Saturday, September 7, 2013

Creationism vs. Evolution

     Creationism and Evolution are general terms used to describe how the universe arrived at its present state. The most notable difference between the two concepts is that one assumes the present state of the universe was planned and executed by a Deity, while the other studies the present state of the universe and discovers that there have been thousands of gradual steps to produce what we are today.

     The source for the concept of Western Creationism is the Hebrew texts found in the Old Testament, first written between 1000-900 BCE, and finalized between 400-300 BCE. The concepts of Western Creationism vary widely. Creationism beliefs exist on many different levels from the Flat Earth philosophy, to a belief known as Intelligent Design.

     One of the early theories was proposed by Bishop John Ussher (1581-1656) and established that the first day of creation was Sunday, 23 October, 4004 BC, and that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday, 10 November, 4004 BC, and that Noah’s ark touched down on Mt Ararat on Wednesday, 5 May, 2348 BC.

     Another less radical Creationism concept called the Young Earth Creationists who believe the entire universal creation is no older than 10,000 years, and that the Creator purposefully aged everything to make it appear older than it is. The geology and topography of today’s planet earth is believed to be the result of a massive worldwide flood which occurred during the time of Noah.

     A more contemporary version of Creationism has developed a pseudoscientific hypothesis which is known as Intelligent Design. This concept accepts most of the current Scientific theories of the age of the universe and the solar system, but holds that a “supernatural force” (a Deity) planned and created the universe. After a period of time the “supernatural force” began creating each form of life that exists today, in its current state of development. It is believed that this Deity continues to manipulate not only the course of the universe but the lives of all creation on a daily basis. Intelligent Design Creationists do not believe that any current life forms have ever evolved from other species. All of Creationism believes that all human beings live in a perpetual state of Original Sin which is inherited at our birth from Adam and Eve. It also holds that the only relief from this inherited curse is to make atonement in some form of ritual dedicated to the Deity of creation; otherwise all un-atoned beings will suffer eternal damnation. Western Creationism is based on a Judeo/Christian dogma of ancient texts lacking reason, fact, or evidence.

     Although Western Creationism is more familiar in English speaking cultures, it is by far not the only Creation myth in existence. There are as many Creation myths and legends in the world today as there are cultures. Each Creation story is believed by its adherents with as much fervor and devotion as is the Western Creation myth by Western cultures. Since no one was present during any of the Creation events, they are all based on the limits of human imagination which does not include any evidence or facts.

     Evolution is also a broad general term which describes the processes of discovery, research and testing of events that have occurred since the beginning of time. These processes often involve many scientific disciplines working in concert to define and date archeological evidence of incidents and phases that have not only affected the universe and this planet, but the life forms that have developed here. Evolution’s premise is based on the concept that all life forms, both flora and fauna, share a common ancestry. Research has revealed the DNA of all life forms is essentially the same, the only difference in the various species is the segments of the DNA strand that are activated by the inherited chromosomes to reproduce a human, an elephant, a opossum, a snake,  a fish, or an oak tree, either as a male or a female. The single DNA strand found in all life forms is essentially an historic record of an evolutionary progression which results in what we are today.

     Early research involved in mapping genomes (DNA strands) theorized that man must have the largest number of genomes because we were the most complicated species at the top of the food chain. However, after genome mapping was conducted on many life forms, including mankind, it revealed that there are many species of flora and fauna that possess a much older and more complex genome map definition than mankind. Continuing research into DNA strand segments, identifiers and genome mapping have revealed an undeniable evidence of mutations that have caused new species to evolve from much older and simpler life forms. Survivability of all species is constantly tested for their ability to adapt and cope with the continuously changing environment. Mutations that cannot cope with these external changes, whether it is a complete species or an individual, become extinct.

     Although DNA molecules have continued to produce evolving mutations and varietal changes in all species, the building blocks which form the basic amino acids of the DNA strands has not changed. The Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, etc. atoms which were created from energy in the initial Big Bang and the subsequent death of giant stars (Super Nova explosions) since the beginning of time, are the same today as they were when created. Their properties and physical configuration has not changed since the beginning of time. For all intents and purposes, they are the only immortal material in the universe. Atoms do not die or expire and are continually created in the death of stars. Everything in the universe, galaxies, solar systems, stars, planets, moons, and all of their life forms are composed of atoms and eventually die, their noble existence ceases, but the material they were made of (atoms) are recycled back into the universe and the environment to form new stars, new galaxies, new solar systems, and here on earth, new life forms.

     The many scientific disciplines that have contributed evidence to the theory of evolution have done so after many years of research with a developing technology. Mankind has accrued a knowledge bank of more information about our past, present, and future during the last 50 years than in all of the history of mankind. We do not yet know the force that initiated the Big Bang that has created the universe as it is today, but neither have we given up our pursuit for knowledge. There have been many theories expressed and tested concerning that which lies beyond the Big Bang. Some include the speculation that we are now in the middle of a 50 billion year cycle which will eventually bring the universe back to a central collapse and initiate another Big Bang to create a new universe. This theory includes the suggestion that this has been a repeated process and will continue to expand and collapse forever.

     Conclusion: Evolution does not have an answer for every question concerning the origin of our universe, but does believe it has sufficient physical evidence to prove the developmental process and creation of all life from a common ancestry. Its evidence is based on current knowledge, published research, and facts, while Creationism is based on ancient religious texts written by men who had no scientific knowledge or understanding of the universe in which they lived. Every culture that has ever existed has developed creation stories in an attempt to answer the most common question of all time, “how and where did everything come from.”

     So, when it comes to the education of today’s children, what would you have them learn and know about the past, present, and future of our universe? A philosophy based on experience, current knowledge, and facts; or a philosophy based on the superstitions of ancient texts whose only evidence is in the form of a statement that even though the ancient texts were written by uneducated men, “they were inspired by a Creator,”. . . . as was this essay.