Friday, January 23, 2009

So what got it all started?

An interesting question that until recently I had no idea had controversy beyond the creationist versus evolutionist argument.

First off, let's define the term "evolution" since that is really at the root of this disagreement. Evolution can represent two separate and distinct theories that, while not at odds with each other, at least don't need each other to be possible. The first definition, that is not really very much in question, can be basically summized as "survival of the fittest". Suggesting that a species can change over time based on environmental factors to better suit their environment. For example, Liberals are largely pro-choice which results in a higher proportion of children being raised in conservative households, thereby increasing the Republican head counts while decreasing Liberal heads before they've had a chance to realize their mistake.

The second definition of evolution revolves around the basic idea that through the means of natural selection, a population group can change from one species to another. Remember that separate species are defined as being able to procreate and produce fertile children (horses and donkeys are for this reason, not the same species).

It is this second definition that forms the basis for Darwin's Origin of Species that claims we are all not only descended from apes, but that all life on the planet comes from the same source. So basically suggesting that humans are only a few evolutionary leaps from Symbion pandora (that's right, lobster lip parasites!).

Those who support the second theory and thereby the Origin of Species argument are apparently vehemently opposed to those arguing for Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design is the theory that the development of life on Earth has been guided by an intelligent being. It does not suggest that this being is God, alien or otherwise, but does argue that there are too many coincidences in the development of life on earth for it all to have happened without someone/something guiding it.

As I'm a fan of analogy,allegory and alliteration (!), let me put it this way. Imagine throwing 300 trillion trillion trillion trillion scrabble pieces into the air. Origin of species says that it is possible for those pieces to fall in such a way that the entire works of the bible might be layed out before you with perfect spelling and (somehow) punctuation. Intelligent design says that this is so incredibly unlikely that it is far more likely that the falling pieces are influenced into these works by someone capable of manipulating their fall.

Anyway, this topic was brought to my attention by the Ben Stein movie, Expelled, in which Ben Stein travels around the world trying to understand why certain prominent scientists vehemently refuse to even consider the possibility of intelligent design to the point of which people have lost their jobs and ruined their careers by simply asking questions.

After all, what is science without questions?


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