Sunday, August 01, 2004


Creation science, a/k/a Intelligent-design, and the folks who are laboring--really laboring--to somehow debunk the theory of evolution make me feel really bad. I feel so sorry for these people. If you take a look at some of their material (which is not hard 'cause they're happy to give you an ear-full, or an eye-full, as it were), it's not a very difficult to task to jab holes in pretty much all of their proposals. If I were a more cruel person than I am, it might even be a fun little game if you don't have something better to do (like study for a big-ass exam that constitutes one of the major hurdles of your young life... but that's me). The sad thing about most of the creationist arguments is not that they're stupid--in fact, I don't think most of them are stupid really--it's how grotesquely limited they are. No, no, let me try again. Their arguments demonstrate a real desire to limit their own minds. There are an awful lot of things, in science and philosophy, surely, but really wherever you look, that just have nothing at all to do with common sense. Physics has an awful lot of good examples of this phenomenon ("What was going on the moment before the Big Bang?" Answer: The question isn't sensible; there was no Time to talk about.) But I think evolutionary biology has a least one really good one. For one, even ridiculously improbable things become likely when you allow, say, a billion years for them to occur. This fact pretty much annihilates the majority of creationist arguments, by the way; in particular, the ones that claim that biology must provide a specific explanation of the origin of life, other than certain chemicals being near each other in some abundance. Just like "a point when there was no Time," the idea of billion years is really just goofy unless you're willing to do some real mental stretching. Okay, physics is hard. But surely, a billion years is much less hard.

What saddens me, I guess, is that these folks put so much effort into avoiding any mental stretching, to the point that they impose their own inflexibility on God. Why would you do that? It's not like God doesn't have the time to spend on a 12 billion year project. Actually, I think that if God managed to make a universe that actually builds itself by means of a handful of simple processes--well, that sounds particularly elegant to me. It saddens me because they put so much effort into hiding from the fact that the universe is just so finely wrought. And so strange that it might as well be heaven, or hell, or whatever you want.

While I'm gushing, here's my favorite quote of the moment:
"Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye."