where do we come from?
One of my friends is a creationist. She is a very modern young woman, wears pants, has an academical degree, and she firmly believes the world was created by a deity. In her view, dinosaurs didn’t happen. Because the world came into existence some 8000 years ago, based on dating the Old Testament.
She is a fine person, and as you might guess religion is usually not a topic of our conversation. We just agree to disagree as there is no middle ground for our points of view. This week the news that basically, we all come from stardust (http://hemel.waarnemen.com/Informatie/Lezingen/PDFs/Sterrenstof.pdf) , will no doubt put her faith to the test.
After all, this is a serious scientific discovery, linking our mere existence to matter from space. This all appears to fly in the face of the usual creationist approach of a deity that first created a world, then put some greeneries and animals on it, put in a human and when the human was lonely took one of his ribs out to craft another human. They could have lived happily ever after in paradise but then something odd happens – there is another deity who thinks those two humans are some really boring goody two shoes and so he nudges the female to eat from the tree of knowledge.
And what is the first thing they did when they had a bite of that forbidden fruit? They cover their genitals. Apparently they didn’t think of making fire or creating tools, no they just felt naked all of a sudden. Looking back on this the whole tale is oozing with early Medieval morals. Which is not surprising when you consider the whole story has been rewritten and amended to suit the needs of a growing christian church, consolidating both its worldly and spiritual power.
So now they are facing evidence. We came into existence because of a complicated chain reaction of stardust and matter floating about in outer space. Of course we didn’t evolve directly from monkeys, if that were true then what went wrong with the apes that live at present? They are distant cousins, but they are not evolving any more. Not into humans anyway, as scientists have proven even after years of training a chimp cannot manage intellectual challenges beyond the level of a human toddler. Yet we have a tendency to forget we are nothing but mammals, to the detriment of all other animals on this planet.
People believing the myth of creation like to say life is a miracle and the origins of life as we know it cannot be explained as that is divine territory. But isn’t the mere thought of all of this you see around you, all these plants, minerals, animals, all coming from stardust billions of years ago, nothing short of a miracle? From the sturdiest rock to the intricate leaves of a fern and the delicacy of a cobbweb, all once originated from stardust…
Even though we are on the brink of grasping how the earth we live on came into being, we still are struggling to grasp just how extensive the dimensions of our universe are, we are discovering new anomalies in deep space all the time, and we still cannot possibly state with certainty there aren’t in fact more universes, more earths just like ours, as we can barely take a peek across the borders from our own milkyway to count some far far faraway stars… Ain’t that a miracle too?