Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

WHAT CREATIONISM CREATED

I read tweets from atheists who get upset by the teaching of creationism in schools. Surely atheists have such confidence in the rightness of science that they can be relaxed about this issue. My belief is that creationism should be widely taught as the earliest attempt by man to explain the envirnoment in which he found himself. This has always been a human need – a need which itself gave rise to science. It is part of our history and should be taught as such.

A very early response to events observed but not understood was to postulate a superior being, and early humans quite naturally conceived of him in human, but super-human terms. God was credited with a decision-making capability and therefore with likes and dislikes on which he based those decisions. Think of the marvellous story of The Tower of Babel. It was obvious that groups of people with similar appearance spoke different languages. How did this happen? Explanation? Well, men wanted to build a tower high enough to reach heaven and they were getting on pretty well. God felt his privacy threatened and caused them all to speak different languages so that cooperation was impossible.

Religion has retained the concept of an aware intelligence behind the universe, despite the fact that many of the early stories have been revealed as only “a first attempt” and not literally true. Many scientists have dumped the concept and perceive a mechanistic universe. But all of them agree that there is a huge unknown area. What has happened so far?  Some of the things attributed to God by men have been proved to have other causes. Scientists have shown that some aspects of the unknowable can be made known, hinting that perhaps all can eventually be made known. That hardly amounts to disproving God. So, forget the unprovable concept of “truth” and ask what sort of present world is on offer. Religion offers the idea of a “Reachable God” about whom an exciting imaginative world has grown up. This is an omnipotent, universal God who features in terrific literature and can be manipulated in print and on screen. For believers, he also offers the comfortable assurance of an after-life. For everybody he offers a code of conduct which one can compare with one’s own. He has also inspired dedicated followers to great achievements, though some of them rather reprehensible. (Crusades, Taliban, etc.)

What has science to offer? The joy of pursuing a goal. The excitement of discovery. A great many beneficial inventions. Fame for some of it’s practitioners. The dream of one day knowing everything – like the philosoper’s stone. But there is no surety that the dream can ever be realised and the  journey is bereft of the human element. Science can sometimes be a bit dull, for the causative elements are impersonal. Since I can’t KNOW I will go with OMAR KHAYYAM. “Into this universe and why not knowing, nor whence like water willyy-nilly flowing: and out of it, as wind along the waste, I know not wither, willy-nilly blowing.” The happiness of his life was found ” Here with loaf of bread beneath the bough, a flask of wine, a book of verse, and thou beside me singing in the wilderness.” One of many gems to be found in a modern translation of Omar is “Keep the happy hand clenched to the wine jug.” There is a good deal to be said for relaxed ignorance.

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