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Religion And Evolution Essay, Research Paper

Religion & Evolution

In my short life on this planet I have come to question things that many take upon

blind faith. We all know that we must some day die; yet we continuously deny the

forces at work inside ourselves, which want to search out the answers of what may

or may not come after. It is far easier for humanity to accept that they will go to a

safe haven and be rewarded for their lives with pleasures and fantasies of an

unfathomable scale than to question the existence of a supposed omnipotent being.

Yet, there are a few of us humans who tend to question the why?s and wherefore?s

that society puts forth to us. We question the existence of God, or the creation of

mankind rather than blindly accepting faith-filled beliefs we may received from our

parents as children. Perhaps it is because we live in a nation filled with many

peoples of different beliefs whose Gods are all so varied and different that it is

difficult to fathom that they are all the same divine being. It is also plausible that

we just have a desire to quench the thirst for knowledge that lies deep within

ourselves. As for myself, I cannot believe in a being which created a universe and a

multitude of worlds in a rather short period of time then deigns to lower itself into

becoming a puppet-master and “pulling the strings” of the Earth and all of the

people therein.

Since this paper touches upon many scientific terms, I feel that in order for the

reader to correctly grasp the content I must first define three words: Theory, Law,

and Hypothesis. The definitions will allow for a greater understanding of this essay

and give us an even ground upon which to begin.

Theory; noun

1. a. Systematically organized knowledge applicable in a relatively wide variety of

circumstances, especially a system of assumptions, accepted principles, and rules of

procedure devised to analyze, predict, or otherwise explain the nature or behavior of

a specified set of phenomena. b. Such knowledge or such a system.

2. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

Law; (l”) noun

12. a. A formulation describing a relationship observed to be invariable between or

among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met: the law of

gravity. b. A generalization based on consistent experience or results: the law of

supply and demand; the law of averages.

Hypothesis; noun

1. A tentative explanation that accounts for a set of facts and can be tested by

further investigation; a theory.

2. Something taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation; an

assumption.

It is important that you thoroughly read the above definitions or you will be at a

disadvantage if you do not. You will note that there are several different definitions

to each word. I felt it was important to include the added definitive statement to

theory because it shows the difference between a scientific theory and an

“everyday” theory based upon conjecture. The additional definitions to law and

hypothesis are both added for a further understanding of these words.

The definition of creationism is somewhat more complex. One must start by saying

that the belief in the creation of the universe given at the beginning of the Bible is

literally true. Creationism is a belief based solely upon faith (which is a belief in and

of itself). There are no scientific facts as a basis for this belief, solely conjectural

theories and speculations. It is ingrained into our minds, as children that a belief of

a force, or supernatural entity, which is all powerful and all knowing, is watching

over us and taking care of our needs. Yet, to me, saying this very sort of thing is

heretical in its very essence. To be so crude as to think that some being which

created the universe itself and all things in it would take the time to care for each

and every individual is incomprehensible. In practically all ancient cultures, the

biblical included, the universe was thought of as an original chaos into which order

had been introduced by a creative hand: This was the essence of creation.1 In this

statement alone we can see one of the major flaws of creationism. While science

can prove without doubt the universe up to the first 20 milliseconds of existence, we

cannot prove anything before that point at this time. The statement above,

regarding creationism, suggests that there was no beginning, only chaos.

Subsequently this “creative hand” structured the order of the universe out of chaos

and applied physical laws to that chaos so it would form itself into motion and order.

Yet, creationism as a whole does not touch base upon what came before the chaos.

While science admits that there was a time in which different laws and order

applied; creationism attempts to deny this existence by saying that there was

always something. For if there was indeed a beginning and there was no God before

this time, where did God come from? We can scientifically prove that there was a

beginning. We cannot yet ascertain what was before this beginning, but we now

know that there was one. To suggest that the universe has always existed is a mere

myth today. Much like the myth that the world was once flat. Today, we take for

granted that the world is indeed round, for have we not seen pictures from the

space shuttle in orbit of the earth. Not to mention the multitude of orbital shots

from satellites. Consequently we would consider it preposterous if someone

attempted to tell us that the world is a flat surface. Yet, upon blind faith, some are

content to believe that a “creative hand” structured this existence. Although the

figures (Gods) differ from mythos to mythos, all the ancient stories intend simply to

give a poetic accounting for cosmic origins.2

In the scientific community there is a well known and accepted theory known as the

“Big Bang Theory”. Most people know of this theory because they were taught it in

school. Yet it usually contradicted what their parents and pastors taught them in

church. As a result, the Big Bang Theory was generally discarded as something that

intellectual minds which cannot exist upon the true faith alone, must accept as

truth. The Big Bang Theory is stated in condensed form as follows. As the universe

expanded, the residual radiation from the big bang would continue to cool, until now

it should be a temperature of about 3 K (about -270? C/-454? F). This relic

radiation was detected by radio astronomy in 1965, thereby providing what most

astronomers consider to be confirmation of the big bang theory.3 In this statement

we have our first of arguments over creationism by evolution. We have the

beginnings of a proof that there was a time or rather, I should say, a point in time

where there was indeed nothing.

Many creationists will argue that the universe is too ordered; the path of the planets

(which meant wanderers, or great wanderers in early Grecian society) is too

ordered, too perfect. I will start by asking you to attempt to define perfect (as it

existed at that time). In the creationalistic point of view, a person might write it off

as the act of God. It was his divine will that moved the planets together in such a

way as to be able to support life. Or you could ask the more worldly scientist who

would explain to you about the Law of Probability, the Theory of Relativity, and

show you lengthy mathematical equations dealing with Quantum and Theoretical

Physics. In the end, you would likely have a headache of immense size, but come

away with perhaps a better understanding of how the order of events, and the laws

which created, ordered and structured the planets to exist as they do. Many

creationism fanatics will also attempt to dissuade the argument of evolution by

saying that the Big Bang is merely a theory. The only reply that the scientific world

can refute this with is the fact that relativity and gravity, are also theories. This

argument by creationists is obviously not in their favor.

The creation of the universe by scientific means is a world-wide theory that many

creationists refute simply because it goes against their beliefs. Yet to understand

evolution to its fullest, we must further investigate life, or rather human life. We ask

questions like: How did we evolve from amoebae? Are you trying to tell me that I

evolved from an ape? If we are evolving in such a manner as described, why can we

not see it daily? Since these are all very good questions, I will touch base upon

them all.

Approximately seven-hundred or eight-hundred million years ago life was first

known on this planet in the form of single-celled organisms called procaryotes, not

amoebae. Over time these unicellular organisms diversified into an array of adaptive

types. Scientists hypothesize that many advanced cells (eucaryotes) may have

evolved through amalgamation of a number of distinct simple cell types.

Single-celled eucaryotes then developed complex modes of living and advanced

types of reproduction that led to the appearance of multicellular plants and animals.

The latter are first known from about seven-hundred million years ago, and their

appearance implies that at least moderate levels of free atmospheric oxygen and a

relatively predictable supply of food plants had been achieved.4 Through a long and

drawn out process life eventually formed into that of mammals and dinosaurs.

However, approximately sixty-five million years ago the dinosaur specie was

completely eradicated (perhaps by way of natural selection), which left only

mammals.

Approximately two million years ago humanity began to show its evolution in the

order of the universe. Humans originally belonged to an order of mammals, the

primates, which existed before the dinosaurs became extinct. This development of

descending from tree habitats to forest floors and eventually to more open country

was associated with the development of many unique features of the human

primate, such as erect posture and reduced canine teeth, which suggests new habits

of feeding. However, while humanity did evolve from a primate ancestor, it did not

evolve directly from an ape-like specie. Humans as well as apes both evolved from

the same primate specie, but each branched in different directions to become apes

in one specie and humans in another specie.

Yet, you ask that if this is the case, and humanity has evolved from primates in

such a short period of time, why can we not see the evolutionary process taking

place today? The answer is a simple one. I know of no human which has lived for

two-million years. Which in and of itself is not a very valid argument for this case,

but nevertheless a substantial point at any rate. However, if we were to be more

objective about the process of human evolution we would see that in the life span of

the earth we are still a relatively young race. Dinosaurs, for example, inhabited this

planet for over one-hundred-thirty-five million years. In relative view of this

information, we can see that humans have only been in existence for approximately

1/60th of the time that dinosaurs existed. With this in mind, we can further grasp

that the process of evolution is a very slow process which requires an almost

incomprehensible scale of time to our limited lifespans.

While I realize that many points, and beliefs were not touched upon in this essay I

did attempt to cover as much ground as possible in as short a space as possible. It

is painfully clear to me that an existence based upon blind faith is no longer an

acceptable tradition. The ideas of creationism are far outweighed by the Laws and

Theories of evolution. While there are understandably a great many men who have

spent a vast amount of time in scribing the Bible, we must realize that they were

indeed men, not Gods and the bible is, actually, only a book. To believe the

contents of that book completely, one must have unwavering faith in the validity of

its concepts and the precepts upon which its religion is based. One of the striking

and perhaps most intriguing points of interest that I have stumbled upon is the lack

of education of creationism in schools. If the point was so very valid and without

skeptical doubt, then why is it not being taught to our children? I understand the

idea of separation between church and state, and the fact that the school is very

much a part of state. Yet it seems to me that if the idea is a basic building block in

today?s society then why not teach this to the young? Why is it that we only teach

evolution if it is so unbelievable? The simple fact of the matter is that we have

evidence and supporting cases in science today which makes the very idea of

creationism redundant to teach, as well as a contradicting view of evolution which

could possibly confuse those of a younger age. There are many religions in the

world upon which the bible are based, and the ones which espouse creationism are

but a few. Being a western culture we tend to forget this.

In summary I believe that evolution is the only plausible of these two theories

which is acceptable to the current state of humanity. In closing I leave you with a

simple, yet disturbing statement that a great man once told me: “it is not what you

believe; it?s what you can prove.”5 Creationism is based upon belief; evolution is

based upon scientific proof.

“Creation,” Microsoftr Encartar 96 Encyclopedia. c 1993-1995 Microsoft Corporation.

All rights reserved. c Funk & Wagnalls Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Creation,” Microsoftr Encartar 96 Encyclopedia. c 1993-1995 Microsoft Corporation.

All rights reserved. c Funk & Wagnalls Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Cosmology,” Microsoftr Encartar 96 Encyclopedia. c 1993-1995 Microsoft

Corporation. All rights reserved. c Funk & Wagnalls Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Evolution,” Microsoftr Encartar 96 Encyclopedia. c 1993-1995 Microsoft

Corporation. All rights reserved. c Funk & Wagnalls Corporation. All rights reserved.


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