Is it possible that we are moving as a nation down the road to faith based regression? Do more and more people believe that science is just one means of comprehending reality and therefore that the discoveries and descriptions of science can be discarded or discredited? Do more and more people believe that all that need be said about reality is what a group of men (no evidence of any women participating in any significant way) living in the Middle East, bereft of 2000 years of our accumulated knowledge, wrote in the Bible? Do people truly believe that the various writers of the Bible had some mystical knowledge of science long before Galileo, Kepler, Einstein, et al., which accurately and objectively describes how the universe came to be?
It is not necessary to throw science out of the window in order to believe in a Divine Order. Many scientists, including Einstein, have posited a Transcendent Being as the ultimate explanation of the origin and meaning of life. But if the universe was ultimately created in any sense by a higher being, then what is the problem with accepting scientific descriptions of how the universe actually functions or even that the creation of the universe was a “Big Bang” destined by a god.
Evolution, if one wishes, can be attributed to an intelligent design of a God. Intelligent design ought not to invalidate a description of how that design’s intelligence worked itself out over millions of years. What do these anti-evolutionist folks believe was happening the first 13 billion plus years before the writers of the Bible got around to collecting their various stories and myths and arranging them into books? Are we to believe that only a handful of Jews in the first century A.D. knew how the universe functions and that everyone since is off the track?
I read of folks in Kansas wanting to turn the clock back to the Scopes trial mentality of Tennessee, 1925, and I despair for the future of America. Do the supporters of “intelligent design” feel that intelligence must be discarded to sneak God into the curriculum? Science does not require that its practitioners be atheists. But science does require accepting verifiable data over myth and faith. Thus carbon dating of fossils verifies that the earth and its peoples are older than the genealogy of Genesis would suggest. This does not mean that to accept, for example, carbon dating requires one not to believe in God. It does mean that, as Clarence Darrow pointed out, you don’t count the “begats” in the Old Testament to determine the dates of the earth.I hear tell that a substantial number of Americans believe that the Rapture is near, that Jesus will return soon and resolve everything. Thus, they reason, it doesn’t matter if we pollute the earth, destroy species, contaminate the oceans, and clear-cut beautiful forests. No matter – Armageddon is near, and Jesus will clean everything up. A recent poll, in fact, showed that 22 percent of Americans believe the Second Coming is imminent and another 22 percent believe it is likely. Perhaps. But, in the meantime, I would prefer to preserve the beauties of the earth and apply just a modicum of objective reasoning to the process.