This I Believe

Filadelfo - Atlanta, Georgia
Entered on April 30, 2007
Age Group: 65+
Themes: science

? The writings of Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris, as well as earlier readings

of Charles Darwin have had the most influence on my thinking; they crystallized my thoughts on

life and the world around me. The continuing debate – to me senseless – over evolution and

intelligent design has inspired me to compose the following.

I believe in evolution, that it is even now happening — witness the rapid mutations of

pathogenic bacteria and viruses which medical science is hard put to keep up with – and that, so

long as there is a source of energy, evolution will go on inexorably until all life is extinct and our

solar system is no more. As we continue to evolve, there will come a time when earth’s

population will have a preponderance of humans endowed with exquisitely developed, no longer

lopsided, brains with capabilities we can only dream of today; once in a while we have tantalizing

glimpses of possibilities: mutants, some we call idiot savants, who can perform spectacular feats

with no evident previous training, like prowess with numbers, piano playing toddlers with perfect

musical pitch, a ten-year old scoring 800 in the SATs, a teenager earning a Ph.D. Among these

gifted people some will be able to unravel most of our world’s remaining mysteries, to conquer

disease, to solve all manner of societal problems, to finally end the need to create god or gods as

emotional or spiritual crutches. Religion as we know it will most likely be no more than a shadow

of its former self or be gone altogether, and the humanist manifesto will be the universal creed,

and we will at long last be rid of that single most divisive invention of humanity in the name of

which evil has been done so cheerfully and willingly. Even though we now have nuclear weapons,

whose proliferation we can’t seem to control, dangling over us like Damocles’s sword, I still

believe we will be spared that Armageddon, envisioned by Christians as a signal of Christ’s

second coming and by Muslims as the fruition of their fervent desire to be rid of all nonbelievers,

paving the way to their own ascent to paradise – I believe this for the simple reason that good

ideas eventually trump bad ones. Thus, the practice of human sacrifice to propitiate that god in the

sky died out; the Inquisition set up to purge “sinners” is now history; and the condemnation of

Galileo for daring to use reason forbidden by authority (a dogma even the Great Protester Martin

Luther endorsed in his dictum that the greatest enemy of religion is reason) has remained an

embarrassment to the Christian Church; these are but a few egregious examples. This I believe

with no tinge of doubt.