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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Head+Wall=Relief

By: Michael Akerman


Interesting news item today. And by news item, I mean editorial letters. And by editorial letters, I mean regurgitated arguments from a now-centuries old debate.

http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/story/1979290p-8357449c.html (I don't think you have to register, but I'm not sure)

I can't help but thinking most of these people are fools, not because they believe in creationism, but because they think, for some reason, that creationism and evolution are mutually exclusive. Indeed, only the last letter seems to consider that they are not. The others (especially and to an extreme degree, such that I want to hit the author in the face with something hard, the fourth one) are not just foolish, not just naive, they are undoubtedly and unqualifiedly stupid.

There are limitations to both theories, and they are reconciled easily. For instance, evolution does not explain the ultimate origin of all things, nor the unlikely and counterintuitive fact that life exists. Remember, the point is to increase entropy, and life is simply no good at this. Indeed, living things tend to create larger, more dense substances with lower entropy as wastes. There, logically, had to be some impetus for life, which is known to Christians as God (the argument as to what it actually is is a different debate all together. I think it's God, personally, but that's virtually unprovable).

More convincing, perhaps, is that there had to be a creationary beginning to the universe. By all known natural laws, all current evidence, all observable fact, nothing comes from nothing, in the physical world. Thus, the ultimate creator had to be an "uncaused" non-physical being. Whether this being is sentient (God) or simply something like Card's philotes (non-sentient, following a set of laws) is not important at the moment.

So, evolution has these obvious and apparent holes. But Creationism, if anything, has even more magnitudinous fallacies. There is physical evidence that completely demolishes the 10000 year limit on the Earth's age. Additionally, there is fossil evidence forbidding the creation of Earth in but a week's time. But, clearly, a literal interpretation of the bible is foolish. More likely, the true time span was compressed to be more accessible to the "unenlightened" ages.

The next main tenet of creationism is that God created every species as it is in perfect form. This is so astoundingly blind that I'm not sure I need to shoot it down. If this was the case, bacteria would not gain antibiotic resistance, we would not have genetic maladies, there would not be a population of fruit flies on the verge of speciation. No, this "basic tenet" of creationism is utterly stupid.

So, clearly, neither theory is absolutely correct. However, as should be apparent, they are great compliments. The holes in each theory are entirely spackled by the alternate theory. In fact, there is some actual evidence that a combination of the two is correct.

Most scientists now believe that clay was the original molecule that developed into life. Many clays have molecular crystalline structures that self-replicate, and modify other nearby molecular structures to better match themselves. It is extremely likely that, given enough time, these structures would develop into basic amino acids and other base nutrient compounds, leading eventually into the assemblage of these into life.

If you'll recall from Genesis, you will note that God made man from the dust of the ground. If you'll recall from the above paragraph, it is considered likely that man evolved from the dust of the ground. This fits well with my theory (though it's hardly enough evidence to call for a scientific journal publication). The tale in the bible is not literal, but it's not that far from it. Remember, the tale is in a generally correct order, with generally correct information, but an incorrect time span. I think it's obvious that the most likely cause of this is that the story is a first-hand account of the creation, but due to ages of retelling, was modified such that common, lowly man could accept it within their limited understanding.

~Michael Akerman

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