All things bright and evolved

Evolution Made Us All from Ben Hillman on Vimeo.

Totally awesome. Via BoingBoing.

Comments

  1. #1 Ralph
    February 6, 2011

    Great video!

    As a lifelong student of biology, even now, at age 59, I still find the idea that “evolution made us all” pretty amazing.

    I can’t really say I blame people who are skeptical. It’s genuinely hard to believe — mainly, I guess, because we don’t see self-organization developing and advancing much in our daily life.

    People hear us say, “Well, the universe we see is very far from the stable, smoothed-out condition that we think it will eventually reach. Starting from such a very non-random situation, and under the constraints of some complex laws of nature, wonderful things have happened, and will continue to happen, as the wound-up spring of our universe winds down.”

    And then we have to admit: “No, we can’t explain how the spring got wound up. We have some ideas, but nothing we can prove.”

    Then comes the really disturbing part: “We have found no evidence to support a theory that God or gods played a part in how our universe got to be the way it is.”

    Nevertheless, the set of stories and explanations we call “evolution” is what I personally agree with, because it’s the best explanation I know of for what we observe in our world.

    All the same, I can easily understand that our best scientific explanations might sound very unsatisfying to a lot of people. Though I can’t blame many of us for feeling that way. I can only ask the skeptics to examine such questions with an open mind, and with a bias in favor of observed facts rather than untestable beliefs.

  2. #2 Lorax
    February 7, 2011

    @ralph

    I wonder if people (in the US anyway) are ‘skeptical’ of evolution and common descent because the vast majority are taught a fundamentally different story at their mother’s knee. This story is instilled over and over and a philosophical view point the is the antithesis to scientific thinking is given to children. I bet if we introduced biology early and these ideas (at an age appropriate level), the next generation of adults would not find evolution “hard to believe’.

  3. #3 Ralph
    February 7, 2011

    @lorax, but that’s my point: it really is “hard to believe,” in the sense that it’s hard to believe that the sun in 93 million miles away, that our airplanes fly 7 miles above the earth packed with 150 humans, that tadpoles become frogs, and that algae sank to the bottom of ancient oceans and turned into the liquid we use to make gasoline.

    If those things aren’t “hard to believe,” I don’t know what would be. Because we have a great deal of evidence to prove all of them, I think we sometimes forget just how astounding they are. And for that reason I sympathize with those who doubt evolution. It’s a pretty outlandish story!

    That said, most professional anti-evolutionists probably have no such sense of wonder. They are simply liars and fanatics supporting a nasty line of untruth. I don’t sympathize with them at all. It’s their uneducated audience with whom I try to feel some kinship.

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