It’s such a bore when people take things literally. You try, ever so gently, to nudge them to dig a little deeper, look for multiple meanings and interpretations. But, no, nothing doing. Their minds are stuck in second gear. I speak here about creationists. And about scientists.
This week Bill Nye, an American science educator and TV personality and Australian minister Ken Ham hunkered down at the $27-million Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky to debate the age-old question: Where the hell did we come from?
Behind Door Number One we have billions of years of trial-and-error, also known as evolution. And behind Door Number Two we have Noah hanging out in a boat with a Tyrannosaurus Rex and 14 thousand other beasts.
The seemingly eternal debate between science-oriented and Bible-oriented individuals about the origins of humanity seems like a lot of hot air and the recent talk is no exception. Each group is fixed in its opinion so really, why bother?
Creationists take the Bible literally. God created the world in 6 days. Case closed. If these people had open, curious minds, they’d look at the Mount Everest of scientific evidence and think, “Hmmm. That’s very interesting. I wonder how I should deal with this information.” Maybe they would reconsider. Maybe they wouldn’t. But at least they’d burn a few calories contemplating it.
But scientists are often no better being just as susceptible to faith-based beliefs and dogma as Creationists are. Only their faith is non-religious. New research constantly challenges age-old assumptions about evolution, as well as a host of other subjects that had previously seemed to be open-and-shut cases. Scientists are forced to rethink their beloved paradigms and not all of them are eager to do so, especially if it means a lifetime of academic work has gone down the tubes.
After all, the assumption that the Earth could never have been created by a superior intelligence is also a form of belief. We weren’t there. We did not observe it. So, on some level, evolutionary theories are guesswork too, even if they involve fancy equipment and carbon dating.
You gotta feel for the Creationists though. They have their work cut out for them. Every year more evidence in geology, botany, anthropology, palaeontology, zoology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, and any other -ology you care to find, mounts to support the hypothesis of evolution. There are only so many times one can point to a page in the Bible and say, “Look, it says so right here.” Anyone beyond a Grade 6 education has to do a lot better than that to win an argument.
Instead of blowing all this hot air around and heating up an already overheated planet, why can’t the two camps agree-to-disagree and move on to more fruitful debates. Forget about where we came from. The more interesting question to ask is, “Where are we going?”
Image: Michael Coghlan/Flickr.com