and we stopped worshipping things and started worshipping things that caused things. Thunderstorms were caused by gods, plants grew and rain fell thanks to gods, women got pregnant thanks to gods (well, more usually, godesses), gods made the harvest bountiful and the children healthy. Then we got another step more sophisticated, and suddenly gods started causing concepts: love, poetry, beauty, justice, war, etc.

Maybe it's due to the arrogance of mankind. Maybe we're forced, by our very nature, to be unable to accept that we can't understand something. Maybe we're wired to think that if we don't understand it, it must be inexplicable. It's not our ignorance, it's the mysterious and ineffable ways of the gods.

Over the last few thousand years, with science exploring and explaining more and more of our universe, the places where gods can exist are becoming vanishingly small. We know how thunderstorms happen, we know how crops grow, how rain falls, how women become pregnant. We know that gods have nothing to do with jusitce or war. We know that no god was involved in creating us as we are.

Some of us just haven't accepted that we know this.

Maybe monotheism is the last gasp of humanity's obsession with explaining everything by shoving gods in where our knowledge is incomplete, but, by definition, it will be the hardest hurdle to jump.

Next stop, abiogenesis.

This rant was inspired by a conversation I had at work.

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