Friday, November 16, 2007

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design (Creationism)

One of my passions is evolution, especially the origins of man. As a young child I was fascinated by dinosaurs. I memorized all sorts of statistics about them (I knew the length, weight, and epoch of nearly all the major species). I had a dinosaur poster in my room throughout my grade school years and I'd stare at it in fascination, dreaming of what it might have been like when they used to dominate the Earth.

I went on vacation in late September this year. I flew to Mom's and she put me to work going through old boxes of my stuff that had been stored in the basement. This included papers from 1st and 2nd grade and I found drawings of dinosaurs, stories about dinosaurs, papers about dinosaurs – you name it. Yup, obsessed.

As I grew older I switched my focus from dinosaurs to early hominids. Again, utter fascination as I read all the books I could find, watched any documentary that was on TV, etc. So it was with eager anticipation that I watched an episode of NOVA that aired Tuesday. It was about the trial in Dover, Pennsylvania caused by the school board wanting to include Intelligent Design in their curriculum. ID is basically an invented title to attempt to make Creationism appear to have it's big toe dipping in the waters of science. If they could convince the court that ID was in any way scientific, they could make a case for teaching it in the classroom without that pesky separation of church and state the Constitution insists upon.

I'm sure you can see I have my own biases in place. Although I am a Christian, I see no merit whatsoever in ID. I am not at war when it comes to religion and science. To me, they can both exist peacefully. I see no reason to pretend that only one of the two can exist in this wonderful, complex world of ours.

Evolution has 150 years of scientific examples to back it up. It's in the fossil record, in biology, observable in nature, and hard-wired into the DNA of every creature on earth. From the smallest atom to the largest creature, evolution makes sense of the variety and complexity of life on Earth. Intelligent Design sees that complexity and basically says, "That's too difficult to figure out. There must be a supernatural element at work." But for the examples they give of unknowable complexity, evolution already has an explanation of how it evolved.

The trial illuminated a myriad of examples of transitional creatures and fossils, many of which the general public has never heard of. Why? Because since the Scopes trial 80 years ago, Creationists have fought tooth and nail to keep the scientific proofs out of the textbooks our children read. I was lucky as a child, because my parents put no limits on my learning. I devoured every book the library had on the subject, read every article in science magazines, and was therefore able to see for myself the strides science was making in the field. To this day I am still utterly fascinated and devour any news that breaks in the scientific arena.

Does evolution take God out of the equation? Of course not. God is the miracle behind that equation. God is in every aspect of science. Personally, I don't care if others believe as I do. Everyone should be allowed to come to his or her own conclusions. But if you want to interfere with the Constitution and try to take God out of the churches, synagogues and mosques and into our classrooms wearing the disguise of science, then I get upset. That makes God a liar, a charlatan – wearing an ill-fitting mask. Leave science to the scientists. We need them. We need the brilliance of the human mind to help us cure diseases, fight famine, climate change, and all the other problems modern humans face. We can pray to God for help, but we still need the next generation to understand the difference between science and a theory full of smoke and mirrors.

4 comments:

Nell said...

I think it was Einstein who said he looked at a snowflake and knew that God existed. It would be arrogant of us to assume we know the why and wherefore of everything and it seems to me that the more we learn the less we know of how miraculous the world is.

Joanna Sandsmark said...

I agree, Nell, that God is in everything. Good point.

Grace Tyler said...

I have always believed that evolution was God's plan for creation. Who says he sculpted and molded each body? I believe in a combination of the Divine Clockmaker (set things in motion and let them work themselves out) and The Great Creator.

Joanna Sandsmark said...

That's how I always saw it, Grace. For me, science doesn't take God out of the equation, it proves he's there. There's so much beauty and symmetry in many scientific theories. What an amazing world we live in. Besides, I really love the idea that dinosaurs ruled the world. rawr!