Why do I have a Christmas tree?

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Discussion by: Ken Nardone

To me, this tree represents the Tree of Life. I look at each branch and subsequent branch as a distinct species, illustrating clear traces back to their respective common ancestors. The pines on the branches represent the millions of beautiful plants and animals currently thriving (or struggling to survive) on our precious planet, through the scientific theory of natural selection. The lights and ornaments placed on the tree remind me of human guided evolution that has been going on for centuries. The fruits of human guided evolution reap mostly everything we eat, the beautiful and fragrant flowers we grow and share, and the unconditional love we receive from our domesticated pets.

The real value of evolution is that it is the true story of our origins. Evolution is demonstrable. It is supported with crystal clear evidence by the scientific theory of natural selection. Evolution is further backed-up by the Human Genome Project, Embryology and Geology. Evolution provides the basic foundation for the biology of all life on our planet. The awe inspiring wonder of who we really are and how we really got here is, arguably, the greatest show on Earth.

Why is it, do you think, that many political and religious leaders continue to claim that evolutionary biologists and scientists promote the work of the devil? Exactly what is it are they afraid of? When others claim we should “teach the controversy”, what controversy are they referring to?

There is no scientific controversy about the evolution of life through natural selection. There is no scientific controversy about gravity. There is no scientific controversy about the fact that huge stars needed to explode to create the elements we are made of like carbon, nitrogen and iron. There is no controversy.

I hope the next time you closely examine a Christmas tree, you see the branches of life that evolved over billions of years, through natural selection. And just maybe, on one of those pines, with your eyes wide open, you see us!

Happy holidays!

14 COMMENTS

  1. Why is it, do you think, that many political and religious leaders continue to claim that evolutionary biologists and scientists promote the work of the devil? Exactly what is it are they afraid of? When others claim we should “teach the controversy”, what controversy are they referring to?

    Stuff in their head. Evolution contradict their view, hence, ‘controversy’, and scripture, hence ‘the devil’. It’s not worth arguing with these idiots, no more than it’s worth arguing with a child that Santa doesn’t exists (and no, I didn’t just have that discussion, I’m not a heartless monster!).

    What I see in a Christmas tree, is a whole lot of waste. Or a naturally occurring fractal structure. Depending on the mood.

    Belated merry Christmas ;)

  2. The tree is not analogous to the story of life. A tree keeps branching and therefore is not a metaphor for evolution. Evolution also happens through symbiosis. Two separate life forms unite to form a new organism. Algae and fungi united to form lichen. The various components of the eukaryote cell were once separate prokaryote organisms which united. We can find bacteria that are like the mitochondria in our cells. Evolution is not only a process of branching, but it is also a process of coming together. The development of life cannot be shown by just a tree. It is a network with branches fusing to one another.

  3. To answer the question of “why do I have a Christmas tree?” I must admit I don’t feel I have to probe too deeply into it. The tree used to be a pagan symbol/decoration which was then later adopted by Christians as a symbol/decoration for their own purposes. While it still remains that for many, for many others it has simply become a secular decoration bereft of any religious meaning. That is how I view it.

  4. I never kill trees, plants or flowers to celebrate any re-branded pagan celebrations. 25 years ago my wife, son & I dressed up our indoor Ficus bush with a bit of decoration, but even then we kept the gift orgy & wrappings down to an ethically decent level.

    I personally object to all the ego-stroking, ‘keep up with the Joneses’ commercialism, world-wide multi-billion dollar industries, trillions of watts powering fancy light shows, plus the killing of billions of oxygen-producing plants – which use up land better used for other products – which then create huge recycling issues & pollution after a very short use.

    I got a few presents this year, a couple of good books, some food, cookies &, best of all, a card confirming a donation to a much-needed secular charity to help children in poor places.

    I contemplate the magic of reality during the Winter Solstice, ignore all the supernatural myths until I bring in the New Year with good friends, some liquid cheer & best wishes for a better future to come…. Mac.

  5. Quite a nice little piece Ken. I appreciate the symbolism of the Christmas tree that inspired you to muse on evolution and our origins. The real picture of that evolution reveals is more amazing than any belief system. A happy and further enlightened New Year.

  6. I have a Christmas tree because it’s a tradition, because I like the look of a decorated Christmas tree in among other festive decorations at Christmas time, because I like the smell of pine, because it contributes to a festive environment and atmosphere that makes me and my family feel happy.

    I could try to attach all sorts of non-religious or scientific symbolism to it in an attempt to reclaim some kind of ground perceived to have been ‘taken’ by Christianity, but I don’t need to, because It’s just a tree, it’s just a decoration, a bit of frivolity in a world otherwise ruled by energy bills and car insurance and the weekly shop and ironing next weeks work clothes only to get them soaked on the way into work.

    I don’t need to start a quasi-religion to justify having a Christmas tree.

    However I may need to justify participating in the annual mass deforestation of pine trees if the other comments on this thread are anything to go by. Then again, I also eat meat, and I certainly don’t recycle as much as I should. Ain’t cognitive dissonance a funny thing?

  7. To me Christmas is a day of immense sadness. We don’t know what Jesus intended or even if he existed. However, the movement using his name produced the Dark Ages, the Inquisition, wars of religion, intolerance, hostility to science and millions of non-Christian martyrs including those of the Holocaust. I have nothing against the solstice celebration the tree was originally meant to commemorate,but the havoc wreaked by Christianity makes me loathe to displaying any form of festive decoration at this season. At this time a great environmental problem is uncontrolled population growth. Christianity blocks attempts to deal with it.

  8. I don’t understand how this explains why you put up a tree at Christmas. Why not in summer if all you want is to be reminded of the branches of the tree of life? Even better, why not go for a walk outside? There are plenty of trees out there.

    Have you ever heard the song ‘The Deck of Cards’ by Tex Ritter? Just wondered.

  9. I see a “Christmas Tree” as a fully “Embellished” product of a religious organization that actually disapproves of such an ornament of adoration. Jeremiah 10: 3-4; For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold, they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    I prefer to think of the “Pine Tree” with its’ natural beauty and fresh fragrance, without the “Embellishments” (Decorations) of the “Christmas Tree.” In other words, I totally agree with you Mr. Ken Nardone. ;-)

  10. Hi Ken, hi everybody. I’m Italian, so I apologise for my bad English. I like what you said. I watched three times the video in which Richard Dawkins had a “dialogue” with that unpleasant woman who went on saying always the same thing “Teach the controversy”. I really got nauseated by her!
    Happy New Year and “viva la scienza!”

  11. I always put a tree up when my son was young. It gave me something to put the Santa presents under. I let him believe the whole Santa myth. I feel it teaches you can believe something wholeheartedly but when you get older and reason it out you realise what nonsense it is, just like the god/gods myth. I still put from Santa on some of the Christmas gifts I give but also put Saturn, the Tooth Fairy, the Pink Unicorn, Jesus and any other mythical creature I think of.

  12. Yes its simply because you keep the old tradition going! Older religions than the jesus freaks believed we had to keep the green trees alive though winter so the would return in spring. Some used Holly bush branches and the like which is evergreen! The sitca spruce is just a modern plant that is fast growing to turn profits faster!!
    Its nothing to do with christians really but one of the many things they kidnap to bring you into their way of thinking( or not “thinking” ), along with lots of other things.
    Most sheeple do not understand these things and are happy to just follow.

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