Thursday, February 6, 2014
The great debate (again!) Evolution V Creationism
Americans were treated to another debate of Evolution versus Creationism this week. Ever since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial was lost by the Creationists, this old war horse gets dragged out every few years and since neither side is listening to what the other has to say, both sides declare victory.
It's no wonder that we have such high unemployment and a growing divide between the "haves" and "have-nots" as increasingly the Creationists lack the skills in Science and Math that are required to obtain high paying jobs in Engineering, Biotech, Robotic Manufacturing, Computer Science, Design, Architecture, and the like.
Sadly, I don't think that it's possible to convince a creationist that he or she may be wrong. My experience has shown me that creationists are not capable of doubting their own intellectual capabilities, that they are simply not bright enough to understand the most basic of scientific concepts, and cannot infer from a concept a hypothesis or a logical conclusion. Creationists are not individuals who are likely to be accepted at the best educational institutions, they are not likely to have toughed out a difficult course of study in mathematics, chemistry, physics, or astronomy. Creationists believe in their simple gut feelings about most things. Challenging those gut feelings won't get you anywhere with a person that lacks inquisitive stamina and has no capacity for doubt or intellectual pursuits.
Creationists must have faith in the current opinion of a group of theologians to form their beliefs. Those beliefs may not be questioned by the faithful or they risk being shunned or excommunicated by the group. Unfortunately, opinion cannot be tested so it must be either believed or not believed.
Science is the practice of observation that leads to the development of theory and as scientists seek to prove or more often, disprove that theory, consensus builds. Opinion is irrelevant if it cannot be tested.
In the above picture, note the young woman with the lop-sided gaze and smug facial expression. Her question reveals that she is lacking the most simple awareness that there have been many, many "missing link" fossil discoveries since "Lucy" was discovered in 1973. One such recent find was "Selam" in 2000 who lived 120,000 years before Lucy and was also an Australopithicus afarensis. In 2005 at Dmanisi, Georgia, "Skull 5" was found of an early hominid that dates back to 1.8 million years ago and in October, another discovery at that site has led scientists to believe that all of these skulls have been representations of one slowly evolving species related to man, not many different ones as was previously believed. This will be further tested, but evolution theory continues to be proved and improved, not unproved.
If a creationist were capable of combining a couple of the most simple undeniable and uncontroversial facts about the nature of the universe, one example might help shut down the entire argument, once and for all.
Light travels at a speed of 299,792,458 meters per second. This was proven in 1881 by Albert Michelson and has been tested and reproved through subsequent experimentation with increasingly better instruments each time. With this knowledge, one can extrapolate how far light may travel in one year, giving us a distance unit of reference, the light year of 6 trillion miles.
Basic Astronomy uses trigonometric parallax and spectroscopic parallax to measure the distances to stars, nebulas, and other galaxies. Those distances are calculated in light years.
Creationists currently believe that the heavens and the earth were created in the blink of an eye less than 10,000 years ago. If the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, we should;t be able to see the Large Magellanic Cloud for at least another 147,000 years.
The strange thing about this debate is that Science was created to explain the Universe, not to disprove the existence of God. Creationists almost uniformly believe that the two are mutually exclusive. They think that you cannot believe in both. Hogwash.
After this week's debate, attending Creationists posed 22 questions for scientists to answer. Looking at the childlike 22 questions, one begins to realize that the questions run the gamut from philosophy to basic science, and are very easily answered by anyone with a good high school education.
The real loss comes to a people who have decided that ignorance, superstition, and blind adherence to unreasoned dogma is more important than a desire to seek truth. One path leads to the moon, mars and the stars, the other path to death camps and book burnings.