Home | Editorial Opinion |     Share This Page
Selected replies to "Transitions"

Selected reader responses will be posted here.
All names and some identifying details will be withheld.
No effort will be made to correct the correspondents' grammar or spelling.

We're Headed for Extinction | Faith is a gift!

(double-click any word to see its definition)

We're Headed for Extinction
I teach meteorology and used to be frustrated that students don't want to know why the atmosphere works, they only want a list of facts to memorize. I came to an understanding after 4 consecutive years of planetary geologists announcing the "ultimate" answer to the origin of the moon. Finally it dawned on me that just teaching the facts was depriving the students of a real education. Given what I see, we ARE headed for extinction. Rather than fight it, I think the question becomes "what is worth doing while the species is still here? or for that matter, while I'm still here?"Don't give up hope. Have you noticed yet that dropouts are responsible for most of the breakthroughs, the meaningful steps forward? Make a list of the truly noteworthy people, people who have shaped the worthwhile content of modern life, and you will discover that most of them are either literal or functional dropouts, people who either openly fought, or paid little attention to, the established order.

This is a fact about life, but it's so well-concealed that it might as well be a secret. One reason is that the educational establishment doesn't want this fact to come out, and one way they struggle against it is to grant honorary degrees to the truly gifted dropouts, thereby granting them the status of graduates ex post facto. I can't tell you how many times I've been introduced to a crowd of college students as "Doctor Lutus", only to have to embarrass my hosts by explaining my dropout status — which I always do on principle.

This is not to say that dropouts are by definition superior people — that would be a flaw in reasoning on a par with arguing that wet pavement causes rain. But it's astonishing to compare the judgment of high school yearbooks with the judgment of nature twenty years later.

As you suggest, most of us may be headed for extinction, but I think the dropouts will pick up the pieces and carry on. Then the entire process will repeat. :)
Faith is a gift!
What I basically want to say is this: You are a scientist. The trouble with being a scientist is that you may become identified with being a scientist.That is not a problem for any scientist worthy of the name. Scientists don't kill any neighbors who fail to share their beliefs, and religious people often do.Your real identity is that you are a human, made in the image of God,No God, no image. Human beings are a temporary life form, to be replaced by something — better? No, just more appropriate to the environment of the future.

The theory of evolution doesn't argue that there is a goal, like us, only that the most fit species survive. Nothing else. No plan, no design.
... a little lower than the angels. That identity with being a scientist may limit your perceptions of reality.Your focus on religion certainly limits your perception of reality.There are some scientists who believe in God.Yes, that's true — about 7 percent overall, and they are the least effective scientists, none of whom has ever won a Nobel Prize.They have the gift of faith. Gifts are not for everyone. You have many gifts but not the gift of faith.Faith (fervent belief without evidence) is not a gift, it is a curse. Consider the present situation in Iraq [ written in 2007 ] — that is faith at work. Remember the religious terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center on 9/11? Faith at work.Mainly what preoccupies me is your belief in evolution.I don't believe in evolution. I see copious evidence for the theory of evolution. If new evidence were to appear tomorrow that explained reality in a different way, the theory of evolution would disappear overnight.As a scientist you cannot prove or disprove the theory of evolution.Prove, no. Disprove, yes, certainly. Scientific theories are never proven true for all time, but many are disproven, replaced by better ones. And those new theories are always potentially subject to disproof, for all time.

Scientists don't believe, they evaluate evidence.
You cannot prove that man is evolving from a jellyfish into god.Why would I want to do that? I find no evidence for that theory, or for God, while we're on the topic.So why do you state it as a fact? That is not very scientific of you.You need to learn how to evaluate evidence, as well as read more carefully. I never made the claim you say I did.Coincidentally, the meaning of history (the esoteric) is that man is god-becoming.Try proving your theory using evidence rather than scripture. That coincides with the evolutionary theory (man is evolving from a jellyfish into god).That is not the meaning of the theory of evolution. You are arguing with your own ignorance, not any present theory.So it behoves [sic] the media and other servants of history to make a great deal of propaganda in schools and universities so as to brainwash future scientists and others about the evolutionary theory which is not a scientific theory at all.This is a waste of time. You are completely ignorant of science, scientific theory, and the theory of evolution. Want to argue effectively against ideas you think are wrong? Learn them first. If you fail to do this, you come off as a typical ignorant person of faith. For the record, evolutionary theory doesn't argue that we are headed away from jellyfish toward some advanced state, but simply that species prevail by being suited to their environment. If there were to be a religion-inspired global nuclear war tomorrow, it's likely that cockroaches (very radiation-resistant, therefore more fit than we are) would replace people as the dominant species. And even now, the total biomass of bacteria, "lower" organisms, greatly exceeds the biomass of people, and that fact argues against the notion that there is an upward ladder built into evolutionary theory.

I think the primary complaint religious people have with evolution is that it doesn't put us on a pedestal. It doesn't contain a design, a transcendent, "higher" goal, or a special reserved place for people. The earth could become a haven for human beings, but only if we choose to make it so, and we must first educate ourselves. George Orwell said, "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." We are in charge of our destiny, and we don't get to blame God for the consequences of our choices. If we are very fortunate, this time in history may mark the end of religion, and the end of our petulant childhood.

Why might religion come to an end? That's easy — good ideas drive out bad ones. And why is that true? Evolution.

Home | Editorial Opinion |     Share This Page