Musings on Darwin

Throughout history, a lucky few people have been in the right place, at the right time, with enough intelligence to connect the dots in the world around them. Darwin was one of these people. In Darwin’s time, some naturalists were already thinking about how the diversity of life came to be, but hadn’t quite solidified their ideas. On his famous Beagle journeys, Darwin simply applied critical thinking to explain observations of nature, such as the abundance of finch forms.
The idea of natural selection was a great contribution to the understanding of the world around us, but Darwin’s efforts aren’t much different than those of other scientific thinkers. Why then, are Darwin’s ideas so contentious while the others are taken as fact? What about biology makes it so much more scary than the other sciences? I see two reasons for the contention: the desire to distance humans from nature and the desire for simple explanations of nature. Fortunately, nature isn’t simple. Wouldn’t it be boring if it was?
To be frank, I just do not understand how evolution contradicts belief in god. If anything, a believer should be glad whenever we glean a little knowledge about  the workings of nature. If god created life, shouldn’t we strive to understand it in all of its manifestations and to preserve it for future generations? Any god worth believing in would have created evolution to ensure continuity of life in the face of changing environments. Natural selection just makes sense. After all, it’s natural selection that brought us love (and religion).
Image: Ironic Sans

Written by Anastasia Bodnar

Anastasia Bodnar is a science communicator and science policy expert with a PhD in plant genetics and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Anastasia has had various risk analysis roles in US government and military service. She serves as BFI's Director of Policy and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog.

2 comments

  1. “It’s Only Natural”

    Hi Anastasia.

    I suspect you will enjoy this song. I heard it on the FFRF broadcast and managed to find it on YouTube. It is not yet available on CD or for download. Perhaps ignore the images the person attached to the music… could have been better.

    Enjoy!

    And please let your friends know. It was written in response to a request by Richard Dawkins for someone to compose an artistic piece based not on religion but on science.

  2. Evolution and God

    I would be much more impressed by a God who could set evolution in motion, starting with simple organisms and leading to the current diversity of life on Earth, than a God who had to carefully design and construct each individual species… and then constantly intervene to maintain the system. Which is more powerful and brilliant?

    I do not understand why there must be a conflict between evolution and religion. Those who believe evolution contradicts the notion of God are really underestimating his power and foresight.

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