There are those who scoff at science and, in particular, evolution. They often argue with a visceral madness that God created them as they are, that there is no damned way we can count chimps as a relative, distant or otherwise.
Of Evangelical Protestants in the United States, 64 percent believe God made man as he is today. Fifty percent of those claiming allegiance to the Republican party believe this, according to a recent PEW study (Link).
Of all of the adults in the U.S. only 33 percent believe humans have always existed in our current form (no evolution). This number, while still high relative to other countries, is a bit more comforting. Not surprisingly, the group most likely to rely on science as opposed to belief is college graduates. Only 24 percent of college grads believe in the God-made-me-as-I-am hypothesis. (Link)
Those who believe God just popped in one day and decided to create humankind are welcome to traverse the universe to the tune of their own fiddle. The problem is in the United States this minority of hard-line believers - and 33 percent is a minority - are too vocal and too demanding. They want to convert the rest of us to view life from their perspective. In this country this vocal minority gets all of the press, support and media coverage they want. Somehow, those of us who believe in fact based upon scientific inquiry and scrutiny are supposed to reject history, verified truths and rationale and join them in their delusions.
One of the arguments they make in order to generate a broader appeal is that science destroys the magic of creation, that only God could create something so complex and wonderful. They believe that the creation story they tell of their God is somehow more "magical and full of wonder" than the science is itself. But first, to be fair, we should all understand that their creation story, like most stories in the Bible, isn’t even original. It was stolen - or copied (if you must) - from other religions that came before christianity. (Link - healed the sick and raised the dead, Link - known as the healer of the world; Link - had 12 disciples, born on December 25th and will return to pass judgement; Link - son of God, born of a virgin.)
So, let me tell you of a real creation story of wonder, one as old as the universe itself and one that is still unfolding with many chapters to tell. In the true book of life the simple creation story goes like this:
In the beginning there was void.
Into that void there came an explosion of matter and from this was born the universe.
The universe expanded and grew and this was good.
Billions of years later matter began coalescing and formed structure and these structures became galaxies and stars. And this, too, was good.
Stars spun about their galaxies and around them formed planets and around planets formed moons. Planets and moons were heated by their suns. And this was also good.
Eventually, on one of the arms of a spiral galaxy on a smallish blue planet there formed, perhaps uniquely, perhaps not, a single living organism, beautifully adapted to its wet environment. And to the universe this was good.
Over millions of years this organism replicated and with the help of the Sun it mutated into other more complex forms of life. Many mutated forms of life found new ways to exploit their environment and thrive. Over time the organisms became more and more complex in order to survive in the competitive environment. Sometimes, the creator - the universe - cleansed the world of many lifeforms in this march towards complexity.
Eventually, one of these complex adaptations learned to control its environment and the other living mutations around it. And thus was borne man.
At this point my creation story devolves into a convoluted genealogical tree of “Protobacteria begat Acidobacteria. Acidobacteria begat Thermophilic Sulphate Reducers and so on …” The friendships, disasters and treachery that developed along life’s timeline are another story altogether.
I realize this is a simple creation story, but it is full of wonder and magic and truth. To those who ask that we live according to illogical fantasies rooted in belief and hearsay I would simply tell you this: let us be. We have our own creation story, one filled with wonder and ours has been verified by the universe itself. Plus, ours is far older than any of your creation stories and it has never been copied or stolen from others. It is original. My story never asks me or others to distort reality or bend the truth and it doesn't need defending. It continues with or without belief. It simply is.
in category Life