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Just now, while eating my soup, the supposedly perfect remedy for being sick, I made the mistake of reading the newspaper. There was an article on students questioning their teachers when they teach evolution.

Is it any wonder I don’t want to hear the news any more?

While I’m not really laughing today, it really is kinda funny how these kids—and plenty of adults, of course—harangue their teachers on evolution, asking for proof yet doubting the proof that’s there in front of them. It’s funny because they are attacking what we know so far about biology using concepts and teachings that have no proof whatsoever. Faith is not proof.

People prefer the simple. Religion, to me, is what human beings have concocted to make the universe more simple to understand. This is an old argument I’ve used before, but there was something else about it that hit me today, reading that article.

See, I pictured my friends who are religious pointing out to me that religion is, in fact, incredibly complex. My God, Van studied it in college, even. You can go to school all your life and not finish learning the intricacies and complexities of religion. So religion, created by humans to explain and simplify the universe, has become complicated by the humans themselves.

Religions typically have a document of some kind that is the Guide to All Things. The most popular of these in our country is the Bible. The Bible was not written by God, of course, but by people. People supposedly writing for God or some such thing. But the Bible has changed as it’s been translated and revised through the years. That’s why there are versions, like the King James “version.”

Religion is simple, but the document full of rules and explanations that people need to interface with the religion is not. It also happens that the documents are based solely on hearsay, rumor, storytelling, invention, metaphor, and any number of other factors except one: fact.

Okay, so science has been caught embracing facts that end up to be wrong, false, erroneous. But science then discards such errors and moves on. Perhaps the Bible is filled with tales that came from factual events, once upon a time. But it discards nothing as it ages. As a document of faith, it’s not allowed to unless you’re King James. When you take something unchangeable, such as the Bible, and compare it to the canon of science, which is an ever-changing “document” of facts and truth, you compare the staid with the liquid. Scientific knowledge gets more complex every day because we discover so much. The Bible gets more complex because people keep looking into its inscrutable innards and “discover” new meanings. The Bible hasn’t changed. People add meaning on their very own.

Evolution happens in front of our faces every single day. The AIDS virus mutates with frightening voraciousness. A certain kind of elephant species in India has begun producing more males without tusks, since tusked males have been slaughtered for ivory. [UPDATE: The elephants in question live in China, not India. Read all about it here.] Antibiotics, like the one I’m taking now, the third kind in two weeks, have to be strengthened and improved every year as older antibiotics become ineffective against the resistant strains they leave behind. All over the place, we can see the adaptability and change of the world, and yet, because some old words placed in a book before much was known about biology say the world was created 6,000 years ago, people believe that. The desire for something to be true wins out over the real truth.

I need to stop reading the paper.


G-Man Expounded Thusly:

Religion is just superstition and magic. It’s far more entertaining than science.

Fuck, have I become cynical.

Saturday, April 1st, 2006 • 8:15pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Actually, that does not sound cynical at all! You’re right, it is much more entertaining than science. Maybe if it weren’t taken so seriously, we could all sit back and have a good laugh! That’s not cynical at all.

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006 • 3:58pm • Permalink

Robb Expounded Thusly:

There’s a lot of this going around, I see. I just spent a while talking about this on my blog. I stopped short of calling religion superstition and magic. But just barely. More a “happy little bundle of warm fuzzies.”

Monday, April 3rd, 2006 • 10:44am • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

There are no people more fervent than the religious. It’s why so many wars have been fought in religion’s name.

So I read through Robb’s post, then through the comments. (Read both here.) “A” started out sounding reasonable, but deteriorated into the usual babble of the blind. (I can be more insulting here, since this is my own blog!) You simply can not argue in favor of God by providing God as the explanation for God. That’s not how discovery and exploration and learning work. Yet that’s basically what A was saying.

Don’t you doubt for a minute that I did not put up my own response!

Monday, April 3rd, 2006 • 12:29pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Well, that’s what I get for getting hot under the collar and posting a comment before actually bothering to see if Robb posted his own response. Of course, Robb’s rebuttal is very smart, eloquent, and also funny. His hallmark.

I guess being sick for three weeks, dealing with a sales meeting, and sleeping for four days gets me behind on my blogs!

Monday, April 3rd, 2006 • 1:55pm • Permalink

thatmattdude Expounded Thusly:

you fester like those that you speak against and it never fails to bring knots to my stomach. I feel so compelled to say something but I feel like I’ve said my peace before and because my views are not enough to change your mind.. it isn’t even good enough for you to respect. I have to wonder, if it is at all even possible for one to speak postively about religion in your presence and still be considered smart, eloquent and maybe even funny! or are you just fervently opposed that such is not even possible.

Monday, April 3rd, 2006 • 8:20pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Most of my friends are religious in some way. That’s statistically how it works. And I have to say that most of my friends are smart, eloquent, and many are even funny. The most eloquent explanations of religion are when it is treated as a personal belief that someone embraces as one facet of a three-dimensional life. You probably did not read Robb’s posts, but to borrow his words and paraphrase, I do not care if my friends pray or find solace in God. I don’t care if anyone does so. My post is in response to the calculated dismantling of a scientific principle explaining one aspect of life on earth.

You think I am full of hate. (I got that from your e-mail and your past comments to me.) Maybe that knot in your stomach comes from me attacking your religion. I’m not attacking you. I’m attacking the religion, specifically when religion is so fervently adhered to that some believe we all need to cut off knowledge and exploration of the universe if such does not support the stories the Bible teaches. (Or the Koran, or the Bhagavad Gita, or Dianetics, or whatever.)

I’ll repeat this because these sentences seem to go unnoticed in these emotional debates: I’m attacking the religion, specifically when religion is so fervently adhered to that some believe we all need to cut off knowledge and exploration of the universe if such does not support the stories the Bible teaches.

On Robb’s blog, which you might also want to read, the comments got more generalized regarding religion. In the comment I made on Robb’s post, I said, “Any factual or plausible explanations of why God exists… now that would be something to read!” I love debate and discussion, but if you read the original L.A. Times story, that’s not what’s happening. It’s not debate and discussion from creationists. It’s the smugness. Just a little smugness back is how to counter that. Smugness and facts, instead of their smugness and… lack of anything but faith.

If you read the Times story, one of the teachers in it is in fact a religious man, a biologist, and believes God created the universe. But he also believes in evolution. I think there are more Christians out there like this, who are able to accept what science has offered and connect that with their faith. The beauty, if you will, (though, yes, I personally find it a flaw) of religion is how well it can adjust to changes in what is truly known about the world. Science and religion are not meant to be at odds, yet that’s how the evolution/creation “debate” is being framed by Christians.

Please, anyone, feel free to post something that examines discoveries that support the concept of creation! I’d love to hear about it. I not yet have read any cogent debate on this issue. Still. And this topic has been swirling on The Wren Forum for a couple years now.

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006 • 8:30am • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

On a lighter note, the debate has gotten heated but not acerbic over at Robb’s blog. Take a peek at the discussion on the “A eh?” post.

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006 • 9:10am • Permalink

The Wren Forum » Campus Crusade for Contempt Expounded Thusly:

[…] People are Simple […]

Monday, April 10th, 2006 • 6:18pm • Permalink • This is a Pingback


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