This is the last week of posts on the Mass Effect Trilogy. All this week we’re breaking down the epic finale in Mass Effect 3. This is perhaps the closest a review on this site has been written to the release of a game, so expect serious SPOILERS. Today we’re returning to a conversation about evolution when we look at the science-loving Salarians.
We’ve already discussed the Salarians’ scientific manipulation of the Krogans and this post will look a little closer at the Salarians and how they think. The Salarians are known for their scientific prowess across the galaxy. The Turians turned to them to develop the genophage and indeed it was the Salarians who “uplifted” the Krogans and advanced their race in the first place. In fact, the Salarians have made a habit of manipulating the progress of different species for various reasons. In the Mass Effect 3 mission on the Salarian homeworld, you battle through a science facility and learn a lot more about what they have going on. They use their advanced science skills to study various creatures and determine how they can be best utilized, or even if they are worthy to be “uplifted” (that is, to be artificially advanced along their evolutionary lines).
It seemed before as if the Salarians did this “uplifting” one time with the Krogans as a desperate measure to defeat the Rachni. As it turns out, they do this all the time. The facility where this mission takes place is a zoo/lab where the Salarians are working on the next hot organic item to use for their purposes. Gathering all these strange creatures together just to manipulate them, grow them, and then use them to do battle sounds kinda crazy. Actually, it sounds kinda like…
The Salarians are Pokemon trainers! I guess they decided to forget about respecting the natural order of things in favor of collecting one of everything, sticking them in uncomfortably small containers and using them for whatever they want. Perhaps comparing the Salarians to Pokemon trainers is a bit of a stretch since the Salarians seem to be attempting to do serious, scientific work for the good of the galaxy, but the comparison is still hilarious.
All of their manipulation and study of various species seem to come from a deep desire to understand the universe in general, and evolution specifically. They even seem to have gone beyond the study of evolution to the ability to direct it. As has been stated before, this puts them in the category of “playing god” in the galactic sandbox. However, even the existence of this science facility in ME:3 shows that they there are still plenty of things they don’t understand.
A very profound insight comes from talking to Padok Wiks about his work when you encounter him on this level. He states that after all his work trying to study and understand evolution, he wants change his focus from manipulating species at the Pokemon Lab to understanding the “underlying principle” driving evolution. Well isn’t that interesting. All this work devoted to a theory of how life comes about in the universe and his conclusion is that there’s something else underneath that theory that seems to be guiding the course of life.
This illustrates one path from an evolutionary view of live to a creationist view. Evolution does a great job of providing one possible explanation of how life works. It does not, however, answer the question of why. If you follow evolutionary thinking to it’s extreme, you see that our very existence is dependent on chance and it leads to plenty more questions.
We evolved from lesser animals. Those animals evolved from lower lifeforms. Those lifeforms just happened to come about through progressively more complex adaptations. The Earth itself became a suitable environment for life by chance. The debris and particles that formed Earth first came together through cosmic coincidence after the Big Bang. The Big Bang is what set everything off in the first place. So…what happened before the Big Bang? If that was the start of everything, was the universe just empty? So are we to believe that all life and matter originated from a single entity? Somehow when you follow evolution back to it’s logical origin, you get something that sounds awfully similar to monotheism. Interesting.
Perhaps that is what Padok Wiks realized would be the logical explanation for all life. Or maybe the “underlying principle” really is an intelligent creator. (Within the story he’s likely referring to the bigger reveal at the end of the game, but we’ll get to that in another post.) His scientific inquiry led him to something beyond measurable science. How often does that happen in our scientific pursuits? If science is truly curious about all possible explanations, why does a single, intelligent creator get dismissed as religious nonsense so easily?
Paul reasoned for faith in God in Acts 17 by quoting a secular source when he said, “In him we live and move and have our being.” If God is real, then his truth will penetrate even our feeble human attempts to explain life apart from him. An honest and open pursuit of science will lead to the “underlying principle” of God’s truth.
What is your understanding of the beginning of life?
Do unanswered “big questions” drive you towards or away from God?
How off base is my simple explanation of evolution and the origin of the universe? Please correct me.
In the next post we’ll finally tackle the dramatic and controversial ending to this final chapter of the Mass Effect trilogy.