When my wife was flipping through radio channels recently, as she is wont to do when we’re in the car together, we heard some preacher guy making the same tired points about how science is wrong on evolution and the Big Bang. Can’t these people at least come up with some new arguments before getting on the subject? Some of the particularly obnoxious ones I hear are:
- The world looks like it’s designed. – That’s funny, because it really doesn’t to me. I think nature is both too complex and too poorly put together to be designed. The human body can do things more amazing than any known machine, but why would an intelligent designer bother to put in tonsils and an appendix?
- The world was created with the appearance of age. – Wait, doesn’t this kind of contradict the last one? We’re supposed to believe the world was designed because it looks like it was, but we’re NOT supposed to believe it’s billions of years old even though it looks like it is? Talk about wanting to have it both ways! Besides, why would God want to make the planet look older than it is? Is it like when an architect designs a building in an archaic style? Did the Almighty say, “Hey, Paleolithic Revival is in this year”?
- Science is based as much in faith as religion is. – Sure, it kind of looks that way when you really haven’t done much research into either one, but when you get right down to it, deducing things based on observable evidence is kind of the opposite of faith.
- God must exist because people have a longing for Him. – Not only is this absurd logic, but isn’t the idea of God being a loving and lovable entity fairly new anyway? A lot of the old gods, including what appears to be the earliest conception of Yahweh, were pretty mean. Sure, you could get them on your side sometimes, but I kind of get the impression that ancient cultures believed in gods not because it was a comfortable idea, but because it seemed the most likely explanation based on their limited knowledge of nature. The whole concept of the supernatural relies on knowing how nature usually works, and realizing that it isn’t through magic or conscious thought. When people came up with stories about Zeus and Thor throwing thunderbolts around, I don’t think they believed these gods were operating outside of nature, but rather that they WERE nature. Holding to Young Earth Creationism today is akin to holding onto the idea of lightning as a godly weapon after people deduced how it really worked. The main difference is that the thunderbolt fights were more entertaining.
- You don’t know for sure. – You’re right, and any scientist worth his or her salt would admit that. That does not, however, make all explanations equally likely.
Hey, I’m not claiming to be an expert on science, but I can tell you what makes more sense to me, and it doesn’t involve a talking snake in a magic garden. That said, there are some parts of these scientific theories that I don’t quite grasp. I’ve heard, for instance, that evolution usually happens in populations rather than individuals. I guess it would pretty much have to, because otherwise you’re pretty much stuck with the incest of Genesis. Why would this be the case, though? Out of all possible mutations, why would so many living things get the same ones at around the same time? I guess that means God did it! No, seriously, there probably is a valid non-religious explanation here, but I don’t know what it is. As for the Big Bang (actually a term invented by an opponent of the theory; there presumably wouldn’t have been a bang of any size in the vacuum of space) and the existence of matter, the Creationist argument is that this matter had to come from somewhere, which means there must have been a creator. The flaw here is obvious, because that just raises the question as to where the creator came from. That’s why I kind of like the idea that there really was no beginning. That’s not to say that the Big Bang didn’t happen, just that something might have happened before that. I find the idea of a cyclical universe somewhat appealing, although I don’t know if there’s any scientific evidence for it.
Interestingly, the idea DOES appear in religion, most notably Hinduism. Other mythologies also have the death and rebirth of the world, and that includes Christianity, although Revelation says the next world will be perfect. My lack of belief in perfection is one of my problems with Christianity. Also with Marxism, come to think of it. The fact that the world is in constant flux suggests to me that this flux will continue indefinitely, not that we’re fumbling toward perfection.