Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Am Evolution by Holly Dunsworth

From NPR:

I believe evolution. It's easy. It's my life. I'm a paleoanthropologist. I study fossils of humans, apes and monkeys, and I teach college students about their place in nature.

Of course I believe evolution.

But that is different from believing in evolution.

To believe in something takes faith, trust, effort, strength. I need none of these things to believe evolution. It just is. My health is better because of medical research based on evolution. My genetic code is practically the same as a chimpanzee's. My bipedal feet walk on an earth full of fossil missing links. And when my feet tire, those fossils fuel my car.

To believe in something also implies hope. Hope of happiness, reward, forgiveness, eternal life. There is no hope wrapped up in my belief. Unless you count the hope that one day I'll discover the most beautifully complete fossil human skeleton ever found, with a label attached saying exactly what species it belonged to, what food it ate, how much it hunted, if it could speak, if it could laugh, if it could love and if it could throw a curveball. But this fantasy is not why I believe evolution — as if evolution is something I hope comes true.

After all the backyard bone collecting I did as a child, I managed to carve out a career where I get to ask the ultimate question on a daily basis: "Where did I come from and how?"

If our beliefs are important enough, we live our lives in service to them. That's how I feel about evolution. My role as a female Homo sapiens is to return each summer to Kenya, dig up fossils, and piece together our evolutionary history. Scanning the ground for weeks, hoping to find a single molar, or gouging out the side of a hill, one bucket of dirt at a time, I'm always in search of answers to questions shared by the whole human species. The experience deepens my understanding not just about what drives my life, but all our lives, where we came from. And the deeper I go, the more I understand that everything is connected. A bullfrog to a gorilla, a hummingbird to me, to you.

My belief is not immutable. It is constantly evolving with accumulating evidence, new knowledge and breakthrough discoveries. For example, within my lifetime, our history has expanded from being rooted 3 million years ago with the famous Lucy skeleton, to actually beginning over 6 million years ago with a cranium from Chad. The metamorphic nature of my belief is not at all like a traditional religious one; it's more like seeing is believing.

So I believe evolution.

I feel it. I breathe it. I listen to evolution, I observe it and I do evolution. I write, study, analyze, scrutinize and collect evolution. I am evolution.

Sometimes, like now, additional comments are unnecessary.

15 comments:

C. David Parsons said...

Your belief is immutable right up to the time of death. Then every atheist will know that the God they despised is real. However, it will be too late, even as it was too late for your father, Darwin.

The following dissertation on Darwin is lifted from Volume 1 of The Quest for Right, a series of seven books on origins based on physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

On the outset, the reader should be aware that Darwin was a self-proclaimed agnostic; he did not deny the possibility that God exists but believed it was beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is, indeed, any divine force. Darwin, in response to an invitation to become a Patron of the Cat Show (September 18, 1872), lightheartedly referred to himself and cronies as "atheistical cats." By definition, an atheist either does not believe in, or denies the existence of God. Regardless of the profile, agnostics and atheists alike believe that all questions concerning origins, being, and the like may be explained fully by material phenomena and logic; scientists have since added a third dimension, the orderly application of mathematics, called electronic interpretation—read the matter in detail in Volume 1.

A cultural note: a marked distinction separates men who profess to be disciples (followers) of Christ and adherents of the Bible and those who profess to be outside Christianity (called unbelievers). Regarding the current definitions of agnostic and atheist, the text of the New Testament refutes the associated attributes, specifically the possibility that man (for whatever reason) either does not believe in the existence of God or else believes it is beyond one's mental ability to decide if there is a God. Countering the claim, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned, "For the invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they [men who 'hold the truth in unrighteousness'] are without excuse" (Romans 1:20-22). The things God created are aptly referred to as “the glory of God.”

In deference to the biblical precept, the eternal power and Godhead (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are clearly evidenced (seen and understood) by the things that God created and made. One only has to observe his or her surroundings; for instance, a wilderness setting with stately trees reaching skyward, colorful wildflowers dotting the meadows, wood ducks by a pool, and animals scurrying about in the underbrush, to realize the knowledge of the existence of God. There are, however, men who do "not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:28), and cast down every thought of God. Regrettably, the course of action is not without due penalty: "Because when they knew God [everyone has known God at one time in his or her life], they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21, 22).

In light of the foregoing scriptures, the current definitions of agnostic and atheist are wholly inept: men who hold the biblical precept to be patently false, professing either not to believe or know that there is an eternal power, are neither agnostic nor atheist, but willfully disobedient—willful, "done on purpose; deliberate." The comprehensive assessment will be fully justified; please read on.

Concurring with the biblical principle, Darwin may be charged with being willfully disobedient, as observed in his criticism of the tenets of Christianity. Of one certainty the reader may be assured, Darwin did not speak objectively when it came to Christianity—objectively, "uninfluenced by personal feelings, prejudices or agendas." In a bitter denial of Christianity, Darwin complained that he "could hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so, the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine." Why was Darwin so embittered? Read Revelation 20:11-15; 21:7, 8.

In order to access an online, audible Bible, and to read the biblical verses in context, go here: http://www.audio-bible.com/bible/bible.html
You may wish to bookmark the site. RealPlayer is required to listen to the Audio Bible.

Darwin once confessed to being a theist, the belief in the existence of a god or gods, in particular the belief that God both created and rules all earthly phenomena. After the publication of the Origin, Darwin charged his original belief in God to the "constant inculcation" (instruction or indoctrination) in a belief in God" during his childhood, which was as difficult to cast down as "for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake." With self-assurance, Darwin purposed in his heart that he would no longer retain God in his knowledge, resolving instead to become an "agnostic." The reader is, therefore, cautioned that, whenever reading books and articles about Darwin, most, if not all, biographical authors are predisposed to depict him in a favorable light, oftentimes allowing pro-evolutionist sentiment to prejudice their work.

The Old Testament did not escape Darwin's inflamed rhetoric; concerning the validity of biblical histories (in particular, the Genesis account of creation), Darwin pointedly declared that "the manifestly false history of the earth....was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos (sic), or the beliefs of any barbarian." Thus, Darwin likened the creation of the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7-25), to a mere fairy tale. As an alternative to the counterfactual history, he summarily disposed of both creationism and God by declaring in the Origin that, once the reader entertains the "volumne (sic) on the origin of species...light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history," meaning that man and apes diverged from a common ancestor through the agency of evolution without the aid or influence of God—there is no God.

You will not want to miss the adventure of a lifetime which awaits you in Volume 1 of The Quest for Right.

The Quest for Right, a series of 7 textbooks created for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. The several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately dethrone the unprofitable Darwinian view.

Visit the official website for additional information: http://questforright.com

BAWDYSCOT said...

Just because somebody doesn't believe in some concept doesn't mean they despise said concept. I hate being fucking pigeon-holed and especially by someone who THINKS they know all the fucking answers.

I have already reserved my spot in hell if I end up being wrong and I can live with that decision; I only pity you with all the fucking wasted time on your hands if YOU end up being wrong. But that is the idea behind faith I guess.

And I suppose this is some article someone(fcc, maybe)just lifted from some website because they cannot elucidate on their own.

csm said...

C. David Parsons is a stooge. He starts out with an incorrect assertion and never finds his way to accuracy.

Stating that my "belief" is "immutable" is wrong on two counts. It is not my belief, but my lack of belief that irks him. And it is NOT immutable. Given sufficient evidence (fuck, any evidence would be nice) I am open to changing my mind. Religious fascists such as this Parsons fuck are the ones sticking dogmatically to a belief that they will never change. Prove it by asking this type of idiot "What would it take for you to change your mind and stop believing in god?" If they answer, the answer is invariably something like "Nothing could ever change my faith!"

Case closed.

Ceroill said...

He also responds to what seems a misreading of part of the original article. The lady anthropologist plainly states that her belief is NOT immutable.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Good point, Bob.

Science Guy said...

If either of the biblical myths were true, all types of vertebrates - living types of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes - would be found along with bacteria and trilobites at the very beginning of the fossil record and would be extractable from all rock layers of later ages. But of course, nothing could be farther from reality. The infamous "gaps in the fossil record," adduced by creationists as evidence against evolution, are actually a devastating refutation of the idea that all forms of life were miraculously zapped onto the earth at the same time!

csm said...

Great points, Science Guy. Where'd you copy that from?

coreydbarbarian said...

well, either science guy is really frank zindler, or he has been "researching" this page.

also, from what i can tell, c. david parsons does daily google searchs on evolution and/or creationism, then hawks his books.
several bloggers have found this self-proclaimed "scientist extraordinaire" to be rather tiresome.

coreydbarbarian said...

oops, 4got 2 mention:
check out the 7th paragraph of that page's conclusion. it looks familiar.

Anonymous said...

Great job david. It is a pleasure to read a post so well presented.

BAWDYSCOT said...

Great job guys. It is a pleasure to read posts so well presented and testable.

csm said...

It wouldn't surpirse me to find out that Anonymous is actually old c. david giving himself a pat on the back...

VJ said...

This made me laugh "I am evolution" It remided me when Venus Flytrap while drunk yelled "I'm the wind, I'm the air!" Where do they find these whirly birds?
Good luck C David. You are preaching to some looney tunes.

csm said...

VJ? Really? Your reference is to a fictional televsion series character from the 1970s? This is what you add to the discussion here? I can see we are in for a "treat" if you stick around to add your "incite"ful comments.

BAWDYSCOT said...

The Brick Wall.