Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Did The Chicken Beget The Egg, Or Was It The Other Way Around?

Despite the fact that he is a poor excuse for a politician and dirty felon (or may be, at least) it seems as though Bob Taft actually got something right. Maybe. I’m all for the analytical review of anything and everything. Slice it up, dice it, throw it under a microscope, smother it in bacon grease and throw it into the books. That’s the way it should be. If, in fact, he is talking about an “analytical review” of evolution and not a “sneaky way to get Intelligent Design into the classroom that isn’t so sneaky now that I come to think about it.”

Surprising as it might be for some to hear, especially from a Christian, but I have no problems with evolution from a religious perspective. And the reason is simple. Religion is religion and science in sciences. There are two reasons people get so upset over this pointless debate: 1) They have a weak understanding of both Christianity and evolution, and 2) they are being political (aka “stupid”).

Evolution, at its most basic, describes how life developed from the basic elements of existence. Genesis tells a story about how life began that is really more about the fallen state of human nature than about sciences. The two don’t really conflict with each other.

Because, once again, science is science and religion is religion (and politics are stupid).

From a scientific standpoint, you can look at the fossil records and gene mappings to your heart’ desire. And more power to you. That is very important. But evolution doesn’t say anything about how we got here. It merely says what happens once we (or, rather, the pieces that would eventually become us) did. The scientific explanations of how we came to exist are known as abiogenesis, and they are a lot more far-fetched (especially since String Theory and the Red Shifties has fallen out of Casey Kasim’s top 40).

Religion, on the other hand, doesn’t really tell us how we got here either, other than to say “God did it.” Christianity isn’t a science lesson; it is a faith lesson. God didn’t intend the Bible to be an full-fledged explanation of how we came to be. God merely said, “I made you…I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how. If you can. Good luck.” The religious person can easily say that God directed evolution, giving it a few tweaks here and there, or that God set up the system to fall in the fashion that it did without any harm to his faith. And really, if you believe that God can create something from nothing it isn’t much of a stretch to believe that God could have used evolution to make the world the way it is today.

There are scientists and theologians who will disagree, and I am willing to entertain their arguments. But those people who claim that science disproves religion or that religion disproves science are, in this instance at least, overstepping their bounds. They are two sides of the same coin. They point towards Truth, albeit from different angles.

So I say teach evolution. I say teach I.D. I say let kids come up with whatever questions pop into their brains. Hold everything as suspect until you can provide a reason to accept it. If somebody comes up with a theory that the whole of existence was borne of several thousand tons of airborne pasta, I say go with it. Challenge the rest of the class to prove him wrong.

Maybe next time he’ll come up with an idea that is a little bit closer to the truth. Maybe next time he’ll come up with something that challenges and defeats commonly held theories and laws, thus extending the realm of human knowledge ever further. After all, you can’t seek the Truth unless you accept the very real and very likely possibility that you are wrong about vast percentages of what you already believe.


1 comment:

The Sasquatch said...

Please note that I do not mean we should teach ID as science. I believe we should teach ID as part of contemporary issues course; something that examines hot button scientific, poltiical, religious, social (etc..) issues of the day.