Monday, January 13, 2014

Cultural headstands

This always makes me laugh
Driving across the rainy, gusty mountain pass yesterday, one startling line in an NPR interview caught my ears: "A third of Americans still believe evolution is untrue." (Sorry, I couldn't find the direct quote this morning.)

My mind began churning with surprise. I've often thought about the implications of building our lives on the theory that the universe came together by chance (without a supreme Moral Being to guide its beginnings and its progress).

The relatively recent adoption by the masses of evolutionary theory gives me pause because:
  1. This theory barely existed before Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, a mere 155 years ago. Before then, general society marginalized adherents of non-creationism as kooks.

    Darwin theorized a common origin for species. I have no trouble with the idea of a common origin for things on earth, actually. (Genesis proclaims that God originated everything and is the common source.) We need only look around us. All Beethoven's compositions sound like Beethoven. Everything Picasso painted or drew looks like Picasso. Whatever Julia Child cooked tasted like her cooking. Why wouldn't everything God created have common elements and DNA? Why wouldn't creation behave in systematic ways that can be studied? Wouldn't science be a nonsensical pursuit without laws of nature that reflect orderly design rather than multiple, ongoing random happenings?

    I part company with speculators of origins who prefer lucky happenstance above deliberate design. For instance, I don't have enough faith to believe that the now-extinct dodo bird could have hatched just when the Calvaria major tree sprouted: the tree depended on the Dodo's digestion to reproduce. How could it be planted without the bird, or the bird eat its fruit before it existed? (Tara Ghandi's book on Bird and Plant Regeneration is a fascinating study of nature's interdependence.)

    Another example: fruit-eating birds have no teeth so their digestion passes seeds through unharmed. Did the planting cycle happen randomly or was it by design?

    I haven't seen increasing order and synergy emerging by chance or natural selection over decades. How would more time make extraordinary specialization more likely? After all, scientists insist that the universe is running down into entropy or disorder (the second law of thermodynamics, taught in every high school science program).
  2. Chucking the assumptions of scripture - that God made everything and lovingly watches over his creation - devalues our biblical responsibilities to love of God and neighbor, which means looking out for the welfare of others.

    Hmm, where does a societal "evolution" of amoralism and separation from God's authority lead? Are we becoming more caring? More giving? Safer? Healthier? Happier? More free to be and do good? (What is good without a moral compass, anyway?)
  3. New Zealand bellbird feeding on fuscia tree
      50 years ago, we would have been astonished
      to hear that 2/3 of the population claimed this theory as fact. Is there more evidence today, which can only be interpreted to support secular evolution theories?
    1. The bias of NPR's reporting implies the hold-outs will come to their senses and acknowledge the theory of evolution as fact.

      The assumption of the host and guest was that "smart people know" the evidence could only point one way - to evolution of course. Only dummies or religious nuts still believe otherwise.
    2. Teaching from any bias influences thinking. Obviously, the speakers on NPR assumed that what they were taught is true. Evolution has moved from speculation and possibility to solid fact in their minds. Paul notes that worship of created things rather than the Creator leads to warped thinking and doing. (Romans 1:20-25)
    3. In the end, our life-philosophies decide which is more logical, a Designer or a million lucky chances. The issue is not whether we are smart or stupid, but which foundation our hopes, dreams, and learning is based upon.

    The many happy chances theorized by evolutionists
    Here's what one smart man observed:
    "One reason why many people find Creative Evolution so attractive is that it 
    gives one much of the emotional comfort of believing in God and none of the less pleasant consequences. When you are feeling fit and the sun is shining and you do not want to believe that the whole universe is a mere mechanical dance of atoms, it is nice to be able to think of this great mysterious Force rolling on through the centuries and carrying you on its crest. 

    "If, on the other hand, you want to do something rather shabby, the Life-Force, being only a blind force, with no morals and no mind, will never interfere with you like that troublesome God we learned about when we were children. The Life-Force is a sort of tame God. You can switch it on when you want, but it will not bother you. 

    All the thrills of religion and none of the cost. Is the Life-Force the greatest achievement of wishful thinking the world has yet seen?" 
    C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

    Read more:
    "I will not hide my face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out my Spirit on the house of Israel," says the Lord God. Ezekiel 39:29 NKJV

    *In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:19-20 ESV

    Moravian Prayer: Ever-present Savior, you are the mirror in which we see our own reflections. Thank you for the opportunity to see your goodness in all of earth's people. Let our faces reflect the kindness and mercy that you bestow upon us daily. We pray that all may see your image within us. Amen.

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