• Chris Hanna

An Atheist Participates in Evolution

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

© Deafilosophy

An argument made consistently for the existence of God, and consequently against the scientific, agnostic, or atheistic position, is that evolution is a false theory.  I have heard noodly logic and word soup at every level of this claim from “It is completely impossible,”  to, “There is no evidence,” to, “There has been microevolution but not macro evolution,” and finally, “There are no transitional fossils.” (Coincidentally, this particular claim frequently comes from people who have never looked for them and stare blankly when you mention Archaeopteryx).

I mention these a priori because I wish to concentrate on a specific time scale or event that widely solidifies faith and belief for some people.  The birth of a child is regularly used as evidence of the gift of creation, the hand of God, or a miracle – that biological materials from two separate animals can combine to create a wholly independent (in time) creature.  I’ve chosen those nouns intentionally to include the entirety of birth in the animal kingdom, of which we are a part and not the top as we are frequently reminded by microorganisms (quite a limited dominion over all, but I digress).

Yes, that is my actual baby.  Visualized in real time with the help of science, physics, and a willing female human.

Now, onto the meaning of that title.  “An atheist participates in evolution” does not really imply anything, as I would simply wager the number of people who accept the concept of atheism over agnosticism and theism probably agree that we are all quite eagerly participating in evolution.  But in this case, I have a more playful meaning.  I have recently created a human inside my wife (I know that sounds strange but I think it is fun to say and read).  We are expecting a little girl in mid October and this level of grown-up excitement is truly new to me.

Now when I say I am participating in evolution, of course I am speaking of the micro time scale in which all humans live their lives.  The lifespan of a human is quite lengthy in regards to much of the life on planet earth but when considering the timescales necessary to properly measure evolution, we are here for only an incredibly short moment.  But, in that moment there is much we can truly see.  Just in the process of conception alone we can see DNA intermingling (I believe that is the technical term) as chromosomes are twisted and glued into place (more textbook vocabulary surely). Organic compounds are formed into chains and random mutations change tiny parts in the genetic code of life, giving the infant a true uniqueness never before seen and possibly never to be seen again (twins and cloning are exceptions to this rule).

Elaborating as simply as I can, this miraculous act of God is actually a complex event filled with mechanisms, tools, and the nuts and bolts of evolutionary life.  We truly can be amazed at the splendor of something without needing a supernatural explanation.

This is the beginning of a series of posts that I will be writing on my participation in the evolution of a life, the most important life I have ever been a part of, the one I helped create.

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