Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Things That Drive Me Nuts - Creationism / Intelligent Design

Once upon a time everybody was a creationist. There was no better theory about how the universe was created. Then we started analysing and testing the world around us. We soon discovered that our world and us could not possibly have been created in the way the Bible describes.

The thing is the Bible is allegorical. (Allegory - the representation of spiritual, moral, or other abstract meanings through the actions of fictional characters that serve as symbols.) The Bible actually says that it is allegorical in more than one place. It is, and never was meant, to be taken literally. The Bible is a series of stories with lessons attached. It helps describe the way of life and beliefs that a society should have.

Belief in God requires faith - something that I don’t have. The idea of faith is believing in something that is not, or cannot, be proven. Some biblical literalists look for evidence to prove that God does in fact exist. They try to ignore or negate the need for faith. They forget the true meaning of religion.

Creationism at its maximum setting almost borders on evil. It tries to misrepresent the facts - you are an idiot if you do not believe. They ignore the facts and aren’t swayed by good sense, logic and reason. They take scientific facts to illogical extremes, all the while maintaining that what they say is science. An example of this is the label Social Darwinism - they tell people that believers in evolution also believe that survival of the fittest should be applied to all levels of society, with the disabled, old and infirm dying in the gutter. The logic then follows, if you believe in evolution you are basically a modern day Nazi - and you don’t want to be a Nazi, do you?

This group also tells us that it is the genius of God that is responsible for the creation of something like the banana. When, the real facts are that our modern plant varieties were produced by breeding and propagation techniques - it is a documented fact. They also tell us that fossils were put here to trick disbelievers and test people’s faith. Dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark only to go extinct later. This does raise an interesting question - why are there no cave paintings of these incredible animals?

All this nonsense stems from the misguided belief that religion and science are mutually exclusive - there is no reason why this should be the case. After all, the Bible does not go into intricate detail as to how the world was created. If I was religious maybe I would believe that God used evolution as his tool to create all life on earth and maybe even the universe itself.

I’m not the greatest fan of religion, but I do feel it can have its place. Some people feel comforted by the existence of God. Religion can lead people to do great things. It was religious institutions that helped preserve western knowledge during the dark ages after the fall of Rome. Islamic scholars rediscovered the knowledge of the ancient world. This allowed the Renaissance to happen in the late Middle Ages.

I get extremely pissed off when religion, or any philosophy, is used to justify violence or to breed ignorance.

You don’t need to be religious to be a good person.

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