Tag Archives: creationism

Evolutionary Just-So Story, Again!

So yet again we have a story of evolution that seems to say that evolution works like God, i.e., that it indulges in design. I am referring to an article recently published in the New York Times reporting on research into why the squid lost its shell. The phrasing of the article will, in the minds of the naive, create the impression that the squid lost its shell in order to move faster to escape its predators (shells being rather heavy and cumbersome). “The evolutionary pressures favored being nimble over being armored, and cephalopods started to lose their shells.” This seems to be an innocent enough statement, but its construction implies that the pressure to become nimble preceded and caused the loss of the shells.

That is design. It may not be God design, though one could easily make that leap, but it is design nonetheless.

Oh, if only they would read Lucretius!

Here’s what really happened: Originally, “squids” we shelled creatures; generation after generation were shelled. Occasionally, a genetic mutation or defect (call it what you will) resulted in progeny lacking shells. No doubt, most of these shell-less individuals quickly died or were eaten and left no progeny; but at some point, some of them survived (perhaps thanks to another mutation that enabled them to move more quickly than their shelled relatives) and reproduced, eventually giving rise to a new class of creatures, squids and octopuses, etc. In other words, the change occurred first, without intention or purpose, and the benefit followed. The change did not occur in order to confer the benefit. It just happened.

Of course, such changes often occur gradually, say by shrinking the shell over many generations, in what some have called “path dependency” (i.e., evolution follows an already established path and does not go backwards, in other words it doesn’t restore the shell to creatures who have lost it). But the principle remains the same: first the change, and then, if it happens to have an advantage, it sticks.

As Lucretius said, humans did not develop opposable thumbs in order to grasp tools; we can grasp tools because we have opposable thumbs.


Are We Alone?

Many people are fascinated by the Drake equation, which is said by enthusiasts (and Sheldon Cooper) to estimate the number of planets in the Milky Way Galaxy (or, in some minds, the universe) that could have intelligent life. Recent remote explorations of Mars have suggested that there may have been life on that planet at some time in the past, perhaps even that there is still some kind of microbial life there now. Science fiction thrives on speculation that other galaxies are inhabited by someone and/or that human beings could colonize other worlds. Elon Musk, inspired by his reading of the Dune and Foundation trilogies, believes that space colonization is the way to save humanity from extinction.

Supposedly more sober minds ponder the theological and philosophical implications of extraterrestrial life: Would religion survive such a revelation? Could our anthropocentric theologies survive the knowledge that there are other civilizations somewhere out there, which perhaps would have very different notions of both the questions and the answers that we think of as essential to religion? In Christian terms (and this seems to be a worry primarily within Christian cultures), did Christ die to save all those aliens, too? Or does each planet require its own redemption? Or are we the only planet to have fallen from grace (i.e., are all the other inhabited planets still in a state of Eden? Did their creatures in the image of God choose better than Adam and Eve? Are they, Gnostic-like, angels or demigods, watching our passion play unfold?)

Or worse. Would the discovery of (or our being discovered by) extraterrestrials put an end to religion for good? Some philosophers think so, and the discovery would certainly be an existential challenge to religion as we have always conceived it, that is, again, the Christian conception, which has always assumed a teleological narrative of history that puts mankind at the very center of the struggle between good (God, Jerusalem, spirit) and evil (Satan, Babylon, the flesh, etc.), culminating in the final triumph of good and the restoration of creation to its original innocence. This is not the narrative of Hinduism, Buddhism, and other non-Western religions, so perhaps for them the existence of extraterrestrials would be no problem.

It is both scientifically and popularly assumed that, given the infinity of space and the multi-multitudes of stars and planets, that there must be life elsewhere, likely many elsewheres, in the universe, some of which must be much more advanced than we are (oddly, the opposite, being much less advanced, is less often mentioned, but it’s perfectly possible that there are planets out there populated by nothing more complex than bacteria or slime mold); assumed even though we have no proof of any kind that in fact there are any other inhabited planets. So even if a scientist asserts his certain belief that there has to be life elsewhere in the universe he is indulging in science fiction or some form of religion.

But there is another possibility not to be unquestioningly dismissed, one that Marilynne Robinson posits in her most recent collection of essays, “The Givenness of Things”: What if “for all we know to the contrary, there is just one minor planet in a limitless field of stars where apple trees blossom and where songs are sung”? Would that not “grant an important centrality to that planet”? For Robinson that centrality would be a religious one; it would suggest that there is some likely divine reason for only one living planet, contrary as it is to (limited) human reason.

But even from a purely secularist viewpoint, to know that there is no other living planet, no other intelligent life than ourselves, and that if we were to go extinct there might not ever again be such intelligent life (no songs being sung, no theories being proposed, no knowledge of the kind we honor with that name); and worse, that if somehow we managed to extinguish all sensate life from this planet, perhaps never again to be formed; that to know that there is no escape or rescue, nor even an end to ourselves at the hands or tentacles of a superior alien race—to know that would put the responsibility for our own fate and that of all life permanently and squarely in our own hands and no others.

And isn’t that, from a practical point of view, exactly the position we are in? Colonies on Mars are a dangerous fantasy; colonies further out in the galaxy or the reaches of the universe more improbable than fairy tales. The human body evolved on this planet and is adapted (and adaptable) to no other. The location of any other planet that might have some form of life is many light years away—and remember that a light year means the distance it takes light a year to travel (5,878,499,810,000 miles); multiply that by 1400 to get the distance from earth to the nearest earth “twin,” a planet that by the way would be even less hospitable to humans than Mars. And of course, we know of no way to transport humans and cargo at anywhere near the speed of light. Planets even further out, and getting further away as the universe continues to expand, might as well, for practical purposes, not exist at all. In sum, it can make no difference to us if there are other inhabited planets. We are for all intents and purposes truly alone in the universe.

In Denial: Evolution and Climate Change

It would be hard not to notice that there is a link between denial of evolution and denial of climate change. Republican politicians hoping to get their party’s presidential nomination are almost unanimous in their denial of both. Yes, they tend to be mealy-mouthed about it when directly queried, but their policies and legislative voting records show clearly where they stand. It is also true that in general, conservatives tend to be skeptical of both, but particularly of climate change. They appear to be heavily immunized against the facts in both cases. They are what we can call explicit deniers.

Then there are the implicit deniers: those who explicitly accept both evolution and climate change, and further that human activities are a primary cause of the latter. They generally tend to be within a range that spreads from moderate conservatives through centrist to liberals and leftists. A significant number of them are Democrats, though there are Republicans within their ranks. But the majority of them act as if neither evolution nor (human caused) global warming were true; that’s what makes them implicit deniers.

Let’s begin with the implicit deniers of climate change. These are the people who religiously recycle their plastic water bottles, who shop at Whole Foods, who adopt advanced technologies to regulate their air conditioners, and seriously consider miles-per-gallon when they purchase a new car. Generally, they lead what can be called a conscientious middle-class lifestyle. Meaning that despite their convictions, they buy a lot of stuff. They drive a lot of miles, fly to a lot of distant places, charge a lot of cell phones and iPads, watch a lot of movies and stylish Netflix series at home, etc. They believe that a life of abundance, in the American style, can be maintained in the face of impending disaster. Their consumer lifestyle is so deeply embedded that even non-profit organizations dedicated to saving the environment and threatened species have to entice their donations by offerings of tee shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, and other “free gifts.” By their lifestyles you shall know them—as implicit climate change deniers.

Implicit deniers of evolution may be more interesting. For despite a central fact of evolution, that violence is at the heart of the struggle for existence, that eat and be eaten is the millions-of-years old means by which natural selection occurs, they nonetheless profess to be baffled by human violence, both to other creatures and to fellow humans. For some reason, they believe that violence is unnatural and that great violence is inhuman, despite the obvious fact that it is humans who act violently. Which is rather like accusing lions of being inlion, or sharks of unsharklike behavior. True, lions and sharks are “innocent,” in that they are acting according to instincts and are incapable of being aware of the immorality of their actions, and true, apparently only humans can have such awareness. But that does not mean that human violence is monstrous, inhuman, not normal, or the result wholly of culture or some other external cause. Violence is as instinctive to humans as it is to any other animal. It is, as Paul Bloom once wrote, an adaptation, not an aberration.

The animality of human beings is something that the middle-class urban and suburban lifestyle can obscure. The killing that makes that lifestyle possible is conducted at an unseen, unsmelled distance. We can eat our hamburgers, our veal, our Thanksgiving ham and turkey without having to think about the animals they were or the way they were killed and butchered before their various body parts appeared neatly wrapped in plastic in our air-conditioned supermarkets. We are unfamiliar with the smell of blood and manure; we can flush away our own manure without having to give its disposal much thought. Likewise, for us the killing of other human beings occurs at a distance, in other lands by professionals. Our own lives are insullated from violence and consequently we consider it aberrational rather than essential.

But consider the testimony of someone who has felt violence in all its instinctive glory. Tim Zaal, a former skinhead who now speaks on tolerance at the Museum of Violence in Los Angeles, recalls that extreme violence was a kind of high, an exhilaration of adrenaline, a supreme, energizing pleasure; it made him feel “elated.” The more violent he was, the greater the high (though like all highs, it was short lived). Rather than turning away from extreme violence, soldiers often revel in it—war, it has been said, is the supreme experience of sublimity and comradeship—which perhaps at least partially explains the difficulty battle-seasoned soldiers have in returning to the routines of civilian life. (One of the destabilizing factors in German society was the large number of demobilized WWI soldiers who so missed the camaraderie and heightened emotions of war that they recreated war on the streets of Germany. They were in many cases the first to support Hitler, himself a veteran who wrote lovingly about his war experience.)

We have virtually no control over the level of all the various hormones produced by our bodies nor over their effects on our brains and behavior. They evolved not in response to culture or education, but to the life-or-death circumstances of our ancestors’ lives—and not so distant ancestors at that. Human progress in moral thought has been in lockstep with the worst explosions of atavistic violence in human history. There is no reason to think that we can eliminate the instincts for violence in our own short lifetimes.

There is also little reason to believe that human beings will see the truth of climate change and collectively do something about it before it is too late. To do something, really to do, would require a level of self-denial that humans have not shown themselves to be capable of. Prophets of all kinds have railed against our materialism for generations, and generations of listeners have nodded their heads in agreement, yet we continue as we always have, consuming the earth faster than ever before. Just as one example, according to the OECD, energy consumption worldwide doubled between 1973 and 2012; so too have carbon dioxide emissions. The first Earth Day occurred April 22, 1970. Rather than reduce our lifestyles to a sustainable level, rather than distribute consumption in an equitable manner, we have instead expanded our consumption. We say that we want to save the planet, but the politicians we reward are those who promise to expand the economy, to maintain growth in GDP. We will not make the needed sacrifices even as the developing world labors to mimic our American consumption habits. It is instinctive to want. To want is to survive. To survive is to engage in violence. It is a paradox that our instinct for self-preservation is the very thing that will block our willingness to do anything about climate change, just as our instinctive violence will short circuit our hopes for world peace.

Whether implicitly or explicitly, to deny evolution, not just the fact that it occurred (which only the explicit deniers deny) but the heart of the mechanisms by which it occurred, i.e., the theory that explains it, is to preserve the illusion that human beings are special, the exception to the rules that constrain all other living creatures. Dinosaurs, passenger pigeons, and dodo birds can go extinct, but humans cannot. They were subject to the inexorable laws of evolution, but we implicit deniers don’t really believe that we are.

As long as we continue to believe that, we are doomed.

The Mismeasure of All Things

Some 2500 years ago, Protagoras said that man is the measure of all things. By this he meant something like, mankind can know only that which it is capable of knowing, which in effect is a recognition that the human mind does have its limits; but Protagoras’ statement has often been taken to mean that man is the standard by which all other things are to be measured, i.e., that mankind is the standard of comparison for judging the worth of everything else. This meaning may have been colored by the Christian concept of man as the object of divine history, of man as just a little lower than the angels. The Christian concept, in its turn, derives from a common interpretation of the creation story in Genesis, in which God gives man dominion over the rest of earthly creation.

However, while both Protagoras’ saying and the Genesis story carry the concept forward through history, neither explains how the idea actually originated. It may have been Giambattista Vico (1668-1744) who first recognized that it is ignorance rather than knowledge that makes man the measure of all things: “When men are ignorant of natural causes producing things, and cannot even explain them by analogy with similar things, they attribute their own nature to them.” That is, when primitive men and women surveyed the world and sought explanations of phenomena, they had nothing to go by other than what they knew about themselves, so that, for example, a terrible destructive storm could be explained as the anger of the gods, since when human beings became angry they too engaged in destructive behavior; or when a gentle rain caused plants to grow, the gods were in a good mood, perhaps pleased by some human act of worship, because when humans were in a good mood, they engaged in benevolent acts. After all, the earliest humans could not have had any knowledge of the material causes of storms, droughts, etc., nor of course of animal behavior, which they attributed to motives much like their own. As Stephen Toulmin and June Goodfield summarize Vico’s views, in primitive mythologies people “could measure the world of Nature only by that which they already knew—namely themselves” (The Discovery of Time).

Both Protagoras and Genesis simply give more sophisticated glosses on this primitive impulse. They reflect the increasing body and complexity of knowledge developed by ancient civilizations, particularly those that had developed writing systems, which in turn enabled them to impose order on what had been a plethora of local myths and their variants. Simply by creating relatively coherent pantheons containing gods with discreet attributes, roles, and positions in a divine hierarchy, ancient civilizations were able to organize their intellectual world and provide authoritative explanations. Monotheism carried this further, by providing an even more unified world view, but it also somewhat depersonalized the concept of God, making him more abstract and less personal (e.g., no images or idols, no household god or genie of the local spring, etc.). This was an important achievement in the ongoing development of knowledge, a necessary step in the process that led to the state of knowledge we enjoy today, in large part because it put more emphasis on cerebral, intellectual rather than personal and experiential modes of understanding—in a sense, creating theory to replace myth. Thus we see the Greek philosophers creating the first science and the Jews creating the first inklings of theology and, importantly, teleology (a sense of history with a goal towards which it was moving). Nevertheless, the Judeo-Christian god retained strong anthropomorphic features, especially in the popular imagination and in visual arts, in which, for example, God the Father was usually depicted as a white-haired old man. Perhaps as long as most people were illiterate and dependent on visual media for their abstract knowledge, anthropomorphism was to be expected.

The Western European, Christian intellectual (literate) tradition combined these two strands of ancient thought, the scientific/philosophical with the historic/teleological, setting the stage for a modern world view that sees the world as making coherent sense and as operating according to consistent, universal laws, which then can be exploited by human beings for their own betterment. As scientific knowledge expanded and material explanations could be provided for phenomena that once were viewed as signs of divine intervention, God receded to the back of men’s minds as less necessary to explain the world—at best, perhaps, He became little more than the Prime Mover, the one who got it all started or the one who established the universal laws which continue to operate without His immediate intervention. But if the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment put God into retirement, it did not give up the belief in coherent laws and the quest for universal theories, nor did it give up the teleological view of history.

It is important to note that the teleological view is always a human-centered view; history, whether of cosmos, nature, or society, was still about man; very few thinkers hazarded to speculate that man might be merely one among many creatures and phenomena rather than the point of the whole enterprise. In this sense, at least, the early modern era retained the primitive impulse to both anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism. The widespread acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection did little, indeed perhaps nothing, to change that for most people. It was not difficult to switch from believing that God had created man for dominion over nature and as the center of the historical story of fall and redemption, to believing that evolution is teleological, both in the sense of inevitably leading to the emergence of homo sapiens as the crowning outcome of the evolutionary process and in the sense of evolution as a progressive process. And it was easy enough, in the context of nineteenth-century capitalism, to believe that modern industrial culture was the natural continuation of progressive evolution—indeed was its goal.

It took a generation or more for it to dawn on people that Darwinism, along with the geological discoveries regarding the great age of the earth and the astronomers’ and physicists’ discoveries of the even greater age of the universe, implied there is no god at all, not even the reticent god of the Deists. One would think that once this implication struck home, both the teleological and the anthropocentric views would fade away. But, perhaps due to human vanity, neither has done so.

In a supremely ironic twist, both teleology and anthropocentrism have been inverted. Whereas the theological age measured other creatures in human terms, the evolutionary age measures humans in animal terms. We are no longer a little lower than the angels but only a little bit higher than the other animals—or maybe not even that. We are naked apes, talking apes, singing apes. We are like social insects, we are vertebrates, we are aggressive because we are animals seeking to maximize our survival, we are merely transportation for the real biological players, selfish genes. We are not rational or conscious, we do not have free will, we operate by instinct, each of our seemingly advanced traits is hard-wired. Our morality is nothing more than an adaptation. We take a word like altruism, which originally meant a certain kind of human behavior, apply it to ants, where it becomes a description of instinctive eusocial behavior, and then re-apply that meaning back onto humans. Thus making us just like all the other animals. Therefore, we study them in order to understand ourselves. We focus on the similarities (often slim) and ignore the differences (often radical).

This continues the old habit of anthropomorphism in new guise and fails to recognize the independent existence of other creatures—their independent lines of evolution as well as their ontological separateness from us. We unthinkingly repeat that humans and chimps share 96 percent of their genes (or is it 98 percent?), as if that meant something—but then, it’s said we share 97 percent of our genes with rats. We neglect to mention that apes and humans diverged from each other some 7 to 8 million years ago and have followed independent lines of evolution ever since. We are not apes after all.

Consider the fruit fly, that ubiquitous laboratory subject which has yielded so much knowledge of how genes work. It is often cited as a model of human genetics and evolution. But consider what Michael Dickinson, a scientist (he calls himself a neuroethologist) at the University of Washington (Seattle), has to say about fruit flies: “I don’t think they’re a simple model of anything. If flies are a great model, they’re a great model for flies.” To me, this is a great insight, for it recognizes that fruit flies (and, frankly, insects in general) are so other than like us that to study them as if they were a model of anything other than themselves, as a model of us, is in a sense not to study them at all. It is rather to look into their compound eyes as if they were mirrors showing our own reflections. It is a form of narcissism, which perhaps contains our own demise.

Our demise because in continuing to look at nature as being about ourselves we continue the gross error of believing we can manipulate nature, other organisms, the entire world, to our own narrow purposes without consequences. It turns other organisms into harbingers of homo sapiens, narrows research to that which will “benefit” mankind, and misses the very strangeness of life in all its diversity and complexity. It continues the age-old world view of human dominion and fails to recognize that our “dominion” is neither a biological necessity nor a feature of the natural world. Dominion is a dangerous form of narcissism which a maturely scientific age should discard.

Creationism and Fossil Fuels

Although it has become increasingly difficult to define “conservatism,” given the many political and social positions contained by that term, one position that has been consistent is the view that Americans should be able to consume oil and the other fossil fuels as we have done for the last century, and that we should exploit every possible source of those fuels regardless of the damage such exploitation may inflict on people and the environment.  A corollary of this belief is that warnings of peak oil and global warming can either be safely ignored (technology will save us) or are massive hoaxes perpetrated by a conspiracy of socialists.  While conservatives delight in pointing to the demise of Solyndra as an example of the inevitable failure of alternative energy, they neglect to mention the continuing costs of the Gulf oil spill.  The people who subscribe to the conservative position on energy and global warming include a vast array of Americans:  middle-class suburbanites who feel that their way of life is threatened; Wall Street types who profit from investing in oil and gas futures; workers and owners within the fossil fuels industries whose paychecks and profits are threatened; and the general consumer, who may recycle shopping bags but wants to continue to fill those bags with consumer products.  These are largely people motivated by understandable, if nonetheless misguided, material self interest.

However, to be counted among the conservatives who share these views on energy and environment are a particularly politically powerful group, the fundamentalist Christians, who, in addition to the material self-interest motive, have an ideological or myth-based motive for denying peak oil and global warming.  They also believe that dire warnings of “peak oil” and global warming are hoaxes, perpetrated by evolutionists and atheists.

As I discussed in an earlier post, there is nothing about either peak oil or environmental disaster that is contrary to the Bible’s moral and prophetic verses and no reason to believe that God would not use manmade global warming as a means of punishing sinful man (or, for that matter, as a means of igniting Armageddon).  There should therefore be no logical conflict between being a Christian and being an environmentalist of the most extreme sort.  Yet such a conflict does exist, and the hostility of fundamentalists (as well as other political conservatives) is well-documented and deep.  If you want to get a fundamentalist Christian bug-eyed, just mention Al Gore.

What, then, accounts for fundamentalists’ hostility to peak oil, energy conservation and alternatives, and global warming?  These politically conservative fundamentalist Christians believe in the young-earth version of creationism, that the earth is only 6000 years old, and reject evolution.  Their hostility towards Darwinism is as intense as their hostility towards global warming.  And because they do not accept evolution and do not accept that the earth is millions of years old, they cannot accept the fossil record as evidence for evolution nor can they accept that fossil fuels are indeed “fossil.”  Nothing is old enough to support either evolution or the current accepted theories of evolution or the formation of oil, natural gas, and coal.

How, then, did fossils come to be?  How did the vast deposits of fossil fuels come to be?

In the case of fossils, they are the evidence of Noah’s flood, not evidence of millions of years of evolution.  The flood was such a great cataclysm that it unleashed forces capable of creating fossils, which creationist say can only be formed quickly, before bodies decay, and not by the slow processes they believe mainstream scientists espouse.  They also believe that the scientific procedures that lead mainstream scientists to believe that the fossil record is indeed a record of evolution are engaged in an intellectual shell game, as typified by this quotation from an article posted on the Institute for Creation Research website:  “Evolutionary ‘history’ continuously morphs to accommodate fossil data, showing that evolution is primarily conceptual—not scientific.”  In other words, when scientists discover a new fossil of a previously unknown species and, after careful analysis and discussion, adjust their picture of the evolutionary tree of, say, dinosaurs or birds, they are not modifying their hypotheses to conform to the additional data.  No, they are “morphing” their theory to “accommodate fossil data.” Apparently, theory must come first and foremost, and data must conform to the theory or be forced into a shape that will confirm the theory.  This is an intriguing thing to say, and explains why there is never any point in discussing any issue, philosophical, political, scientific, or otherwise, with a fundamentalist; you will always run into the solid lead wall of this inside-out reasoning.

It is not only fossils that the creationists say were formed by the Flood; coal and oil deposits were also.  The accepted theory holds that oil was formed some 350 million years ago during the carboniferous era, when the earth was considerably warmer and there were many more plants and swamps.  As these plants died, they decomposed in the swamps, building up layers of peat-like materials which eventually, under geological pressures, formed deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas.  Obviously, this took a while, but more importantly, the carboniferous era eventually ended, the earth cooled, living things changed, and the process that formed the fossil fuels came to an end; that means that however much of this stuff there is, the supply is nonetheless limited—it is possible for human beings to burn it all up.  This latter possibility goes by the term “peak oil,” i.e., that we humans will have or already have passed the point at which the amounts we can extract from the earth have peaked or reached their maximum and will begin to decline.  Interestingly, it is the oil industry itself that is most concerned by this likelihood, as are defense departments in both the United States and Germany (among others).  These are not crazy hippie commie environmentalist kooks.

However, according to some creationists, oil was not formed in this manner.  Ever hear of abiotic oil?  Not many people in the United States have, but some creationists have, and they love the theory (originally developed in the Soviet Union).  According to the abiotic theory, oil was formed by chemical and geological processes deep in the earth’s mantle; the stuff we see and pump closer to the surface are bits of that deeper oil that over time have oozed upward.  But most of the abiotic oil is still there, deep in the ground, so there is no diminution of oil deposits.  All we have to do is wait for more of it to ooze up to within harvestable range or develop the ability to drill deeper, much much deeper, to get at it.  Problem solved!  God wants us to “drill, baby, drill” and “burn, baby, burn.”

Unfortunately, there is no evidence that abiotic oil exists.  It is a “theory” in the vernacular sense, that is a speculation, supported only by some clever calculations and a few lab experiments.  There were no labs millions of years ago, and most products of laboratories are artificial rather than natural.  No evidence exists that the processes modeled by computer programs or lab experiments have ever in fact occurred at any point in the earth’s history.  One wonders how one would ever prove it, given the practical impossibility of ever drilling down that deeply into the planet.  There are limitations, after all, and if we can’t get at it, for all practical or feasible purposes, it does not exist.  Abiotic oil is a red herring.

On the other hand, there are tantalizing hints that at least some fundamentalists have an altogether different, and one might say more sinister, agenda, that keeping up our oil consumption will hasten the repeatedly postponed arrival of the End Times, in all its apocalyptic glories.  After all, Armageddon is supposed to take place in the Middle East, with Israel as its epicenter.  With so much oil in the region, what better place to situate the lake of fire and brimstone.  So the following quotation, which at first puzzled me, makes sense:  “Without the energy stored in these dwindling fossils, man’s rush toward greater sin and judgment in these latter days would almost certainly be hindered.”  Rushing towards sin and judgment will have the much desired effect of hastening the glorious end.  Imagine the grim pleasure the saved will derive from viewing this spectacle!  Hindering the rush through wise stewardship of our limited resources in a world of increasing demand postpones the fun.

For an interesting article on climate change and geopolitics, by Thomas Friedman, click here.

Evolution and Creationism: Consider the Botfly

In the United States at least, the argument from design has traditionally been used to support a literal reading of the Genesis account of creation (setting aside the fact that Genesis offers two versions), and there remain today many people who believe in the “young earth theory” and that fossils and other indications of great swaths of geologic and cosmic time are simply erroneously interpreted by scientists or deliberate deceptions by God meant to trip up the proud and faithless.  Other creationists, however, conceding to the scientific evidence for great stretches of time and for evolution, resort to the dodge of Intelligent Design.  One has to fan away a great deal of smoke before one can get to the fundamental theses of the proponents of ID, and even then one may not be sure exactly what they believe.

Go to the Evolution and Creationism page to read the full essay.