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BLOG OF THE WEEK: You might not find his candid, tongue-in-cheek breakdown of the evolution vs. creationism brouhaha in any textbook, but those are a snooze anyway. And the Grit team loves a hot topic...
Have an opinion on how the hell we got here? Let's hear it. Meanwhile, here's his.
A hotly contested issue on the Internet these days pits Christians against Atheists. One need only bring up the topic of the origin of life, the universe, and—well, stand back and watch the sparks fly. In the “comments area” of one of these on-line articles, you’ll usually run into these general responses:
From Christians: Repent and believe. Or go to hell.
From Atheists: You are retarded, and I spit on your Christ.
As a general rule, and despite the keenly crafted arguments stated above, neither side seems to win the other side over. I have read both sides of the issue, and believe I can now describe them in a way everyone can understand.
The Atheist’s Stance: In the beginning, there was nothing. Less than nothing, actually. There was no universe, no nothing at all. Zip. Zilch. Nada. There wasn’t even the void of space. We’re talking nothing.
Then, a single primordial atom, clearly a very angry atom, exploded… exploded with such fury that it blasted that nothingness into somethingness, and that somethingness expanded like a government entitlement program. As it rocketed out in every direction, that somethingness created the Universe, which continues to expand to this day.
Over the next hundred gazillion, bazzilion years, the dust created by this explosion swirled and swirled and swirled and it self-assembled into galaxies and stars and planets and moons and black holes. After 50 trillion wintillion years, the sun we call The Sun settled into place, and recruited the planets to circle it.
After four more trazillion years, the third rock from the sun slowly, slowly became a place that could support life. It spontaneously generated oxygen, and carbon dioxide, and water, and an atmosphere, and everything that no other planet ever discovered has. The only problem of course was that it could sustain life, but there was no life.
This little bit gets tricky, so I’ll move through it quickly. There was no life, then … something amazing and completely unexplainable by the most brilliant minds on earth happened—and there was life. (The Christians call this a miracle. The Atheists call it good science). This “new life” wasn’t very impressive life, just a single-celled organism, but even that’s a bit weird because a cell is the most complex building-block of life in existence. Moving on....
This cell, for some reason, divided, and began to mutate over bazzilions of years, and the good mutations were passed along. For instance, Organism A was born with one cell that could detect light. Over a really, really long time, that light-sensing cell mutated into an eye, complete with the lens, cornea, pupil, iris, retina, and optic nerve. Unfortunately, the organism didn’t have a brain yet, so the optic nerve didn’t have a job and went on strike and the whole process had to start over again.
Time, time, time went by, and fish came around, and with their eyes could see what they were missing out on up and land, so they grew flippers, crawled out of the water, and became 80-foot tall dinosaurs. Some of the dinosaurs grew weak hollow bones, and in depression threw themselves off a cliff only to find they could fly.
A huge meteor crashed into earth, and killed almost everything, but some things survived and a really, really, really long time went by and whatever survived the meteor became lions and tigers and bears, oh my. One animal evolved that had no fur, no claws, no sharp teeth, no running speed, and virtually no strength. This animal evolved into man, who became very intelligent and invented things like government entitlement programs. The end.
The Christian Stance: There are many sub-sections of the Christian stance. The general story: There is a God, and he created the earth. Some Christians say in seven literal days, some Christians say he used “intelligently designed and guided evolution.” Either way, he created the world and then he did a bunch of miracles and here we are. The end.
I find the topic to be fascinating to discuss, especially because there are so many people willing to listen to the other guy’s perspective. And it’s fantastic dinner party conversation.
Where do I stand? For the majority of my life, I erred to the atheist explanation. Now, I have to go with the Christians. At least it’s plausible.
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