Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On Intelligent Design

A recent news article from the AP via Yahoo! News, on Bush's views toward teaching Intelligent Design, got me to a-thinking about my own views.

Usually I shunt this issue to a back burner. I don't really care terribly much whether or not God created the heavens and the earth in just under a week, or whether it all sprouted from some cosmic, non-Godly blankness, or whatever. I simply accept that the universe is, and that it is too vast for me to wrap my feeble mind around. I read poems and I read Sky and Telescope. I've found that Science and Mystery aren't mutually exclusive.

And it's all intriguing, but it won't do my dishes or clean my cats' litter boxes, and, so far, it looks as though learning the TRUTH won't exactly change the way I dress to sleep at night. And, so, I don't give a rat's sphincter whether I am ever given the answers. When somebody brings new information to light, I say, "cool!" and move on to the next page. I might be able to apply it, I might not. Makes no nevermind to me.

I realize this is probably a lazy way of contemplating the universe in all its glory -- and especially incurious from the daughter of a physicist who also taught astronomy. Nevertheless, whether I was an accident or an actual creature doesn't affect my daily life much. I try to live my best, under any circumstances, and don't get myself into a twist when I fall short of my original aim.

Sometimes, this theory of Intelligent Design, saying that "maybe evolution happened, but according to God's plan," sounds a little too much like bad compromise to me. Sometimes, I think that compromise is only natural and therefore absolutely right.

The politics around acknowledging or refusing to acknowledge an opposing point of view could use a little more of this compromise. Those who refuse to allow debate -- especially in schools, where we are ostensibly training our young to think clearly -- are weakening their own arguments' foundations. Worse, they are undermining the process of teaching.

The people who are foot-stampingly, fist-shakingly certain that there is no God planning this spectacle are, in my mind, as wrapped-up in their own religion as those who insist that it could only have happened the way the Good Book tells it. The rest of us, the uncertain middle, think there is merit in considering each, and perhaps the universe is not as clear a string of occurrences as the others would have us believe. Maybe it took seven days as experienced by a mind whose perceptions of time are different from our own to create the universe. Or, maybe we just had to make up a story to make ourselves feel more significant. I don't know. I don't remember being there at the time.

Aside (somewhat related): don't forget, if you are anywhere near a dark, wide-open field with little light pollution over the next few nights, the Perseid meteor showers reach their peak Thursday and Friday nights (best seen in the hour or so just before dawn). Rush-order one of these before you go out, though!

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