Class Warfare Blog

May 16, 2013

Evolution and Atoms

Filed under: Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 8:51 am
Tags: , , , ,

blue atomRegular readers of this blog recognize that I write on topics seemingly far from my core issue, class warfare (we are losing). Partly because I believe that religion and a number of other factors are being used to control the masses of the middle class and poor who might otherwise not accept the machinations of the ruling class. One of the religious themes I address is the willful preaching of what is known to be untrue to undermine the acceptance of science, a factor that can, for good or ill, strongly affect our lives.

I have recently written about the false conflict between American Christianity and Evolution Theory (it doesn’t seem to be a problem anywhere else, unless our religious export the stupid notions) and I get comments saying I am bigoted, close-minded, etc. My friend, John Zande at The Superstitious Naked Ape blog (http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com) writes even stronger stuff and attracts responses from a wilder sort (disjointed Biblical references, you are going to burn in Hell, etc.). He actually engages these people in dialogue, which I do not have the strength or patience to do. A better man, he.

In any case, the Creationists object to the narrative of science that basically says that humans evolved from inanimate matter. Now some of these are Young Earth Creationists who believe the Earth and the Universe are only about 6000 years old and others are Old Earth Creationists who believe the Universe is its scientifically determined age of somewhat over 14 billion years old. Both are deluded.

If an all-powerful, unlimited entity could create the universe and everything in it, then that being could have done it yesterday, creating this computer, the building I am in, the lake outside, and us, with all of the false memories needed to make us believe we are far older . .  . and we would not be able to tell that that had been done. We cannot prove it didn’t happen, but the flip side is we cannot prove it did happen, either. The same is true of Biblical creation. But folks keep trying. The Young Earthers therefore have a steep climb to prove their claim. The Old Earthers have a similar problem. They claim that each “day” of creation was actually eons of time, which would explain the gap between the Genesis account of creation and the actual age of the universe. This has extreme problems associated with it in that in one of two biblical accounts, Adam and Eve were born on different days, which means Adam was millions of years dead before Eve was born. And, of course there are more problems, but I won’t bore you with them.

The Genesis account of creation has been taught to be not true in virtually all Christian seminaries, so the teaching that it is true is disingenuous at best. (A local Christian college requires all faculty to sign an oath attesting to the truth of Genesis as a condition of employment. Faculty sign the oath whether they believe that or not because they need a job. Stupid.)

To get to my main point, the creationist claim that there is no way that human beings could be created from inanimate materials, I ask you to consider this. This is true, science has not elucidated the exact mechanism by which the first monocellular life on this planet appeared, or elucidated the exact pathway that these evolved into other forms of life. A lot of the pieces of this process have been discovered, but the whole picture, not yet. But consider you this: we may not know that we were made from inanimate matter, but we absolutely sure we are made of inanimate matter.

Think about it. What are you made of? Over half of your bodily mass is water, plain old water. Water doesn’t think, doesn’t live (self-replicate, etc.); it just sits there. The rest of you is another pile of chemicals in the form of molecules and crystals of various sorts. Those, in turn, are made of atoms. Atoms are essentially immortal but not alive. We are alive but not immortal. We are made of parts that are not alive, so how are we alive? I suspect it has to do with the organization of those parts.

Obviously every thing is made of chemicals and chemicals are collections of atoms, molecules, and crystals that are not alive, but some of the things around us are alive and some are not. Same atoms, arranged differently, produces life or non-life.

Life can be created from non-living materials because, well, it is.

I can’t wait for somebody to invent a Star Trek-like transporter. The first living thing to go through the thing will end all arguments. In those transporters, the information regarding the arrangement of all of one’s atoms is “beamed” to another location where new atoms are assembled into an exact copy of the being being transported. (It makes no sense to send the actual atoms as they would just slow down the process and potentially get lost on the way.) That would be undeniable proof that we are made of an arrangement of inanimate matter. But I don’t want to turn Star Trek into scripture, such a device may not be possible.

For those of you who still believe in special creation, take a look at your cat or dog carefully. They possess some small degree of consciousness, as do we. They recognize themselves in mirrors, for example. We are not uniquely different from them, just different by degrees, which leads one to think that we all sort of came along together on this wild ride . . . or you can just throw up your hands and say “the pixies did it.”

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9 Comments »

  1. Hey, stand down sir…. Pixies are responsible for some things. Where else does fairy dust come from, huh!?

    Great post, Steve. Have you ever read Bill Bryson’s, “A Short History of Nearly Everything”? The introduction is pretty cool and this post reminded me of it. link below:

    http://awordintheworld.blogspot.com.br/p/short-history-of-nearly-everything.html

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    Comment by john zande — May 16, 2013 @ 9:38 am | Reply

    • I love Bill Bryson and I bought that book but haven’t read it yet. What did you think of the one he wrote on Australia?

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      Comment by stephenpruis — May 16, 2013 @ 9:40 am | Reply

      • I have it here in my bookshelf. He did a fair, honest job. The tale of him up at the Seven Sisters lookout has always stuck with me: the look on the elderly couple’s face was if i dropped my pants and dropped a turd right there on the pavement (or something along those lines).

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        Comment by john zande — May 16, 2013 @ 9:46 am | Reply

        • That is nice to know because I was shocked when I was in college to realize that what I knew of Native Americans I “learned” from cowboy movies. We accumulate information and build up “beliefs” about reality because that is how we work. We don’t consciously choose those sources and I also remember my visit to England and was shocked that there were still forest there (I expected only groves). I sleuthed out that I got that impression from when charcoal was used in quantity and whole woods fell under the axe giving the charcoalers a bad name and so forth. But, of course, coal came along and . . .

          Liberals always have a healthy disrespect for what we “know” because we have been wrong so often. Conservatives don’t seem to mind so much.

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          Comment by stephenpruis — May 16, 2013 @ 9:53 am | Reply

  2. Can any xian religious zealot explain how if Jesus is “the only begotten son of God” then who were those guys in Genesis 6 when giants roamed the earth and the sons of God were making babies with earth women?

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    Comment by lbwoodgate — May 16, 2013 @ 10:35 am | Reply

    • My partner whines about that all of the time. And no one could be more God begotten than Adam; wasn’t he God’s first son, making Jesus . . . uh . . .

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      Comment by stephenpruis — May 16, 2013 @ 10:45 am | Reply

    • It has to do with the translation. The Greek word, used in the context of John 3:16 is better translated “one of a kind”. It’s more like the only type of “son” of God. “Only begotten” really is just a poor translation that implies that Jesus is the only human creation of God (OUR Father) that has ever existed, which is obviously not what Christians believe.

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      Comment by conservative2cents — May 16, 2013 @ 11:32 am | Reply

      • Thank you for the clarification but how exactly do you know “which is obviously not what Christians believe”?

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        Comment by stephenpruis — May 16, 2013 @ 11:55 am | Reply

        • “Our Father”… “We’re all God’s children”… Is it not obvious that Christians believe that Jesus was not His “only begotten” offspring in the sense that the words “only begotten” mean that the rest of us are not God’s children?

          Now, I know that your every day Christian probably doesn’t know about the context in which the original Greek word was used, but I used to believe that it meant literally what the English words suggest. But only that God didn’t have Jesus, Greg, and Marsha Christ up in heaven from whom to choose to send for our salvation. So really, I believed the phrase to mean exactly what the Greek word meant. That Jesus was the only type of being of his kind.

          I never claimed to know what “every” Christian thinks about the phrase. I only meant that it is clear that Christians (most, if not all) believe that we are all God’s children.

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          Comment by conservative2cents — May 16, 2013 @ 6:50 pm | Reply


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