“What is Evolution?”

I’ve had this book on my shelf for several months. I bought it from the author’s website after I read several articles by him and really wanted to hear more from him. I wasn’t disappointed. This book is questioning evolution theory, not on the basis that it conflicts with Christian theology, but because it conflicts with sound scientific thinking and is more philosophy than science. He proposes that it is closer to its own religion because several prominent proponents of it have stated that the only way to promote the theory is to “loosen America’s grip on faith.” Personally, I can learn and study how our physical world works and still believe in the “why” of Christian faith. There is no conflict between science and faith. And I’ve read many books and articles from scientists that are also Christians that have the same idea.

So why the push to denounce anyone who questions the ideas presented in evolution theory? Isn’t the point of science to question everything? If we stop questioning, don’t we end any chance of scientific discovery?

The one thing that keeps coming back to me while reading this is the definition of science. Merriam Webster’s definition of science is “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method”. And scientific method is, “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.” The evolution that has occurred over millennia is not something we can prove by observation or experiment. We haven’t been able to recreate it or test it. It’s only a theory. It may seem that all the signs we have point to the theory being correct but we cannot say it is law in our world. The science will never be settled, well, unless we find a way to go back in time or recreate it somehow.

But here’s what I don’t understand. Why is it so important to people that we “admit” that evolution is how this planet obtained its diverse species? It has no real bearing on any other scientific knowledge or understanding. The same goes for theoretical physics. Interesting to think about and come up with new theories, yes. But it has no bearing on how we attempt to get a person to colonize Mars at this time.

Anyway, the book was very interesting and not “God said He created the earth!” and it doesn’t glorify Intelligent Design or Creationism either. It only points out some flaws in the theory, the fact that it cannot be recreated, and that it is being pushed on public education as definitive science that everyone must accept to be considered a legitimate scientist. I found it very interesting and, once again, it’s led me to add another book to my reading list, “Why is Evolution True?” by Jerry A. Coyne.

If you’d like to read more about William James Herath and his book, go to http://www.whatisevolutionbook.com

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On The Road

Wow, November sure got away from me! I was planning on doing more writing this month, but alas, circumstances. What can you do?

I finished reading “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac a few days ago. I found it at a used bookstore the day after I put it on my Amazon wish list. Weird. So, of course, I put it at the top of my “to-read” pile. My son played an audio recording of Steve Allen reading Jack about a year ago and it was fascinating. It was poetic and fun to listen to, even though I only understood about a third of what he was saying. The words came to quickly and, well, poetry, you know? Also, I remember my Mom saying she liked reading him when she was a teenager. That’s why I put the book on my list in the first place.

The book was intriguing right from the start. The cadence of the writing pulls you in and you want to know what he sees and feels in this world. I love the sound of Beatnik poetry, but it’s so dark. My younger son and I spent several afternoons in a row making haiku with a poetry toy we got years ago and listening to beatnik poetry on YouTube for inspiration. It was cool, man, and such a drag, man, a real, king-sized drag! Why were young people so darn depressed in the 40’s? Was it a remnant of the Depression? Coming out of the depression as a young person must have really sucked.

By the end of the book, I had no sympathy for him or his friends. He described some pretty selfish and nasty behaviors that didn’t seem to take anyone into account but his and his friends’ pleasures and moods. There was no light in it, no enlightenment about anything really, other than life sucks, just keep swimming. It made me sad. It also made me feel a little better because there have always been people like this in the world. Our current culture is no different or worse than any other. Life goes on. I’ll choose the joyful and the good.

One very interesting thing occurred to me while I was reading this. The book was published in 1955, about when after my Mom was born. My Grandfather was married and starting his own family. But the story Jack was telling was from 1947, about the time my Grandfather’s Dad passed away suddenly and he was left to take care of his Mother, alone. I remember him telling stories about working and doing what he could to help her, meeting my Grandma, and coming into adulthood in the early 50’s. So here was this guy in his early 20’s, traipsing across the US, stealing, bumming, doing drugs, “all kinds of mean, nasty things” while my Grandfather took up the reins of his family and took care of business. Jack and my Grandfather were in the same city living very different lives. One created a book of sadness. One created a family that, despite its rough parts, is still growing and spreading across this world.

I guess I just don’t see anything positive that he left this world, other than something to contrast good with.

Life is a Rollercoaster

There are two types of people in this world, ones that like the ups and downs of a roller coaster and those that are terrified of both. You know the kinds. They scream and throw their hands up on the way down and thrill as they rise up into the air again. And the ones that hold on for dear life, “white-knuckling” it as coaster plunges down toward the earth. They are still so upset by the fall that they hardly realize the thrill of being at the top.

Life is like that in a way. We race headlong toward the ground and think, “This is it. This is how it all ends.” and then suddenly we’re on our way up again, soaring toward the heavens. We’ve forgotten (or at least it has faded in our memory) that we were on the edge of death a moment ago and are thrilled with rising coaster, loving every moment. We come to the top and the world stretches out before us. We think, “This is what it’s all about. Everything is perfect.” and then we start to fall again, plunging toward the ground and certain doom. At that moment we forget the high we just had and our mind is wrapped up in figuring out what went wrong and how we could have avoided this fateful end.

It’s a cycle we all go through, but the ones that really thrive and love life are the ones that remember and embrace the downs as well as the ups, that there is a thrill in falling because we won’t hit the ground and the next moment we’ll be soaring through the sky again. If we can feel the wind in our hair and embrace the road down the same way we embrace the way up, we are really living.

And then there is a whole other group of people, the ones that don’t want to be on a roller coaster at all, the ones that would much rather be on “It’s A Small World.” but we can’t choose what happens to us most of the time, we can only choose how we react to it. We’re on the coaster.