In On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin said: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." That, to me, is such an apt view of what reality is. Lots of people feel it is a way of thinking that is illogical. All of these events just happened to occur that lead to the creation of everything and it's ridiculous to think that it would be possible for all of the mistakes needed to create life in the scientific model of the universe could actually occur. It is much more rational, in their opinion, to maintain traditional beliefs consistent with their geographic location. It's comfortable, which makes it right in some way.
There are lots of unlikely circumstances that have to occur in the scientific model in order to create and sustain life, however, given what we know about probabilities, it was bound to happen. No matter how small of a chance there might be for something to occur, given enough time, it WILL happen. It seems that religious people, set on disproving evolution and the Big Bang, look at science the same way they look at their own religion and beliefs. They pick and choose what suits them and don't think about anything beyond what they believe proves their point(s). The Miller–Urey experiment in 1952, the first, and probably most simple, proved, within a week, that creating organic material the way it was thought to have occurred in the scientific model, was indeed possible, yet being able to create living material from pretty much nothing obviously wasn't good enough. They created slime, but even 100 years after Darwin's proposal, people didn't feel they had enough proof to agree with evolution, nor did they bother to imagine the connection between the two, so they continued to believe in something else there's no proof of instead. Something like 99% of all species that ever existed have become extinct. That's "God's" perfection at work? I think not. I see it as evidence against a supreme being as well as making me feel extremely fortunate to be a part of the evolutionary 1%.
Richard Dawkins said: "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.” The fact that we know, understand, and have the ability to manipulate so many things in our universe is one of the amazing things science has to offer. Taking the Bible's word for it just doesn't make any sense to me anymore and I find more excitement and awe for things in the universe than I ever did with the mythology of any religion. The fact that our brains have evolved enough not only to use the scientific method to discover new things, but also that we create better tools everyday to improve our powers of observation is amazing to me. We have an incredible ability to solve problems as well as an unquenchable desire to do so. What's even more amazing to me is that the scientific process was invented and used millions of years ago. Our ancestors made observations, tested their theories about those observations and put them into practice. When they were wrong, they modified their findings. The fact that we're here and evolved so far, so fast is proof of that, I think.
I recently had a "scientific" experience, if you will. There are some videos made by MelodySheep (I'm sure you've heard of the Symphony of Science series on YouTube) that I thoroughly enjoy. The feeling I get when I watch them in conjunction with contemplation of our blip of an existence is exactly the same feeling I used to get in church contemplating god and singing with the congregation. I had the tears and the feeling of awe and, without anyone else being there, a feeling of deep connection that I never felt as a christian. Without realizing it, I was conducting my own experiment. I proved, to myself at least, that it is a reaction in the brain and a release of chemicals in the body that give us that feeling of "the Holy Spirit" and music, I suspect, is the catalyst.
You can find the same thing at a concert, for example. Look at Woodstock in '69. That would be a prime example of music creating solidarity among the participants. Music, another of the things I feel amazement toward, has awesome power with humans because it is another base need for us. Music evolved, many theorize, as the earth became more and more populated and establishing a territory became more and more important. In order to avoid unnecessary confrontation, it became important to advertise where a particular animal had declared its home. Territorial sounds evolved into shows of strength, health and solidarity long before the first ape stood upright on a regular basis. Siamang gibbons are a great example of that fact. They have a rhythm, parts for specific members of their family group, solos; basically a stripped down version of human music, and strong evidence supporting the early evolution of music definitely exists. I think it's amazing that music is so deeply rooted in our genes and that it has had, and continues to have a great effect on us in many ways everyday, sometimes without us even knowing it. Reacting to music is, indeed, one of our animal instincts.
Science seeks to connect us, whereas religion seeks to separate us. Within the Bible, there are so many instances where "God" points out all the ways that we're different and how to react to those differences, most often, in a violent way. Religion, in any form, creates and defines its bubble, and anyone outside the bubble who is not interested in seeing things their way and being brought into the bubble are seen as unclean or sinners or infidels and unworthy of the goodness of their god. I find wonder in the fact that no matter where you look, science is trying to make connections with all things in our universe. Unified theory, the fact that all human ancestors came from Africa, and the Tree of Life are just a few of the major focuses of science these days. No religion will ever seek to connect humankind or, indeed, all life on Earth in this way. It's amazing to me that all these religions claim to be loving and accepting and peaceful, yet it is science, and not religion, that tends to be truly all-inclusive. Knowing that we are, undoubtedly, all connected, it makes it even more incomprehensible that humans should treat each other in any but the best possible way. The connection I feel toward my fellow human became so much more pronounced when I finally let go of all of the myths.
I'll leave you with my favorite and, in my mind, the most poetic quote on the beauty that can be found in the universe without a god:
“Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.” ~Neil DeGrasse Tyson