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Discussion 4 to Meditation 717
A reply

by: George Ardell

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One thing about this website -- it surely provides food for thought. And my brain ‘runneth over’.

I would like to submit some comments in reply to the discussion so far on my Meditation 717.

First of all, the questions coming at me from my perch on the fence of agnosticism were poorly thought out and/or expressed, and they have apparently created the impression that I am a bewildered seeker of answers to life’s basic questions. While I readily admit to being bewildered and looking for answers, I prefer to think of myself as a seeker of unanswered (and unanswerable) questions. L. C. Graham wrote in a book called “God, Do You Exist?”, that questions should always be our goal because answers are merely stepping stones into the unknown. That seems very apt for agnosticism to me.

The questions I listed on the religious side may not be on the front lines of modern debate, but they are all variations on the timeless question, “Why does evil exist?”, which I think may near the front lines. Replies such as “God works in mysterious ways” or “It’s only a story” seem to me to just be ways of sweeping the question about evil under the rug.

The specific questions I listed as coming from the religious side are thoughts that pop into my small but active mind when I read or hear the dogma spouted by Biblical literalists or Creationists. I view them as ‘weapons’ with which to confront such people and upset or even anger them. I think the question about God putting Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden might be particularly useful in that regard. If I had the courage and the wherewithal, I would like to nail that question on every church door in the country. I have similar feelings about the “plain English translation” of the Ten Commandments given in Reflection 40. (Okay, so I’m not really apathetic, just timid!)

The questions I listed from the science side of the fence all have to do with Evolution. I realize that there are many more question in other fields of science, but those came most readily to mind -- possibly because I have recently been chastised several times for saying that Evolution is just a theory. Apparently there are people for whom Evolution is like a religion with Darwin as its god. Dogmatic scientists!

My understanding of the Theory of Evolution is rudimentary at best, but I think that I raised reasonable questions about it. I know (or have read) that solid evidence for it exists. But to my knowledge that evidence is all in the form of changes found in pre-existing species, even to the point of morphing into new species. It doesn’t extend, and probably can’t be extended, back to the time two atoms formed a molecule, two molecules formed a compound, a group of compounds formed DNA, etc., because fossils of those events could never last through the billions of years since they occurred, if they did indeed occur. I have also read that scientists have been able to create modifications in some species of insects similar to changes wrought by Evolution; but, again, that is just humans ‘tinkering’ with existing species -- acts of Intelligent Design perhaps.

Somewhere I read that a good theory must be falsifiable and able to provide predictive power. I seems to me that only the Creationists are trying to falsify the Theory of Evolution using only myths for support. I don’t know whether it has been or even can be used to make predictions. But that is the thrust of my last two questions, however unscientifically they may have been expressed. From what I know about it the Theory of Evolution is thought to have occurred in a series or random ‘steps’, most of which led nowhere. So perhaps my questions could be revised to ask whether there will be a next step; and, if so, what kind of species will come from it. If ‘superior’ is too unscientific, maybe we could use a mathematical symbol to ask whether that species will be > than we are.

If a next step does occur, It will in all likelihood be after we have gone the way of the dinosaurs. Maybe it will be an advanced form of some insect able to survive and thrive in the mess we are almost sure to leave behind. (Think “Planet of the Ants” for example.)

Well, regardless of my inability to formulate questions very well, I will continue to try to let the principles I mentioned guide me -- particularly the principle of Curiosity.

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