Musings on Darwin

Throughout history, a lucky few people have been in the right place, at the right time, with enough intelligence to connect the dots in the world around them. Darwin was one of these people. In Darwin’s time, some naturalists were already thinking about how the diversity of life came to be, but hadn’t quite solidified their ideas. On his famous Beagle journeys, Darwin simply applied critical thinking to explain observations of nature, such as the abundance of finch forms.
The idea of natural selection was a great contribution to the understanding of the world around us, but Darwin’s efforts aren’t much different than those of other scientific thinkers. Why then, are Darwin’s ideas so contentious while the others are taken as fact? What about biology makes it so much more scary than the other sciences? I see two reasons for the contention: the desire to distance humans from nature and the desire for simple explanations of nature. Fortunately, nature isn’t simple. Wouldn’t it be boring if it was?
To be frank, I just do not understand how evolution contradicts belief in god. If anything, a believer should be glad whenever we glean a little knowledge about  the workings of nature. If god created life, shouldn’t we strive to understand it in all of its manifestations and to preserve it for future generations? Any god worth believing in would have created evolution to ensure continuity of life in the face of changing environments. Natural selection just makes sense. After all, it’s natural selection that brought us love (and religion).
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Anastasia is Policy Director of Biology Fortified, Inc. and the Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. She has a PhD in genetics with a minor in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. Her favorite produce is artichokes!