Friday, August 5, 2011

Intriguing and Insightful

Image of PIA13845 North America Nebula in Different Lights taken by Spitzer
Space Telescope - Courtesy of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Photojournal
 Throughout the history of mankind, people have debated whether the universe is the product of random chance and time or the executed work of a higher entity. Despite that, the idea of creationism has prevailed for centuries. However, for the past hundred fifty years the scientific community has pushed to find evidences that the origin of such a complex design has nothing to do with a supreme being contradicting the core value of most religions of the world.

Charles Darwin in “Descent of Man” for example, causes one to reflect on the possibility that all species including, man, is the result of a long evolutionary process which started from some pre-existing lower form. In his brainstorming he also considered the question of how such evolution took place and the importance of every single race’s uniqueness.

While evolutionists contest that there is no evidence of the existence of a creator based on the fact that it cannot be perceived by any physical means, the creationists rebuff such claim saying that the human mind also cannot be tested by any form of scientific equipment but we all know that the invisible realm we call “mind” exists. The same way the mind exists so does the creator, asserts the creationist.

Despite evolution and creationism being considered touchy subjects it is important for students to be exposed to both theories as part of an intellectual exercise. I can imagine that it must be very challenging to teach evolution to students who are grounded on the idea that man is a creation of God.

In fact, about ninety percent of Americans believe in creationism of some form, according to an article published in 1999 by Dr. Jerry Bergman entitled “Teaching Creation and Evolution in Schools”. But, regardless of what each individual believes, students’ intellect can be stimulated as such exercise would prompt them to deal with questions which have evoked the deepest thoughts with regard to human origin.

One positive thing about discussing both topics is that people can be better prepared when defending their own views. It becomes more difficult to accept the idea of creationism with an educated mind. Because individuals that accumulate knowledge tend to rely on what is scientifically reasonable even when there is no hard evidences to prove or discredit one concept or the other.

One important factor about teaching or learning the concepts of evolution or creationism is to understand the psychology which lies behind people’s beliefs. What exactly motivates them to see what they see and do the things they do? It is important to understand where they come from when they defend a certain point of view.

In the end, one’s opinion almost always reflects the environment in which they were raised. Parents play a very important role as well as the influence of friends, community and other elements of our surroundings such as, the media, academic environment and just about anything we come in contact with in our journey through life.

Regardless of people’s cultural differences, human beings have always struggled to understand the beginning of mankind. The fact is that there are a lot of emotions linked to our personal belief system.

Only in an environment of openness, in which diversity of opinion is encouraged and respected, can teaching such a subject flow positively. The reality is, despite all of the theories which offer possible scenarios for the origin of biological life, the question of how we got here is still unanswered.

The fact is that we do not know for sure how it all started. Even though science may offer an explanation and point us in a given direction, early history of the universe and the beginning of biological life are too shady.

Because of that it is fair for people to hypothesize and draw their own conclusions and embrace whatever truth they find reasonable according to their acquired knowledge, values and beliefs.

Obviously, it is important to consider the opinion of other people who have invested their time and resources looking for answers, such as Darwin. I totally disagree with the type of teaching which leans towards imposing an ideology on others.

I was raised in a Christian home and as a child I was led to believe that the universe was created by an omnipotent God who is both superior and in control of all things. No matter how much I have learned and changed over the years, all the information relayed to me during those early years will be with me for as long as I live.

I still perceive the presence of a supreme being just by looking around and observing the works of Mother Nature and the miracle of life. I sense the presence of a higher entity every time I have the rare opportunity to look up at the clear skies far away from urban areas and observe the many bright objects sitting up there seemingly motionless.

It makes me speechless as I reflect on the beauty and complexity of the universe which will remain a mystery for me until the end of my existence. But then again, this perception of a higher presence is dictated by emotions and not reasoning.

Despite believing that such unknown energy influences our surroundings, we are conflicted with the teachings from bible scriptures, as there are many gaps and unexplainable events throughout the course of those readings.

When one thinks reasonably, based on their human experience, it is very difficult to accept the concept of creation. Deep inside it is kind of hard to believe that things appeared suddenly as if touched by magic. There has got to be more to it. It is easier for us to pictures things being modified and taking new shapes and form through the course of time.

Another thing which would cause one to be skeptical is the fact that the bible, one of the oldest books of the history of mankind, has been written by many different people, in different occasions and those writings have been revised many times over and subjected to reinterpretations for centuries.

One may be inclined to believe that the wording in the bible may have been tweaked or modified in the course of history. As science has progressed, the idea of creationism has been confronted. In order for one to believe in the unexplainable facts the bible presents takes faith.

But as it turns out faith is blind as it is harbored on emotions and does not rely on any scientifically proven consensus. The controversy around creationism and evolution will always exist.

I believe in the evolution concept in the sense that the universe is a constantly changing environment as it suffers the influence of time because that is what I experience as a human being. On the other hand, I find it quite difficult to believe the theory that humans evolved from a lower form such as apes for example.

Both creationism and evolution concepts cast many doubts and I do not blindly lean to either side. I look at both theories with a critical eye and despite my doubts; I cannot deny that they are both intriguing and insightful.

The reality is that the controversy over creationism and evolution will go on indefinitely or as far as we lack solid scientific evidences to prove one way or the other. Although the idea of evolution gains new grounds with the advances of studies in several fields such as, Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Geology, and Thermodynamics, there are still many unknown facts in which science cannot uncover.

While the debate goes on, teaching evolution in schools is inevitable and necessary. I find it important that students deal with both sides of the equation as an intellectual exercise. I also find it important that people respect each other’s opinion.

According to this metaphor from the bible found in 2 Peter 3:8-9, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”, what is a long time according to our human experience could mean a fraction of a second to the creator of the universe and all things in it, and vice versa.

My understanding is that from a creationist perspective time is simply meaningless and the accomplishment of the design of the world may have taken millions of years and may not have happened in a flash like we were made to believe.

But then again this is the reasoning of a human mind and the fact of the matter is that we simply do not know the answer and the question of the origin of the world will remain a mystery long after many of us are gone.


Anonymous said...

Very nice post. If you go back in the Bible to Genesis 1:1-4, you will see that actually there was no days until the 3 verse giving no evidence of how long that period was. I think that that has some possibility of evolution happening during that period. Also in 2 Peter 3:8 it states that a day for God is like one thousand years for men. So, maybe the seven days of creation lasted a little longer them what we been thinking.

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