Wednesday, January 04, 2006                                                                                       View Comments

God is a product of evolution


If you believe in evolution you have to say, "Thank God for Darwin." And you also have to say, "Thank Darwin for God." Or at least thank the Darwinian evolution.

It's our biology that gives us a long childhood. And our long childhood gives us time to learn all the things we need to know to survive in this world. If we didn't learn them, we wouldn't survive. We learn what to eat and what not to eat, to play in the yard and not in the street, things like that. We learn by experience and by trusting the experiences of others.

We learn to learn. We learn to look for meaning and evidence, to ask questions. We learn that our parents know the answers to our questions -- all the questions we know how to ask when we are young. In fact, we learn that there is always an answer. All we have to do is to find out who knows it.

But when we get past the toddler stage, we learn that there are questions that even our parents don't have the answers to. And some of those questions are the big ones. You know, like where did we come from, stuff like that. And some are little, like where does chocolate come from.

And some are fuzzy, often we call them moral questions, like the difference between right and wrong. And there are questions we can't know the answer to, like how does an owl think and what does he think about? And even some that are beyond the capacity of our brains to comprehend. No matter, we grew up learning that there is always an answer, but who, we may ask, can answer the hard questions, and where is he so I can ask and learn? Well, it's someone somewhere.

Difficult questions need not be idle questions; they may be matters of life and death. Or so they can seem. Our desire for certainty, even for absolute knowledge, is built into us just as surely as our brains are. And the anxiety of not knowing -- about what's around the corner, about imminent danger, about the threats of the weather -- has led us to fashion answers and a source of those answers.

That source can be speculation and guessing, it can be divining by looking at chicken entrails, questing like a pilgrim monk or creating a being that knows everything. Yes, a god.

And all of this happens because it's the way we have learned to survive. If we didn't do it, we wouldn't survive as a species. It's the essence of natural selection. Yes, God is a product of evolution.

Whoever said that if gods didn't exist man would have to invent them was right. Because that is just what happened. And what could be better. We can make our gods omnipotent, able to do anything and everything. We can make our gods omnipresent, always there to answer our questions. We can make them omniscient, knowing everything, even things we don't know and can't know. We can make our gods any thing and any way we like.

And that's exactly what we do. I call that intelligent design.