This I Believe

Zac - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on February 6, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: science
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I believe in science. I believe in using our brains that were molded through natural selection. These lumps of organic material have given us the ability to survive and thrive among millions of species on this planet. As our brains evolved, we grew able to reason and very adeptly live and flourish in our environment.

At some incredible point in our human history, we started explaining natural and unnatural phenomenon with reasons that did not include a magic creator. The more knowledge we had, the farther from this idea we got. We don’t need to explain lightning as bolts thrown by Zeus, we can prove how and why they form in a way that fits with explanations for other phenomena.

Minds like Plato, Newton, Galileo, Descartes, and others gave us reasons for belief instead of just faith. These men were religious, but only because they were raised in an environment where those who weren’t were hanged or stoned to death. Their beliefs in how the physical world worked could be proven and demonstrated by using a repeatable set of actions that others could easily perform. Don’t believe gravity accelerates objects at 9.8 m/s/s toward the Earth? Set up an inclined plane and reproduce Galileo’s experiment.

I believe we are extremely special. All of our searching in the cosmos has resulted in very little information regarding possible life other than our own. Our planet is just the right tilt, just the right distance from the sun, and just the right composition for us to be here. While walking home one day from school as a little boy, I wondered if that meant we were created. I thought about this for hours upon hours and came up with an explanation that serves me today: If our planet weren’t just the right everything to support life, how would I be able to reason about those things? I wouldn’t exist and some other being on some other planet would have just the right combination of factors to write a “This I Believe” essay to an alien version of NPR.

I believe we can improve our lives by devoting ourselves to science. Doctors, engineers, researchers, and teachers use knowledge to help us live longer and have a higher quality of life. And because of technological innovations like the internet, their knowledge is everyone’s knowledge.

I am an engineer and I believe I can make people’s lives better by using the knowledge I have. Like the great minds before me, I will never let God serve as an excuse to accept certain things are beyond my understanding.