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Exit ArchiveArchive for March 31st, 2006

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.