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Thoughts On Science, Creation Myths And The Sad State Of The Environment. Life On The Edge Of Extinction.
Are Creationists Painting Science With Broad Brush of Misconceptions. Are we heading not towards an end time but human caused mass extinction.
The environmental degradation of earth is taking place at an alarming rate and well off humans are living beyond their means. It is postulated it takes 24 acres per person to sustain the average american's lifestyle of waste and greed & the rest of the world wants to share in our folly. Around 5% of earths surface is burned and cleared each year . Human's rather then reigning in their excessive behaviors are seeking to ruthlessly exploit nature to no end. Scientists like Edward O. Wilson the leading environmental evolutionist who just happens to believe in a creator warns that a manmade great extinction is at hand if humanity doesnt change its ways.
I read hubs here all the time about the failure of modern science to prove in the most intricate detail all the secrets of life on earth. Creationist and believer's in the bible are shown no real hard facts about the existence of God yet they believe wholeheartly the accounts written in a book based on an earlier oral tradition and written over 2,500 years ago as the actual word of God even though this book was created and edited by people. The existence of religion in peoples lives far predate the writing of the Old Testament by the Jews and it has taken many forms. To find religion in its infancy would mean going back in time way before the written word was invented, back to symbolism with magical powers of the shaman and ritualistic dancing around a camp fire. These rituals strengthened the bond of the group and help relieve stress amongst the tribe.
What would one have to do to get Creationists to realize that religion itself is shaped by the forces of evolution?
To quote the respected biologist entomologist Edward O. Wilson again "Every major religion today is a winner in the Darwinian struggle waged among cultures and none have won by tolerating their rivals" In this case the rival is science and the idea of evolution for explaining how life formed and developed on earth. No matter how much creationists pretend most will never accept the growing body of evidence that informs and reinforces the notion of evolution. Is not at all surprizing then that one of the notions they will never accept is that religion itself is probably passed on to the next generation by genes as well as culture. Groups with strong religious ties and culture are probably made more cohesive and out rival less cohesive neighboring groups. So religion itself is an important survival mechanism of human evolution, who would have thunk it.
Religion is the old knowledge system that acted almost as the science of its day by creating order out of the chaos of human existence in a world filled with unknowns.
Creationists actually have No hard evidence that the Old Testament was written by God. In reality the oral stories were contained in many bibles that over time and were narrowed down by the majority concensus of Jewish holy men. At one time the Temple held three different Torahs. There are other examples of the bible not jiving with what is now taken as fact. In the Old Testament Eve is made from Adams rib yet modern science knows full well something apparently God didnt know back then. Human embryos all start off with the female form and males are then formed from the female. They got it backwards and Im guessing if God did write the bible he would not have made such a silly mistake. Yet it was a mistake very understandable for its time because there was a gender bias favoring the male as the dominant sex and this bias sadly remains to this day even surviving the enlightenment of Buddha's teachings. Elephant society a very complex family system and a very successful one at that, is lead by a matriarch, it revolves around dominant females. The Male superiority ordered system can be referred to as the missionary position with man of course on top of the female, God forbid the woman getting on top! They had no way of telling women were the original template of human form.
Creationist always act like they are the ones asking all the tough questions of science. The squabble amongst themselves is that science is a secret club for conspiring against God. They act like all scientists especially those somehow involved with evolution belong to the same school, get funded the same way, experiment on the same species, practice the same forms of enquiry and are calling each other up everyday to have dinner together. Its all bunk. Science in FACT goes through a much more rigorous examination then religion does. If the creationist would actually challenge the bible as much as they do science with a truly open mind they would be left scratching their heads. The idea that science is just accepted on its face is nonsense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Science is an extremely competitive field and actually conforms to the evolutionary law of the survival of the fittest. Weak research with questionable results are quickly beaten down. This could take years due to the complexity of nature and the universe, but science is not in the business of expedient knowledge unless it's junk science. Scientist become like sharks smelling blood in the water when they sense a weak scientists work. Sure the feeding frenzy may take awhile to determine who is actually eating who but after awhile the waters become clear and a rightful order of knowledge is then accepted. These highly competitive contests of ideas are forever on going. There are always brilliant scientists waiting in the wings ready to try and upset the apple cart. Creationists would have us believe, have you believe that good brilliant scientists are having pajama parties and playing hooks and ladders taking turns at receiving accolades that are actually only acheived by years of hard word and endless pursuits for discovery. Scientist have to go to school for years to learn what is known and isnt known in order to know where to look. Then they have to be knowledgable enough to make some proper sense of their discoveries. Sure mistakes are made but that is part of the learning process. This is why science is different then religion. The ideas of science must run the guantlet of critical enquiry otherwise it is not accepted as proper science. Mankind did not get to the moon on a hope and a prayer but by a rigorous scientific knowledge database that was very carefully added to and developed over hundreds of years. Religions may stand the tests of time but they are afraid to undergo the kinds enquiry science does in the modern world. In fact there is more hiding of truth in religion these days then enlightenment. Child molesters were hiding in plain site and they were getting away with it because they were hiding in holy garb. The attempts to brush these serious accusations aside as not worthy of even serious contemplation shows the lack of serious concern for the victims and for the truth.
A creationist asked the questions, the riddles really of what exactly happened 420 million years ago, what happened 450 million years ago, what happen 1,200 million years ago and even better what happened perhaps a billion years ago. Hey no problem thats only like a billion years before people came into existence. He wont accept examples of evolution taking place today in bacteria he wants the golden fleece of evolution biology delivered to his doorstep. He asks these questions as if he really wants to know the answers but in fact he doesn't want to know and he is praying nobody can actually tell him. No matter what the answers they will NEVER suffice. If I show him one golden fleece missing link species he will ask for five or ten more golden fleeces. This is because the game of sleep over pajama games of hook and ladders is being played not by the scientists but by them. My love of the beautiful idea of evolution really has nothing to do with discrediting Gods creation if you want to call it that. In the effort to break the stalemate of ideas, I will play the fool one more time and give it a whirl. The science is there for all to see but some folks just like playing games with their own minds and foot loose with the facts at hand.
The creationist riddled me this..how did single cell asexual organisms become sexual organisms. Well Darwin was brilliant and he didnt know everything but fortunately new discoveries suggest that sexual reproduction imparts an serious evolutionary advantage over asexual reproduction. Asexual reprodution is basically like cloning and is more vulnerable to DNA damage then offspring of sexual reproduction. Just as mitochondria invaded a single cell organism and established a more robust complex form of life by way of symbiotic relationship it is believed that viruses invaded primitive organisms and created new more robust life forms. It also has become apparent that simple cell organisms sometimes had more then one set of genes and these copies were able to reshuffle themselves into different new forms under such stressful conditions perhaps leading to sexual cells that were then able to join and reform sexually instead of just splitting. There is still so much more to learn but like I said the bible has much less to say on this matter then these ensights provide. The creationist posing the riddles also asks the wrong questions. Since he believes God created the species whole he discounts the FACT that species have genetic variation within species. Any dog breeder knows this. As a matter of fact this genetic variation within species is what makes evolution possible. So when it is said God made man in his own image which man was he talking about and why did he make only man in his own image and not women? He asks the riddle...how did fish transition from water to land..good question. In 2006 scientists found a missing link species that fits this question perfectly. They found a fossil of a flat squat fish from 375 million years ago and upon close examination they could tell the fore fins had evidence of pre-digits, proto wrists, elbows, and shoulders and a skull resembling a crocodile. The rest of the body resembled of all things a four legged creatures known as tetrapods which are early amphibian like creatures able to walk on four limbs. These creatures could not dance but they could surely walk. They named this fish amphibian missing link species Tiktaalik, which means large shallow water fish. I know this amazing find will be dismissed by the creationists seeking to protect their creation story as they will not ever give up the silly notion that God wrote the bible and therefore everything mentioned in the bible must be taken as fact. Perhaps they will only be convinced when they can see this fish play the banjo or fiddle with its proto fin hands? The idea that God made all creatures whole just doesn't fit into a very dynamic world or universe, where everything is dynamic and in flux. Nothing stays the same, nothing seems static. To create living things whole is a very static notion. That would suggest that all creatures were made at the same moment of creation and this is easily disproved by the the vast time frame different fossils are found in. This discrepancy could only suggest that life was created over and over. The bible has some answers to this but science does a much better job at addressing these questions hands down. At no point do I suggest that this is proof that a CREATOR did not exist at the beginning. What I am saying is that the bible is not and should not be taken as the absolute word of God as fundamentalists do. This places mankinds relationship to the Creator as much too cosy and as a result people and the planet literally get burned. Thats a sad state of affairs because E.O Wilson fears humankind is nearing the sixth great extinction of species and its cause is human civilization. Therefore humankind must take serious stock of itself and value the relationships we have with our fellow creatures before its too late. We must get a grip on our greedy wasteful ways before we become the flood that will sweep away the creation and much of the wonderful biodiversity we have come to know and love. A good and better understanding of evolution and how it works will serve us well as we try and cope with this looming challenge to our home planet and all the creatures of creation. The earth is indeed a sacred place.