Why I Love Evolution: An Introduction
Having just taken on the post of Evolution Correspondent here at The Faster Times, it seems fitting that I begin with a justification for this column’s existence.
Evolution is life’s central theme, and, as such, it has maintained a preeminent standing in the human mind; it holds our attention more than any other science. Even the earth’s surrounding cosmos in all of its complexity, though assuredly fascinating, is often no more than a transient curiosity to those of us not actively employed in the field of astronomy or otherwise engaged in the labors of the physical sciences.
As it happens, astronomy is neglected as a casual social topic for precisely the same reason that biological evolution is embraced. Although both sciences are formally approached through the tenets of systematic inquiry, and informally admired for their ephemeral beauty, evolution – unlike astronomy – holds in its grasp ideas key to finding our place – our human place – in the larger scheme of things. Said differently, even supernovas are eclipsed by the human ego. Whereas the scale and inorganic composition of the stars may preclude many of us from connecting to them on personal and philosophical levels, we all have opinions on the questions of biological origin, design and purpose. How did we get here? Where do we fit in nature? Where are we heading? These are the questions we strive daily to fit into our senses of self, our morals and our politics.
Sex, lust, sympathy, altruism, familial bonding and the rise of human consciousness are but a minute sampling of the myriad of human-centric issues that can be interpreted and better understood through biological evolution. And this says nothing as to the magnificence of nature apart from humankind; from bacteria to elephants, evolution speaks volumes. It explains why the grass is green, how viruses infect, how bats see with their ears, and why cheetahs hunt. Oak trees, tyrannosaurs and humans – evolution explains it all.
As an ecologist, the interpretation of the natural world is a prerequisite of my profession; however my fervor for the subject arises not out of necessity, rather it is born of an innate curiosity that is compounded by a heartfelt awe of nature’s splendor. Nonetheless be forewarned, though evolution is a truly passion-felt study I am not a writer by trade, and evolution’s life and death struggles are sometimes difficult to accurately convey in words. This is why I encourage you all to send suggestions, comments, criticisms, or personal insults deemed appropriate. Critiques can be included here as comments, or sent to me via email; a response will be returned for each in a reasonable amount of time.
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