We made this

You know that thing when after you’ve had an argument and walked away from it, you suddenly realise what you should have said in the argument?

The longest interval for that with me was about two years.

During my more experimental student days I went to a debate group about the existence of god. I was young and foolish and wanted the free food, and it wasn’t run by the society whose name I dare not speak lest I summon by their attention (I think it was run by the Islam society).

It was not a very deep level of discussion, but one argument stuck in my memory, mostly because of how bad I thought it was.

Among the free food we had were strawberries. A woman at the event cited the perfect strawberry she was holding as evidence of the divine. Look at how great it is: It’s large, attractive, juicy, and delicious. How could it not have been made for us? Isn’t its perfection evidence of a designer?

At the time I dismissed this as an obviously silly argument and didn’t take much notice of it, which is why it took me so long to realise that she was entirely and completely correct.

The beautiful strawberry she was holding was designed. A higher power crafted it and made the strawberry, shaping it to be pleasing to the eye and the mouth. Mere chance, or even an unguided evolution, could not and would not have produced such a thing.

That higher power? That was us. We worked really hard at it. Thanks for noticing.

I don’t know if you’ve ever encountered a wild strawberry, but it’s a tiny dry berry smaller than my little fingernail. It’s pretty delicious, but it’s neither attractive nor large, and it’s certainly not juicy.

We spent about 700 years taking those wild strawberries and shaping them into the one she was holding. Mere chance didn’t create it, we did.

It doesn’t stop at strawberries. Almost everything we eat is of our creation, vastly different from any wild ancestor.

The land too, is mostly of our creation. The rolling hills and green pastures we think of as untouched wilderness are mostly the result of a history of cultivation and deforestation.

England, the land which I mostly call home, is generally an extremely benign environment. That’s because we killed everything that threatened us and destroyed the habitat of much of the rest.

We’ve spent most of, depending on how you count and what you consider to be “us”, the last 10 to 100 thousand years shaping the world according to our desires.

Our desires aren’t always very sensible, and we’re often really bad at accommodating them in a way we won’t regret later, but the fact remains that the world we live in is in fact mere thousands of years old, and was intelligently designed.

We worked really hard at it. Thanks for noticing.

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