Science is Evolution in Action


There’s a line of thought among some of the COVID-19 conspiracy or anti-mask crowds running like this: do nothing and let people get sick. It’s how evolution works; the strong will survive, and humanity will be better for it. Besides, things aren’t as bad as [the government / the media / the liberals / the fraidy-cats] makes it out to be, anyway.

There’s a lot wrong with that thinking I won’t get into.

My point is more fundamental: it doesn’t have to be that way. Evolution can do better, and is, in fact, doing so right now. You can watch if you want to see it, and know where to look.

But you might also want to help.

Science is evolution.

Perhaps more clearly: science is the result of evolution.

Humanity has grown and flourished as a species due to the development and application of scientific principles since before the words were coined, or perhaps before words even existed.

What is fire, but science? The cavemen that invented it, used it, and incorporated it into their lives had more options to live stronger, healthier, longer lives. Be it for heating (freezing to death less often), or cooking (less food-borne disease), or any number of other applications, the science of fire made humans stronger.

And the strong — in comparison to their non-fire-wielding peers — were more likely to survive.

Humans evolved to create and use science, and it made them stronger.

It remains true today.

Consider medicine: eliminating certain diseases or dramatically reducing the impacts of what in the past would have been life threatening illnesses and injury. Or agriculture, where we’re able to grow more and healthier food than ever before. Or transportation: allowing individuals greater access to health care, foodstuffs, or even each other.

Science, and the evolution it represents, marches on. While certainly not always for the better (we’re also more effective at killing each other than ever before), it’s safe to say the overall trend has been positive: we’ve continued to evolve through the use of science to live longer, stronger, healthier lives.

“Evolution in action” is happening today.

There are those who deny the (by now overwhelming) science of our current pandemic, who deny the steps needing to be taken to curtail it, and/or who prioritize their individual lifestyles over the steps required to bring it all under control.

They, too, are a part of scientific evolution. In caveman terms, they’re the folks who thought fire was a someone’s plot, and no one was going to tell them how to cook (er … not cook) their food.

We are all likely the children of the pro-fire group; the ones who lived longer, healthier lives than their fire-denying neighbors.

When it comes to the current pandemic, those who follow the science will wear masks, take appropriate precautions, and take steps to avoid the virus.

Those who do not, will not — even belligerently so in some cases.

We might expect the same result. More of those who follow the science will stay healthy and survive to live longer than their science-denying neighbors.

There’s a complicating factor, though.

Fire wasn’t contagious. COVID-19 is. And COVID-19 can impact you regardless of what you believe or deny.

It’s worth pointing out, then, one of the “steps to avoid the virus” taken by those in the first group will be to avoid the second group. That means stores refusing service to those not wearing masks. That means not patronizing establishments not taking appropriate precautions. That means not partying with the “it can’t happen to me” crowd.

Now, there are no absolutes. There’s no black and white. There’s no yes or no. There’s no “do this and live, do that and die” when it comes to this. That’s not how evolution works.

There will be sickness and death regardless of belief.

But “evolution in action” means one group will — by and large — outperform the other. One group will, on average, stay healthier, and live longer.

It’s how evolution works; the strong will survive, and humanity will be better for it.

Which group are you planning on being in?