August 6, Shit Happens (a meditation)
Mutation and selection send new species on their way;
Which means we’re all the product of mistakes in DNA.
Prokaryotes, eukaryotes, and all the way to man,
We’re all the products of mistakes since life on Earth began.
And then there’s the environment, like water or the shore,
Or hot or cold, or change in what was optimal before.
The changes cause selection, or they test the new mistakes.
Do some increase survival? (Most mistakes put on the brakes.)
These changes may come randomly, like strikes by asteroids.
(Without the strike at Chicxulub, perhaps no anthropoids.) (1)
The end of the Cretaceous, the Age of the Dinosaur,
Thus paved the way to mammals, as the fossils underscore.
If God created everything, did he use randomness?
No purpose, plan, direction, guiding hand, divine finesse?
From, “Let there be….” just let it roll and leave Earth on its own?
That is the seed of doubt that Charlie Darwin’s books have sown.
For, if God worked through randomness, as evidence suggests,
Then, is God necessary? Great discomfort manifests.
If, for example, some mutation makes a person sick,
Like cancer, “What’s the use of prayer?”, inquires the heretic.
Did we get here just by, “shit happens?” Just an accident?
That seems to be what science says, religious folks lament.
So, where does that leave faith? Let’s try faith in the human brain,
For that might be what keeps mankind from circling the drain.
Mutation and selection don’t prove there’s no deity
They do show that life speciates by serendipity.
The Big Bang and the start of life itself remain unsolved.
But, mysteries remaining don’t mean God(s) must be involved.
- A huge asteroid hit Earth about 66 million years ago, right near the Yucatan. It caused such a “nuclear winter” that essentially none of the dinosaurs survived, making way for small, furry creatures that evolved into modern mammals, including us. As Casey Stengel used to say, “You could look it up.”