There seems to be a constant debate on whether or not evolution is real. Did people evolve from more primitive life forms or was there a creative designer? I’m not particularly interested in that question for one main reason, “What does it matter?” People that believe in God would continue to behave the same way. If you had proof that there was an intelligent designer, you would at least have proof that there was a God. So, I guess that piece of information might change how atheists behave. That is provided that we also learned exactly what that intelligent designer wanted of us. I would argue that even if we could prove the existence of an intelligent designer, we wouldn’t necessarily be able to prove what that designer wanted of us.
Since the answer to the question of evolution or intelligent designer is not one that I feel changes the way that people would live, I would like to move onto a variation of the question. Let’s leave out the intelligent designer option since that seems to provide little change in how people behave. People that believe in an intelligent designer won’t change their behavior and atheists might now believe in a God like they believe in a kangaroo, meaning they acknowledge that they are both real. It doesn’t mean they’ll change the way they live their lives dramatically. So, let’s just look at the first part of the question. Did humans evolve? Are we still evolving? That’s the question that is most interesting to me.
I would argue that people are still evolving. I believe that we evolve as a society. That is something that we can prove because it happens in a timescale that we can observe more easily. We can ask our grandparents what life was like when they were kids and they will have a different experience then our parents or us or, especially our kids. We have reached a time where the fundamental paradigm of how we interact with each other and the world around us has changed. Whether for the better or worse is up to you. Just think about how our grandparents used to write letters and gather around to listen to the radio. In just a few generations we added telephones, radios, televisions, the internet and finally mobile phones and mobile internet. We no longer need to wait days or weeks for a letter to get to a loved one and an answer to return via the mail. We can send a text, an email or a Twitter message and have an answer in a matter of seconds.
Communication isn’t the only thing that has changed. Information that used to chug across the country via train or sit locked in libraries now flows like water. You can research anything you want online in a matter of seconds. Do you want to study something much bigger? Big data is here and it’s allowing us to study millions of data points with a fraction of the effort that thousands of data points used to take.
The point is that people have evolved in such a way that people a hundred years ago would look at us in shock. They wouldn’t even be able to guess at our behavior in many situations because they don’t have the right context to understand us. On a smaller scale, that happens every generation now as our evolution as a people accelerates. So, we have to be willing to embrace change and rethink everything we do. What worked before probably doesn’t work as well now and won’t be the way it will work in the future. Don’t get set in your ways. The days when you could shrug off what “the kids are doing these days” are gone. By the time you retire society will have evolved to far for you to comfortably exist in it if you don’t move with the flow.