For the longest time, I have denied the existence of a higher power. I was trained in the Scientific Method at a Big Ten University, and refused to accept the existence of anything without verifiable, empirical evidence. I studied the biological sciences, including genetics, in-depth, and even forced the evolution of fruit flies through selective breeding. I **KNEW** that Charles Darwin was on to something with his Theory of Natural Selection (that was Darwin's theory—not evolution—other scientists extrapolated Darwin's work to come up with the current, scientifically-accepted model of evolution, but nobody knows who they are, so we just refer back to Darwin because we are all too lazy to look it up).
Side note: I always thought "Natural Selection" was an unfortunate misnomer. To be completely accurate, it should have been called "Natural DE-selection", because nature does not have an active hand in picking which individuals will survive, it is really a passive system in which the slowest, dumbest, "least-fit" individuals are killed by being eaten/drowned/dehydrated/frozen/overheated/falling over a cliff before they have a chance to breed. Since they don't have any offspring, their genes are never passed on to the next generation. This way, the next generation is less likely to die by being eaten/drowned/dehydrated/frozen/overheated/falling over a cliff. Over time, the cumulative effect of the "weeding out" of less fit individuals results in a species that is best suited to survive its environment.
But there is a catch (there's always a catch, isn't there). Genes mutate. They mutate at a relatively steady rate, as long as there is no outside interference from things like poorly shielded nuclear weapons repositories. Sometimes (usually) the egg or sperm containing the mutated gene cannot even be fertilized. Sometimes, the mutations cause the resulting offspring to be non-viable and they are spontaneously aborted sometime after when the embryo is fertilized. Rarely, but frequently enough to make things interesting, the mutated gene does not cause the offsping to die, and may actually even give it a physiological advantage over its parents—stronger muscles, a larger lung capacity, a more intelligent brain (this last one is what happened to me).
This back and forth action between Natural Selection weeding out unfit genes and spontaneous mutation throwing random genes into the game is what fuels evolution. Then there's the whole issue of a dynamic environment that can, for example, cause a rainforest to become a desert and wipe out most of the life forms suited for a wet, humid enviroment. Our universe is a dynamic place, and we need to look at it not as it is now, or was 100 or 2000 years ago, but how it has been over the course of millenia.
Or so I thought.
I have discovered a group of people who have found some ancient writings that prove that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. I know, I know. You're asking what is a Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM)? Is this some kind of pasta-induced hallucination, like the Native Americans out west have in their sweat lodges or after smoking peyote? I really don't know. All I know is that Mr. Bobby Henderson of Oregon is fighting for inclusion of FSMism in science classrooms alongside discussions on evolution and intelligent design.
"I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster," he wrote. "I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country and, eventually, the world: one-third time for intelligent design, one-third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one-third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence."
This religion is growing exponentially. There is even a Jesus-fish-like car bumper plaque. This HAS to prove that he exists, and has touched many with his noodly appendage.
How can you ignore the evidence? I am convinced. Millions of dollars and countless hours of research be damned. I am now a Pastafarian.