Thursday, February 12, 2009

Creationism vs. Evolution

Happy birthday, Charles! In honor of Darwin's 200th birthday, I'm posting this essay I wrote in 1988. Surprisingly, the Sun-News printed it as a letter to the editor. It's hard to imagine them printing something like this today



There seems to be an ongoing controversy concerning “Creationism vs. Evolution,” and I would like to say a few words about this always timely subject.

Basically the creationists and the evolutionists are both right and wrong. Locked as they are in an intellectual battle with each other, they fail to realize that they are trapped within a false dilemma of their own making.

Evolutionists are right insofar as they believe in the process of evolution itself. There is plenty of fossil evidence which shows that species do, indeed, change over time. (However, these changes are not gradual, as Darwin believed. Instead, a species tends to remain stable over a long period of time, and then, suddenly, a new species appears.) Further evidence in favor of evolution is offered by the new technique of DNA analysis... which, for example, shows us that not only are we descended from apes, we are apes. (Spiritual apes to be sure, but apes nevertheless.)

Evolutionists are wrong when they think that the evolutionary process proceeds strictly by chance; that life is merely a cosmic accident. It used to be said that if you sat a chimpanzee down in front of a typewriter and allowed it to peck at the keys long enough, it would ultimately produce the Encyclopedia Britannica. Well, somebody took the trouble to work it out mathematically, and found that it would take many lifetimes of our present space/time universe for that chimpanzee to produce even one meaningful sentence.

Darwin didn’t know about DNA. Life is infinitely more complex than he ever dreamed. We can describe life, and analyze the DNA molecule all we want, and you know what? The deeper we go, the more life and reality itself will remain an unfathomable mystery. (Our intellects are far more limited than we commonly like to believe.) But one thing is for sure: chance alone is not enough to explain what’s happening here on Earth. Somebody worked it out mathematically, and found that the odds of random DNA mutations producing viable lifeforms is, for all practical purposes, a big fat zero. No matter how long you wait, even if you waited until this present space/time universe is dead and gone, chance alone could not produce even the simplest bacterium.

This seems an appropriate time to start talking about God.

Creationists are right insofar as they believe in God, the Prime Mover, the Universal Creative Spirit, or whatever words we want to label it with. In actuality, God has no name. God needs no name. God is beyond human understanding. For humans to attempt to capture God in a net of words is like ants trying to understand Einstein. If we wish to live a life of intellectual and semantic rigor, all we can truly say is: God is.
Creationists, of course, like to believe that they know all about God, and this brings us to the reason why creationists are wrong. They are wrong because they insist that their rigid, doctrinaire, narrow-minded interpretation of the Biblical creation story is The Truth. It’s an intellectual security blanket, is what it is, but The Truth it ain’t.

The truth is: the Big Bang really happened 15 billion years ago or whenever. Life on Earth is billions of years old, and has been proceeding according to an evolutionary/spiritual process we barely understand. A key fact to remember is that space/time is not all of reality. (This is where traditional science has fallen into error.) Reality also has a non-physical, or spiritual aspect. God is Spirit. We are made in God’s image; and we too, as conscious entities, are Spirit. To discover this reality for ourselves, all we have to do is drop our rigid dogmas and comforting beliefs, open our hearts to God’s infinite love, and wait and listen patiently. (The only way to experience God is through the heart, not with the intellect.) Eventually one discovers that God is really real, and that life — and indeed, all of reality — is a mysterious process that our intellects can barely comprehend. It is from this stance of humble awe that true illumination will come.

—April 29, 1988

3 Comments:

Anonymous Jacques Conejo said...

Gordon,

Do you not find it astonishing that more people don't share your perspective on this matter... I think your observations and explanations are excellent...

Thanks...

Jacques

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gordon,

I surely appreciate your perspective! A good grounding spot to check in on each day (tho not always commenting).

From One "spiritual monkey" to another, and all the others . . . pecking away out here!

Lots of love, Anne Marie

4:52 PM  
Blogger Gordon Solberg said...

Thanks for your comments, Jacques and Anne Marie! I appreciate the
2-way communication.

Actually, I guess I'm no longer astonished by anything Americans do or don't do. For many years now, it has seemed (in my more lucid moments) that either I'm crazy, or unusually sane. Hmmm...

6:49 PM  

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