A Matter of Belief
I recently had a discussion with a relative about Evolution. I don't often have these discussions because as a rule I don't discuss religion with Christians or Muslims unless they are the type that are open and educated as to the origins of thier "holy books." We were dicussing homo-erectus and I said: "well so long as you can teach the science in school."
This prompted the usual comment of:" You can't tell me man come from monkey. A person at work told me we come from monkey so I asked him to drop his pants and show me his tail." This was all very funny, but underscored the fact that most people have no clue about the actual theory of Evolution. The most common argument I hear from Christians are that they are waiting to see the monkeys in the zoo give birth to a human. I allways tell them not to hold thier breath.
I thought to myself during the conversation that it is pretty facinating that a person would reject the notion that humans came from some other lifeform, like babies come out of people, in favor of an idea that man just popped up on Earth some 6000 years ago after a 6 day creation binge by God. On the face of it, the God story is pretty mch out there. It's kinda like the "dog ate my homework"
But I understand why so many people are drawn to this line of thinking which is actually not thinking. Firstly, this notion of being specially created by God plays to the human ego. We're special. We are SO special that God not only made us, but made us in his own image. I mean if I had low self-esteem this alone could work wonders. Not only did God make me in his image but by jove HE LOVES ME PERSONALLY! I mean I admit this is a strong message for someone seeking acceptance in a very cold and cruel world. Compared to the alternative given by science that you're here by a confluence of random events and coincidences. I can see why someone would cling to such an idea.
Secondly, this idea does not requre much brain work, which would explain, unfortunately why the more educated a person is the more likely they will reject the idea of "direct divine creation." or at the least be willing to question it. For the layperson all they have to do when challenged on thier idea of creation is say "the Bible says so." Or "I have faith." I mean how much easier can it be. The rest of us have to go and gather evidence, do research, read, think. Clearly theire is an incentive among the IQ challenged to go the easy route and say: "Bible says so." Does this mean that all "believers" have a low IQ? Not at all. Intelligent people do stupid things all the time but without fail, most people who insist on "direct divine creation" are those who are they least informed on the science.
Now a days some of the more adamant and more informed have attempted to end run the science by claiming "Intelligent Design." Intelligent design basically takes some of the science of evolution and says that instead of accidents, God (or some intelligence) directed all of this.
Oddly enough this is how the Khemites (Egyptians) explained creation. Of course the big problem with "Intelligent Design" is that it attempts to provide an explanation without proof. That makes it non-science. Science says you must prove what you postulate. How does one test for the existance of "intelligence?" Everything I've read on Intelligent Design, lacks the "intelligence test." so either one must go to some religious authority, which then makes it religion and not science; or you admit you don't know. Now the theory of Evolution admits things it doesn't know. That is why it is a theory. But it is a theory based on tested facts and not wishful thinking.
I was in one religious bookstore where they had DVD's of things in nature that "defy" evolution. Despite the flashy cover, which will no doubt impress upon the buyer that this is "
hard stuff." the samples simply did not wash. The DVD's focused on what are called "evolutionary dead ends" and anomalies like people with 6 fingers. Realy bad science. AS usual there were no materials of the opposing view so the people who watch these videos can stay insulated in their small world and claim to know something they do not.
Back to the tail though. I was going to tell this relative that there are many people, many of whome are Caucasian, that are born with tails that are surgically removed soon after birth. But I doubt that would have changed thier mind. besides they need that special belief to make it through the day and I'm not the type to simply shatter dreams.