This I Believe

Glen - La Jolla, CA 92037, California
Entered on April 17, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: science

I believe in evolution. It is the force that has created the world as we know it, and will continue to shape us for the better. Evolution is at work now and will be for all time. As is the past evolution will inexorably create a better human race, and eventually create a world of peaceful and compassionate people.

As a little boy in Catholic school I was awed by the idea of the Garden of Eden and how perfect life would have been. How I yearned to experience such paradise! As an adult I now see that same garden shining as a light in the future of our planet.

Since life first began on earth evolution has been driven by the physical survival of species and sub-species; a battle which has now become largely irrelevant. But that does not mean evolution has become irrelevant. Instead humans have changed evolution itself into a battle of ideas and concepts, values, paradigms and visions of how the world should be. These personal viewpoints are fighting for their places just as plants and animals have for millions of years. Conversations, books, media, and now websites generate a whirlwind of conflicting ideas just as a hurricane would stir up an ecosystem. I believe the better idea will obsolete the poorer one, whether it is in the field of engineering, economics, medicine, politics, or religion.

It may seem that this battle of ideas moves slowly, but it does make leaps forward. Women’s rights, civil rights, unions, suffrage, and social security are all examples of ideas that have surfaced, and sometimes triumphed in short order. And these ideas will have to weather the attacks on them by newer ideas and re-incarnations of previously discarded views.

Why is it that while we find ourselves marveling at the progress made in the past centuries we do not see this same progress as a harbinger of great things to come? Evolution has always been a beautiful creative process pushed along by death and extinction. I believe our minds are still too small to grasp the evolutionary context of the crisis, wars and famines that we face today. Evolution is not linear or fair. My joy at watching Martin Luther King’s speech in Washington on TV was later followed by the horror of his assassination. But his ideas have triumphed nonetheless, and will give rise to even better concepts of humanity.

It is natural that we wish for overnight success. Normal human emotions cloud the landscape of where we’ve come from, which in turns obscures where we are going. It will not happen tomorrow, but I believe human greatness is just beginning and a paradise on earth will happen over time. The very nature of evolution ensures that it will happen.