In honor of Darwin Day, I thought that I would just post some Charles Darwin quotes that I really like. So here goes:
* We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.
* I feel most deeply that this whole question of Creation is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton! Let each man hope and believe what he can.
* There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
* It has often and confidently been asserted, that man’s origin can never be known: Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.
Happy Birthday Charles Darwin. Today I celebrate the life of a man who we may find, ultimately, caused more change in the worldview of human kind than any other in history. At least that’s my hope. Maybe one day everyone will find the path that I found and shed superstition and replace it with reason, science, and critical thinking. Maybe one day Darwin’s theory will be so common place that the debate is finally put to rest.
Maybe one day!
Matt Dillahunty on this week’s Atheist Experience show was asked by a caller about why believers in Evolution/Natural selection/Survival of the fittest wouldn’t naturally move towards a society in which handicapped people or the general ‘undesirables’ of society would be eliminated. It seemed to me to be the usual attempt to connect Darwin’s theory with Hitler and other genocidal maniacs of recent centuries.
I found Matt’s response to be just about perfect (big surprise there) and something that really helped to solidify this concept in my mind. He basically said that what these people are doing is ‘artificial selection’. They are trying to force their world view onto society at large.
Natural selection is just that…natural. It involves biological laws and rules that direct genetics to mutate and change to suit the various changing attributes of a species’ environment. There’s no reason that we would have to connect this ‘natural’ process to folks that try to force the world to be what they see in their disturbed little heads.
Thanks to Matt’s explanation, I have a much better understanding that these two ideas and processes are completely separate.
Let me first start by saying that I believe Evolutionary Theory. I believe that the brilliant Scientists that have done the hard work of researching and testing the theory over the many years have done good work. I can see no reason that they would have to mislead people intentionally. I do trust that they are honest in their findings and in the way it is presented to the general public.
That being said, I have a few questions.
I have just started reading Richard Dawkins ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. And as usual with his writing, I am enjoying it tremendously. In the first part of the book, he uses the topic of the various breeds of Dogs to support the theory of ‘artificial selection’ (since humans were the ones to develop and domesticate the various breeds of dogs). He states that it’s been determined that all dog breeds lead back and tie into the genetics of Wolfs. Not foxes, hyenas, etc like originally thought.
Here is where things get foggy for me. I did a bit of digging separate from the book to see if I could find more information on how this actually occurred. I found one idea where it said that larger wolves would be bred with smaller, more pointy eared wolves, and would end up with a slightly smaller version. And that process was repeated to eventually develop the various breeds. I’m having trouble with this. Isn’t it correct that if you breed a large wolf, with one that may be smaller and look slightly different that you would still have a wolf? At least throughout the much smaller span of time that humans have been doing this as compared to the EONS of time that natural selection works in. This is an honest question. I am really looking to find how the process actually works and actual evidence that supports it. If anyone reads this and has links to articles or books that would explain the process, PLEASE post it in the comments. I would appreciate it greatly.
Another thing that has been nagging me lately is this. It is theorized that all life formed in the water (or Primordial Soup if you will). Single cell life forms eventually developed into more complex life forms over billions of years. And eventually some of those life forms moved onto land. Well, how does this happen? If a creature lives in water, it has gills. If a creature lives on land, it has lungs. How do the very FIRST creatures to do this, move from water to land? I mean, a fish that wanders on to land, and maybe lays eggs, doesn’t have babies that all of a sudden are born able to breathe air. Believe me when I say, I am not trying to over-simplify the process or claim that this is a flaw in the theory. I just can’t seem to figure out in my head, how this would happen. So, as with the other question, if there’s any information out there to explain this, I would LOVE to read it.
Maybe Dawkins will discuss this later in the book, and I’m just jumping the gun, but like I said, it’s just something that’s been nagging me and I’m curious to see what’s out there to explain these questions.