Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not so Creative Design

I live in a country in which the government gathers the taxes for the church. I also live in a country in which at least two major parties (well, on the highest level they’re one party) keep the word “Christian” in their name. And yet, it is a country in which Creative Design is – rightfully – banned from school.

Now, to whoever is reading it: you might actually believe in Creative Design and thus say that Darwin got it all wrong.

The main problem with evolution – at least to some of the more fundamentalist Christian groups – is that it doesn’t require a deity of any kind to work. That’s right, Darwin’s idea of the survival of the fittest, and all that comes with it, works without any kind of god.

And Creative Design is such a good argument of ‘how God does His work’. Because everything in this world fits together so nicely, there must be some kind of intelligence involved in it. Someone (guess who) must have designed everything.

European Christians have found a way around the religious problem of evolution, by claiming that the ways in which evolution works, the natural laws, are God’s design. That would mean God is far more curious than we give Him credit for. He basically pushed the first domino and is now watching what has become of the chain reaction. I hope He enjoys it.

There is a wonder in evolution, too. The wonder is how life came to be. We know that no other planet in our solar system – no, not even Mars – is inhabited. As far as we can say, we are a statistical error in this universe. Life isn’t something a lot of planets have developed. Yet, somehow, here on Earth, while our atmosphere developed and the molten structures turned to stone, some random molecules came together and became the first living cell.

By all rights, this cell should have died. It was merely a little thing in a huge, dangerous and still poisonous world. But life proved strong and determined. The cell split, split again and started a process of change and development which – after a very long time – developed into me and you and every person you know and every other person on this planet and all the animals and all the plants and the bacteria and everything else that I might have forgotten to mention here.

Is this anything less of a wonder than a God creating every single species from scratch?

In Germany, Creative Design is not taught in school (unlike religion). You either get the religious part or the science part, but not both in one go. And as Creative Design is not plausible from a scientific angle, it is not considered science.

Science today knows how species evolved. Quite some ‘in-betweens’ have been found. And, as much as some people hate to hear it, humans are just a species of animals as well. We’re clever, yes, but our big brains and intelligence only serve to help us stay alive. We don’t have all that many natural weapons.

The idea ‘everything was put together by an intelligent force’ is nice, but where’s the prove? Don’t say Paley’s Watch, okay? If you find a watch while wandering around in the wildness, you know it has not grown there. You know it’s not a natural structure, but a construct. It is not alive. If you put two watches in a drawer, they will not produce any offspring. And watches don’t die, even though they may become dysfunctional. But you can repair a watch and, in theory, make it run forever. You can’t ‘repair’ a dead dog or a dead human and make them live forever.

Evolution is a difficult process which humans still not understand completely. But it is far from simple ‘accident’. Things develop into a new form over time, provided the first time this form appears, it proves useful. The necks of giraffes became longer over time, because it was an advantage. They could feed from places other animals could not reach. Flying developed various times throughout earth history, because it’s a great way to travel far over long distances, not matter whether you are an insect, a dinosaur, a bird or a bat. Whales and dolphins returned to the sea, because it proved useful for them. And they slowly ‘lost’ their legs, because they didn’t need them in the water. Fins were far more practical there. Yet the process of evolution is far too slow for humans to see. It takes generations upon generations to turn one animal into another. We can only see the developments that have taken part in the past. We can’t see those that are occurring at the moment.

Evolution is not destroying the wonder of life, it merely gives another explanation for the fact that we’re walking around on our hind legs and using our big brain to change the environment instead of changing with it. Creative Design is not the only solution to combine natural science with religion!

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