D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Great Evolutionary Post

Saturday, March 31, 2007 10:08 PM

Slashdot has a post here about how 48% of American Reject Evolution. It's actually a link to the MSNBC article, but the Slashdot comments are what makes this post worthwhile...especially the one where this guy lambastes a believer about how if his parents had brought him up to believe in the Power Rangers, he'd be spouting off on that...ha...classic!

I actually had a discussion recently about this with some co-workers. They seemed to think it odd that I didn't believe in evolution, even with all the "eviedence" that's out there. For me, it comes down to one thing: the ear.

Think about your ear...really, think about it...check out this article I found online that describes how it works. Here's a brief outtake:

"Understanding how humans hear is a complex subject involving the fields of physiology, psychology and acoustics. In this part of Lesson 2, we will focus on the acoustics (the branch of physics pertaining to sound) of hearing. We will attempt to understand how the human ear serves as an astounding transducer, converting sound energy to mechanical energy to a nerve impulse which is transmitted to the brain. The ear's ability to do this allows us to perceive the pitch of sounds by detection of the wave's frequencies, the loudness of sound by detection of the wave's amplitude and the timbre of the sound by the detection of the various frequencies which make up a complex sound wave."

...complex subject...involving physiology, psychology, and acoustics...ear serves as astounding transducer...converting sound energy to mechanical energy to a nerve impulse transmitted to the brain...

The ear is not a simple organ to create. In fact, when you consider all the pieces that work together (the bones, the shape of the ear itself, the brain hook-up), its freaking amazing! And yet we should beleive that the concept of the ear happened by chance, unbeknownst to the organisms that through no effort of their own were able to generate this complex system...ONE complex system in a body full of complexity.

And there lies the twist...this isn't meant to be a "God vs. Evolution" post, because for all the yelling that creationists make, both Creationism and Evolution come down to one thing: belief. Both are faiths...neither can be proved in the here and now. One puts faith in a deity that created, another in time and that given enough time, all life is possible.

That's ultimately what I can't accept...the idea that Time can create...it can't...it relies too much on chance and chaos:

- The Earth happened to be just the right distance from the sun, where we see in Venus and Mars what type of temperatures and habitation can happen if you're off by a bit (ok...a few million miles might seem like more than a bit, but we're talking planets here...and you understand the analogy).

- Materials required for life to happen just happened to form on Earth

- The building blocks of life just happened to hook up

- All the diversity of life on this earth just happened by chance over billions of years of mutations, natural selection, and genetic drift

So it comes back to the ear...and not just the ear. Think about all your bodily systems: your nervous system, your circulatory system, your excretory system, your respiratory system...all these things that involve involuntary organs that run on their own without us needing to think about it. It's just too complex to all have happened by chance.

So if you are an evolutionist, don't think of yourselves as buying into evolutionary theory...just think of yourselves as believers in Time.

Hmmm...maybe if Microsoft had just left a bunch of computers running, we'd have had WinFS in Vista...same theory right?




# re: Great Evolutionary Post

I appreciated your post. It is bold to post on this topic in this day and age.
I am curious, do you favor Young Earth Creationism (the literal reading of the six day Creation of Genesis) or Old Earth Creationism (indeterminate period, non-literal days, "God of the Gaps")?
Down here in Kansas (with our Kansas Education Standards being rewritten every election cycle) it seems that Young Earth Creationism is a statement of faith. Not sure how it is up in Canada.
Scott 4/1/2007 8:29 AM | Scott Miller

# Is evolution pre-programmed? And is God the programmer?

Thanks for bringing up the subject! You've prompted me to post some opinions that have been rolling around in my head for a few years. Gotta warn you that it in no way upholds Young Earth Creationism, and even gives some credence to aspects of evolution. But perhaps you'll still find it an interesting read:

4/2/2007 1:11 AM | Lorin Thwaits

# re: Great Evolutionary Post

Scott: I think its just as much a statement of faith up here as anywhere else. I remember being in biology class in high school 13 years ago (shiver...has it really been 13 years?!) and fighting to get an extra mark on a quiz because I answered "How old is the Earth?" as 6,000...and I got the mark, but my teacher was a little bewildered that I would still believe that with all the "evidence" available. So if that was then, I'm sure not much has changed.

I lean towards the Young Earth Creationism, mainly because if God is any sort of God, 6 days to create everything should be doable...you could even wonder why he didn't just snap his fingers instead of taking 6 days, but of course that leads into the discussion of what the meaning for us today is (modelling the importance of rest in our lives even though God obviously doesn't need rest, etc.).

Lorin: I look forward to reading your post!

Thanks for responding guys! :)

D 4/2/2007 10:40 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: Great Evolutionary Post

I haven't watched the entire thing yet, but the intro was amusing. 4/2/2007 11:28 AM | Boomer

# re: Great Evolutionary Post

The video Boomer was referring to is:


Ah good ol' Penn and Teller...

Interesting documentary piece on a school district in the states deciding whether to allow creationism to be taught in the schools.

Oddly enough, I believe that evolution should be taught in schools and that creationism should be kept out:

- Evolution, although I personally don't believe the theory, has a baseline that can be taught and reproduced over and over again. Creationism does not; there needs to be a concensus body who represents the Christian community as a whole who dictates the basis for Creationism (which, as Scott mentioned, would be difficult since there are differing opinions within the church...Young Earth vs. Old Earth for example). I remember as a young Christian having someone tell me that dinosaur bones were the remains of angels that lived umong humans....really.

- Teaching evolution does not indoctrinate youth to believe in it. It's teaching the prevailing theory of the day. You can learn about something and not believe in it (I can learn about the Muslim faith and not be a Muslim). I always tell my youth group kids that if the Bible is truth, then the truth will prevail. Teaching evolution in the public schools gives our Christian youth an opportunity not only to stand up for their beliefs (gotta get a taste of persecution sometimes right?) but also to be educated on what the world teaches and to challange it.

Ultimately, evolution doesn't solve the prevailing question that people want to know: not "how" did we get here, but "why" are we here? What purpose does our life hold, and is it something greater than being gene carriers? And that question opens up a whole other can of worms...

4/2/2007 12:05 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: Great Evolutionary Post

I have to make a couple comments. I probably shouldn't, but I've got some time on my hands at the moment.

1) The story of Genesis was written up by a bunch of people who were just getting use to the idea that Bronze was a neat material to make tools out of. They can be forgiven for writing the story of creation in terms that they could understand. As our understanding of the natural world has increased, so has our understanding of how the world came about.

2) Evolution does not do away with God. It just moves his actions further back. The fact that he created such an incredible system of balance and feedback that is evolution and natural selection, doesn't remove him from the equation. Moving creation back to the big bang doesn't make God less powerful, it makes him more powerful. For a "being" to plan the universe and deploy it in such a way as the big bang makes him more omnipotent, not less. 4/2/2007 12:07 PM | Boomer

# re: Great Evolutionary Post

Evolution or Creationism? A powerful debate. But I think the important thing we can all learn from your post is that Canadians have ears. 4/2/2007 12:28 PM | Scott Kuhl

# re: Great Evolutionary Post

The real issue between evolution and creationism comes down to not a question of science but of purpose though.

In the Christian faith, everything was created so that humans could have a place to commune with God. We are seen as his most loved and most prized creation, higher than even the angels (which you'd think would really piss angels off...).

The intent of creation was for God to have commune with us. But in believing that evolution and creationism can somehow mix, that distorts that theology. Instead of humans being created in God's image, we evolve from monkeys. The issue there has more to do with "are we made special in creation as something of God's image or are we just another species of primate?"

It's those questions of purpose that is really at the heart, for me anyway, of the evolution/creationism debate...not so much how long the earth is, or the age of the universe.

And although it sounds like a Sunday school answer, the thought remains: If God couldn't create everything in a few days, what type of God would he be?

LOL...Scott, the Canadian depiction of Canadians on South Park is an exageration...our heads don't move disjointedly either.

D 4/2/2007 1:11 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: Great Evolutionary Post

This "argument from design" is the backbone of most recent attacks on evolution, but it is also one of the oldest. In 1802 theologian William Paley wrote that if one finds a pocket watch in a field, the most reasonable conclusion is that someone dropped it, not that natural forces created it there. By analogy, Paley argued, the complex structures of living things must be the handiwork of direct, divine invention. Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species as an answer to Paley: he explained how natural forces of selection, acting on inherited features, could gradually shape the evolution of ornate organic structures.

Generations of creationists have tried to counter Darwin by citing the example of the eye as a structure that could not have evolved. The eye's ability to provide vision depends on the perfect arrangement of its parts, these critics say. Natural selection could thus never favor the transitional forms needed during the eye's evolution--what good is half an eye? Anticipating this criticism, Darwin suggested that even "incomplete" eyes might confer benefits (such as helping creatures orient toward light) and thereby survive for further evolutionary refinement. Biology has vindicated Darwin: researchers have identified primitive eyes and light-sensing organs throughout the animal kingdom and have even tracked the evolutionary history of eyes through comparative genetics. (It now appears that in various families of organisms, eyes have evolved independently.)

Today's intelligent-design advocates are more sophisticated than their predecessors, but their arguments and goals are not fundamentally different. They criticize evolution by trying to demonstrate that it could not account for life as we know it and then insist that the only tenable alternative is that life was designed by an unidentified intelligence.

from: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-8E49809EC588EEDF&pageNumber=1&catID=2 4/8/2007 10:28 AM | rick ely

# re: Great Evolutionary Post

Scott Miller, she didn't say she was a Christian. She never specified if she believed in a Young Earth Creationists views. She's just saying she doesn't think evolution is possible.

I have no disbelief in evolution but it's refreshing to see (even if I don't agree with) someone with an actual opinion of their own once and a while. Everyone gathers their opinion from a collection of other people and their environment, but not everyone thinks about it on a critical level.

In that case it comes down to your ability to actually critically think and learn. I would like to think I have put more effort into it than she has, but regardless of whom is closer to the truth.. the fact that she has thought about it at all is mind blowing.. and it shouldn't be. Sad. 6/9/2008 2:34 AM | Brent

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