Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 14, 2008
Well folks just when you get comfortable I have to throw you a curve ball. Actually this series of posts is my attempt to bring people to a level playing field. I’m going to be introduce some off beat ideas in order to fully explain something at the end. The problem is if I jump right to end I usually lose too many people so hence this series in an attempt to explain some things.
Humans are an odd species. We tend to tell stories. When you ask how our weekend was, we tend to respond in a story format rather than a literal history of events. It’s our means to understand the universe. So long ago people started telling stories of how the sky was made and we came to be here. Rather ironically we are still telling stories to this day, but some of them we have heard so often we have mistake a story for fact.
Case in point if you ask any older child “how did things get this way?” They will likely tell you a story that goes something like this:
“It began with a bang. A Big Bang in fact. Matter was throw around the universe and in it stars were born and planets were formed to create solar systems. On one particular planet, called Earth, water formed and life began. Then over a process of millions of years life evolved until finally there was man. Man then went about conquering the world and developing many wonderful things and continues to do so today.”
Hardly a prize winning story I know, but it does cover the high points. Yet there is one major flaw in the above story: it is a lie. Now before you think I’m out of mind go read it again and try to find out the lie. Did you find it? No, give it another try. No you still didn’t find it. Oh all right, I’ll give you a hand.
The lie was the phrase “until finally there was man.” Now ignoring any obvious sexist issues with that phrase it does have a more deeper rooted lie with in it. We have in that phrase assumed evolution ground to a halt when humans came onto the scene. That entire universe and everything in it was for one purpose to give life to humans. That is the lie.
Now to point out how silly of an idea this is I’m tell the above story again with a minor modifications:
“It began with a bang. A Big Bang in fact. Matter was throw around the universe and in it stars were born and planets were formed to create solar systems. On one particular planet, called Earth, water formed and life began. Then over a process of millions of years life evolved until finally there was the gopher. The gopher then went about conquering the earth and developing many wonderful things, like complex tunnels systems, and continues to do so today.”
Now if that isn’t silly I don’t know what is. Gophers were not the end point of evolution and neither our we. Evolution is a process, it doesn’t have a end point. Yet the story is told that way to give justification to the last sentence where we set out to conquering the earth. After all if we were the end product of evolution it is a little easier to believe the world was made for use to do what we will. Yet when you realize the lie, the issue is there is now no justification for what we have done. We conquered the earth and we don’t even know why without that little lie keeping our minds at ease.
So here is the end of Part I. I’ll let you think about the above for a bit and continue down this side road tomorrow.