One of the benefits of sending my novel off to my editor is that I have time on my hands, time that I’ve used for watching Nova and reading National Geographic among other less-noble programs (cough! Project Runway cough!). And once again it strikes me how utterly sad creationism and intelligent design are.

I think these people look up at the sky and don’t see the glory of God. Instead they are really afraid of the vastness of the universe. So they make the world — and their God — really really small so as not to scare themselves. Six thousand years?! That’s how old the world is? That’s it?!  Where’s the sense of wonder in six thousand years? I read about or watch documentaries on astronomy, physics, evolution, and it gives me a shiver at how vast and ancient and strange and nonhuman life is, and I want to shake these creationists and say, “Don’t you get it! You’re making God small with your beliefs! You’re making His creation small and puny! Don’t do that!”

So, granted, I have a conflicted belief in God (I think it can be best summed up as, “I don’t believe in God and I argue with Him/Her about it all the time”), but I do know that I am mighty grateful for the mysteries and ancientness of the universe, and the greatest question of all: Are we alone?

I think the creationists hope we are. And I think their dearest goal is to shut down all scientific inquiry because they are afraid of what we’ll find out.

“Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”

— Arthur C. Clarke


8 Comments

Josh Caleb · October 11, 2008 at 10:00 am

One point would be that ID and even adherents to the Christian Creation account don’t necessary believe in a young earth. In fact there is no theological necessity for a young earth. But that is theological not scientific. ID doesn’t ground itself (epistemologically) in religious texts although it is consistant with them; which is why creationist naturally have switched, at least in many cases, to scientific view of ID.

Your main idea here is that fear is the main motivator for C/ID, which i really don’t get. I would say fear is a healthy reaction to danger (and we can discuss fear vs. phobia, etc. i acknowledge unhealthy fear, etc.). But in the positive case, fear can almost be associated with respect. For instance if we are driving in the winter and drive up upon an icy patch that happens to be on a bridge, that would generate some real fear, a health reaction for the potential of running off the road and into an icy splash.
But in application to C/ID, what is the “danger” that creationists/IDists are reacting to? aliens? simply being wrong? or possibly God?
I would say non-theistic evolutionists have more to fear than C/IDists, the fear that God just might be the best explanation for the universe and life and intelligence… becuase the implications for what that God then could do if, lets say, Christianity were true are pretty “dangerous”.
As a christian, i wonder at the universe too, but i don’t have a small universe or small God in mind, being in the sciences myself, rather a very large God to be responsible for the bigness of the universe.
cheers.

island · October 11, 2008 at 10:55 am

There is actually a way to predict where life exists elsewhere in the universe.

It’s called the Goldilocks Enigma:
http://evolutionarydesign.blogspot.com/2007/02/goldilocks-enigma-again.html

Patrice Sarath · October 11, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Hmm. Okay. You say creationists aren’t afraid of the vastness of the Universe, but you say you think scientists _are_ afraid of acknowledging that God created life and the universe because then it means Christianity is true, so to speak. Well, do you personally only believe in God because you are afraid? And the only thing I can think you could fear is going to hell for not believing.

I have friends who are devout Christians, and I don’t think they believe in God because of fear. (At least, I hope not!) So why should scientists be afraid of finding out that intelligent design is true?

By the way, nowhere does the theory of evolution say, this means there is no God. The theory just doesn’t address the subject.

I’d like to also point out that intelligent design and creationism are not equivalent to the theory of evolution. The former are taken on faith, the latter is a model of scientific thought with a huge body of evidence to back it up. Maybe many scientists believe in evolution, but that is separate from the theory, wheras one cannot prove intelligent design except by faith.

Thank you for your comment!

Also, to the second poster — thank you for the link. I’ll be sure to check it out.

island · October 12, 2008 at 3:29 am

People fear the darkness of death and mortality without resurrection, so they invent a means for attain immortality. A good Jewish lawyer once asked me how I find hope, and I think that’s what he meant.

But it’s all about the journey, “Alfie”, and that’s the end of the story without end…

~

The goldilocks enigma essentially pedicts that life will only be present where many of these critical balance points occur between diametrically opposing runaway tendencies that are individually utterly toxic to life:

http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/images/instability.gif

This is one very clear example:

http://www.astronomynotes.com/solarsys/s9.htm

Patrice Sarath · October 12, 2008 at 11:01 am

Yeah, I’m not so sure about your links. I’ll leave them up, but I think they count as the kind of mumbo-jumbo that intelligent design is famous for.

island · October 12, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Nope, it’s the physics that defines the anthropic principle, and you are welcome to goto this physicist’s blog where I posted this:

http://dorigo.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/guest-post-rick-ryals-the-anthropic-principle/

Where you can read these same FACTUAL statements as they were made *undisputed* in front of the cream of the cutting-edge of science… because I know what I’m talking about.

You are welcome for the education on the difference between ID and the evidenced plausibility for a strong anthropic constraint on the forces.

FYI, the links that I gave were to *CITABLE* references.

And that’s how science works.

plexreticle · October 22, 2008 at 9:18 pm

I subscribe to the Arthur C. Clarke: aliens made monkeys smart theory.

Patrice Sarath · October 23, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Man, remember Mad Magazine’s version of “2001: A Space Odyssey”?

“Don’t look now, but I think someone just threw a bone at our ship.”

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