Posts tagged ‘evolution’
At the moment, the consensus in the scientific community is that the universe originated in a “Big Bang.” While that may be hotly contested by the religious community, there are certain facts that make the theory hard to easily dispel. One of those facts is that astronomers can observe the visible universe moving further and further away at increasing speed in all directions (and no we are not at the center of the universe.)
Some of the questions raised by those opposed to the theory are “what happened to cause the Big Bang?”, and “where did all that stuff come from?” Just such a question was mentioned by John, a 15 year old also struggling with matters of faith and reason, who commented on my previous post “Branding an Adolescent Mind”:
Although, i speak to anyone willing to try to convert me but i have never heard anything that really made me wonder about the truthfullness of their beliefs. The one line that i really couldn’t answer was, ‘despite from the big bang and any of those scientific beliefs, where did all that matter come from?’ My only answer i could give to that christian crusader was, ‘Who are you to say that it all began from a superior being or entity, for some reason, deciding this should be and made it happen?’
Before I make an amateur attempt to answer that question, I want to say that science isn’t about having the one right answer…
A few years ago, my husband and I drove from Colorado to Nevada. I was enthralled by the rock formations along the way, particularly in Utah. Yellow, red, green, and purple hues covered the mountainscape like watercolor paints gently brushed onto a canvas. The soft colors were in stark contrast to the rugged shape of the landscape. In some places, jagged cliffs predominated. In others, formations of hard rocks were balanced on top of softer stone that had eroded leaving the impression that the landscape had been chiseled away by an ancient Michelangelo. Still other sections were filled with flowing rock formations that looked like piles of sand had slowly broken off of the surface of the mountain and slipped down around its ankles like a crumpled silk robe.
The beauty of the mountains alone is enough to inspire awe, but learning about geology and understanding that millions of years of erosion have sculpted layers of sedimentary rock into the buttes, mesas, and curvaceous canyons I saw along the highway deepened my appreciation for the scenery.
When I was younger and a born again Christian, my curiosity about nature was stifled by the belief that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that the entire universe had been created by God in six days.
Although that belief eventually made the universe seem small and claustrophobic to me, at the time, I found solace and inspiration in the idea of creation…
For those of you who can count past ten, and are fundamentalists, I invite you to play a little game with me. (In the figures below, I have actually taken the most conservative estimate on dates and numbers.)
Imagine that one second represents a thousand years. We’re about to count, and count back in time. As you count, the years fly by in reverse order.
That’s all for now. One second. In the blink of an eye we’ve just skipped past every football match ever played, the landing on the moon, the first and second world wars, the invention of the aeroplane, the advent of guns, the renaissance; the germ theory of disease by Pasteur, the discovery of the circulatory system by Harvey, the skeletal structure by Galen. The works of Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, Bach. The beauty of masterpieces by Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Monet. The Dark Ages, the Crusades, the Black Death.
We’ve come a long way haven’t we?
Let’s look at things from a biological point of view. Count with me…
The danger and the pain of the conflict between pre- and post-Enlightenment cultures were illustrated in a recent court ruling fining Westboro Baptist Church, Topeka, Kansas, £5.2 million.
The church comprises around 70 members of the pastor’s (Fred Phelps) extended family. For years the church has denounced homosexuality and picketed the funerals of Aids victims. However, they later extended their pickets to the funerals of soldiers, who they say are being punished by God because of America’s tolerance of homosexuality. Last year, they caused outrage when they attended the funeral of Matthew Snyder with signs reading “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “You’re going to hell”.
Matthew’s father, Albert Snyder, wept when he heard the verdict. “I hope it’s enough to deter them from doing this to other families. It was not about the money. It was about getting them to stop.”
Daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper – co-defendant along with another daughter, Rebecca Phelps-Davis – vowed to continue picketing military funerals…
The last time I wrote on this site I was concerned with the “meaning of life” (in parts one and two). The theme continues in this post (as well as a continuation from one of Simen’s articles), but only because the questions I have been asking myself and others has consistently led back to one answer, despite the variety of questions. I have been asking myself why I believe what I did when I was an evangelical Christian and why others continue to believe what they do – in relation to that which we cannot perceive by the five senses. Granted, there are many of those who simply do not engage in such self-reflection. This is as common among non-religionists as it is religionists. However, if you visit sites such as this one or even your favourite seminarian blog, then you probably do think about the deeper aspects of life – continually questioning your own assumptions and conclusions as well as others.
When I took a “Christianity and Contemporary Thought” course at my Bible college, one of our texts included James W. Sire’s The Universe Next Door. The book is essentially an oversimplified, biased walk-through of some major philosophical worldviews without too much polemic…
Posted on September 2, 2007 @ 09:47:27 EDT
Author Leonard David
The hunt for evidence that a 980-foot long feature on Mt. Ararat in Turkey might be the remains of Noah’s Ark has taken on a new dimension, quite literally.
Satellite Imaging Corporation of Houston, Texas has created a 3D terrain model of the so-called “Mt. Ararat anomaly” – making use of stereo IKONOS satellite image data to create a flyover of the site in remote northeastern Turkey…