From a letter to my father:
More on this later, but a couple of quick things here. (okay, ended up being both more and later, not so quick and not just a couple 8D) You asked what was the evidence that I considered in coming to accept evolution as part of the creation process. This is kind of a basic overview of how I got there; I don’t remember the specific places I read different things.
I had a vague, conscious cognitive dissonance for quite a long time, wherein I believed what I’d always been told about YEC (young earth creationism), but had a secondary nebulous belief in an ancient earth and the idea of evolution – dinosaurs and cavemen and so on. In the beginning I think it was just because I liked the idea, I thought it was cool; also, what I learned even from creationists about the geologic record seemed to make more sense that way. To me, a Flood, even a global one, couldn’t account for everything. I thought that these two beliefs were incompatible, and this troubled me faintly, but not enough to bother doing something about it.
The thing that first started me looking into it was when I had gotten to the point of questioning everything, which allowed ideas to occur to me which I might otherwise have resisted, and I was studying historical linguistics and language families, proto-Indo-European and other superfamilies, how different languages are related to one another, how they’ve grown and evolved over time. It was triggered by an old book I found called The History of the English Language, and the first few chapters were a detailed examination of PIE and Germanic descent therefrom. I was fascinated; it was like Tolkien’s languages, only moreso and real. This was when I began doing a really in depth examination of the work that’s been done in comparative linguistics, really heavy technical stuff so I won’t go into detail.
I realised that suddenly, I knew for certain that the Tower of Babel, if it happened, hadn’t happened the way it was written. Couldn’t have, it was not possible. It was a myth, a legend that had been exaggerated, or an allegory of some kind, but it wasn’t literal. There was no way, and there was proof in the linguistic record. These languages were organically evolved out of just a handful or even one common ancestor, every language in the history of the world if you go back far enough.
They were not artificially confused; even if God was some kind of divine conlanger, the languages themselves and the historical record of them contradicts it. That just, simply, is not what happened. This is my particular passion or obsession in the study of languages, tracing back their lineage – it’s fascinating, and obvious if you know what you’re doing. Historical and comparative linguistics is where I would like to specialise my field of study if I ever manage to get my degree.