Are We More Evolved Now?
Progressives make fun of Creationists such as Ken Ham for their silly pseudoscientific models of how the world works. If we look beyond the low hanging fruit, however, we might find ample evidence of sloppy thinking about science in our own midst.
This weekend, atheists are holding a convention in Memphis, Tennessee, and using the event to promote their own godless ideas about the nature of reality. One of the books being promoted by people attending the event is Discovering Our World: Humanity’s Epic Journey from Myth to Knowledge by Paul Singh and John Shook.
Singh and Shook claim to represent the side of science in a battle of “science vs. myth”. Representing science, however, the authors get off to a rocky start. They write, “Our species is already highly evolved compared to others on the planet, so much so that we have become agents of change just like the mother nature. It is becoming apparent that we are the very first species ever to evolve on this planet that will decide its own evolution.”
When I read passages like this, I fear a concussion from slapping my forehead over and over again before I reach the end of the book.
Are humans more evolved than other species of life on Earth? This is one of the first ideas that’s debunked in a good introductory biology course. Evidence suggests that all life on Earth shares a single common ancestor. Therefore, all life on Earth has been evolving for the same amount of time.
To say that humans more “highly evolved” than other forms of life on Earth is to suggest that evolution is a unidirectional process with a set purpose: To grow taller in some way. Giraffes beat us in this race in a literal sense, and other forms of life do some amazing things as well. Are we more highly evolved than a mantis shrimp, or an arctic tern, or a sequoia tree? Evolution is adaptation, and life on Earth shows us that adaptation can go in many differently successful directions. It’s not about a simple race to reach upwards.
When Singh and Shook write that humanity will be the first species to decide its own evolution, they make another cringe-worthy assault on basic scientific principles: Claiming to know what will happen in the future. We can’t know how our species will evolve until it actually evolves.
Are Singh and Shook correct in saying that humans will decide how we evolve? I doubt it. There are billions of us, for one thing, and I don’t see how all of us could reach consensus on how to evolve as a species. It’s likely that manipulation of some people’s genetics will influence human evolution, but this won’t be a simple decision of how to evolve. It’s important to remember that evolution takes place through natural selection, and selective influences from nature are difficult to predict. Until humanity controls everything in the entire universe, we won’t have the power to choose how to evolve.
Singh and Shook claim to be leading us away from myth, but their writing is filled with mythmaking. Atheists, as human beings, are just as mythbound as everyone else – and prime among their myths is the idea that they have outgrown mythological thinking.
Good scientists know that we are all prone to error. That’s why they have other people check their work. I wish that Discovering Our World: Humanity’s Epic Journey from Myth to Knowledge had been more adequately checked.