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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Dennis On: "Would It Really Be So Bad?"
Would It Really Be So Bad?
I have no personal doubt that modern human beings are the current end result of a process millions of years in the making that brought us to where we are today.
Most of us grew up innocently enough in the care of parents and institutions that simply could not believe that humans were the highest form of now hairless apes, that somewhere in the fairly recent past became more conscious of themselves than all the previous editions. I grew up with Adam and Eve just as much as everyone else did and never thought to even question the story as literally true until I was much older. In fact, soaking the in the profession of theology delayed waking up to the reality of human origins even more than it should have. I have kidded about "next time...University of Pennsylvania-Paleontology", but I am not really kidding. Problem is, I have no guarantee of getting a next time, so I better us this time well.
Not many critically thinking people believe the stories of the Bible, whether they be that of Adam and Eve , Noah and the Tower of Babel to be literally true. They are myths and not even myths of original Hebrew origins. It is easy when one lives in a very small box of limited scientific interests or curiosities to think that in reality, most do not believe the Book of Genesis to be meant as science. Oh we have the Creation Institute types. One can find a Bibleland Park to keep the myths seem real or tour a replica of Noah's Ark, but it is all just good theatre.
Church of God types or good fundamental Baptists simply cannot imagine that the Bible is not all they have been told it to be. In many ways it is the Greatest Story Ever Sold. But a story nonetheless.
The people who do the hard work of science and follow it wherever it takes them letting the facts clarify and speak for themselves know that those who sit in their studys reading the Bible are not really qualified to undo the reality of discovery. Most who refuse to believe in human evolution or evolution in general simply refuse to study the issue choosing rather to just say that they believe the Bible. I remember debating Art Mokarrow and Ron Mosley in Dallas and mentioning Donald Prother's newest book on Evolution-What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters, having Mosley interrupt to announce that he "had that book." I missed my chance to ask if he had "read that book," but I knew he had not. I suspect he probably didn't even have it.
It is really very threatening, evidently, for literalists to give up ground on what in years to come will be so undeniable they will look even more foolish than they do now. Knowledge being increased is not all bad you know. Beats ignorance being increased and in some places, ignorance is pulling ahead of knowledge out of sheer panic.
Personally, I don't mind being the current end result of human evolution. I like being a hairless ape with intellect and consciousness which is a big step for sure.
It is still hilarious to hear ministers here in the South cry out from their pulpits that "If I came from a monkey, why are there still monkeys around today!!!" The audience laughs and the man does not know what kind of a fool he just made of himself nor do most of his audience. Apes, Chimps and Orangs are our cousins and we share a common ancestor about 5 million years ago. We are not descended from them.
I remember being a lecture where the creationist guru laughed that there were no Stegasaurus that had one horn, then two, then three. I laughed back since the fossil record shows exactly that in stunning detail. Fish really do into Amphibians as Tiktaalik shows us. I had the awesome opportunity to hold the skull of this fish with legs and flippers, gills and lungs, teeth and the ability to live in shallow water and land in my hands. Awesome.
Same feeling I got when i saw the original Neanderthal Skulls found on Mt. Carmel in Israel at the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem. Simply awesome.
In the long and short term, it doesn't really matter what we believe as beliefs are ...well...just beliefs. Faith is what we tend to have before we get the facts and then the facts test faith and usually pull way ahead. Personally, I love my cousins..