Thursday, December 23, 2004

Does evolution require an apologetic?

Evolution is the slow cooking oven of time and biology. How can we truly claim to know it as some philosophers posit the existence of a thing by knowing it and experiencing it, since we live such mayfly lives and cannot witness the over all unfolding of our own evolution as a species? Then of course there's the example of those moths, or butterflies that changed their color to match the industrial darkening of the landscape in England at the turn of the 19th century.

The other night I came home from a family gathering and couldn't sleep. We turned on the toob and since we are not willing to pay for the premium package our viewing selection consists primarily of the E-channel, 1/2 of NBC (which is usually frizzy), an assortment of public access channels and PAX (the christian channel). You know you're watching some evangelical show immediately because of the 888 number that appears in the corner of the screen. We turned to this show which seemed to be a documentary on spiders, and I like nothing more than to spend a fifteen minutes of my time watching something that horrifies be before I go to sleep. However, the solicitation number appeared at the bottom of the screen. I was about to change the channel when J said, "No, wait... I want to hear how this plays out." And as he suspected the documentarian's speech about the wonderous capabilities of spiders, whether it was to create a special arial sac to have it travel hundreds of miles away or the fact that a spider can have eight different types of web secretion for eight separate purposes from web spinning to wrapping it's prey. Then the elderly gentleman with a full head of hair (it's strange how most of them have 'full' heads of hair that look surpisingly perfect) proceeded to ask the audience, "How could a spider have evolved over thousands of years to have these abilities?" Of course his argument was that God created the spider as it was... a perfect package and a machine developed by his own "Intelligent Design."

Hmmm... how could the spider have developed over millions of years? How do certain bacterias survive and become resistant to anti-biotics or anti-bacterial soaps and disinfectants? Gee, I don't know. What frightens me is that if I believe as the toupeed man does, then getting a disease or the extinction of species (including our own) could all be part of God's "Intelligent Design," and I would simply have to accept this.

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

-Albert Einstein


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