27
Dec
09

Why do you accept evolution?

(This is the second question in Brett Keane’s Atheist Challenge)

Why do you accept evolution? Explain how you came to your conclusions.

First, I would like to note that my acceptance of evolution has nothing to do with my lack of belief in gods. If I were to change my position on higher powers and begin believing in a god or gods, I would still accept evolution until there was sufficient evidence to stop doing so. Despite anything I have to say, it is a fact that there are believers who accept evolution, and even nonbelievers who don’t, so there shouldn’t be an assumption that I accept evolution just because I’m an atheist.

But for the record, I do accept evolution.

I’d also like to add, before I get around to actually answering the question, that I appreciate Mr. Keane’s use of the word “accept” rather than “believe.” I often hear the question “So I guess you believe in evolution and the big bang?”, and I always make a point of correcting it. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake or misunderstanding, but many times it’s a subtle attempt to try to make it seem like a faith issue.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all of that out of the way, on to the answer:

I accept evolution because it is the best explanation that our understanding  of the natural world has for how we and all other species came to be. I accept it for the same reason that I accept gravity as an explanation of why objects are pulled to the earth, and for the same reason that I accept germ theory as an explanation of why people become sick.

We don’t have all of the answers, and it’s doubtful that we ever will – but we can collect all of our knowledge and build our best understanding with it. We’ve done it in other areas of science and medicine – areas that no one has any debate with (as long as they don’t contradict what is in their holy book).

This last part is very important, which is why I saved it for last – I am fully capable of rejecting evolution if new evidence to the contrary was discovered. My acceptance of evolution is not a religion, it’s an acceptance of reality as we best understand it.

And now, a bit of friendly advice. Please take it as that, and nothing more:

If your response to this is “Well, evolution is just a theory!”, then I strongly suggest that you investigate what a scientific theory really is – a statement like this clearly demonstrates that you don’t know the real definition of the word.

Likewise, if you feel the uncontrollable urge to respond with how the theory of evolution doesn’t explain where life came from, why there was a big bang, or something about how it defies the lasws of thermodynamics, you really need to become better informed on the subject before you embarrass yourself further. I’m not a scientist either, but I make a point of being as informed as I can be on issues that I want to discuss and debate with others.

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I am an atheist, a person who does not believe in the existence of any gods.

Many people don't know a lot about atheists, and have questions about them. In this blog, I do my best to answer them, to help build an understanding between atheists and theists.

Do you have a question? You can post it in the comments to any of my blog entries, and I will do my best to answer it in a new entry.


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