The search for knowledge about theorigin of humanity is as old as its inhabitants. Sincethe early 1800’s mankind has narrowed the debateto creation by a Supreme Being and the theory ofevolution. Ever since then, science has been atodds against religion.
Now it appears that scienceis returning to religion. Scientists are finding proofthat the universe was created by a Supreme Being. The word evolution refers to the change ofsomething over a period of time(Webster’s 634). In biology, the theory of evolution is “the complexof processes by which living organisms originatedon earth and have been diversified and modifiedthrough sustained changes in form andfunction”(Valentine).
This theory proposes thatbetween 4 million and 10 million years ago, allorganisms on earth had a common ancestor andthat through a process of evolution, all livingorganisms descended from this commonancestor(Coyne). Chevalier de Lamarck, a Frenchnaturalist proposed a theory of evolution in 1809. His idea did not get much scientific considerationuntil Charles R. Darwin announced his theory ofevolution(Coyne). Darwin published “his mostfamous book, On the Origin of Species by Meansof Natural Selection”(Valentine) in 1859. Darwinstated that offspring resemble their parents, yetthey are not exactly identical to them.Order now
He alsonoted that some of these differences were noteffects of their environment, but actually werepassed down from parents to children(Valentine). Darwin is the most well known scientist to writeon evolution. There are many different variationson the theory of evolution. Darwin states thatnatural selection is the main reason for theevolution of life. The fight for food, water andother necessities benefits those creatures who arewell adapted for the struggle.
Those that cannotsurvive, die with no offspring to continue theirgenetic line. Natural selection is also called survivalof the fittest. Another related idea to evolution isgradualism. “Gradualism is the idea thatevolutionary changes do not occur suddenly butover large amounts of time, ranging from decadesto millions of years”(Coyne).
Genetic drift isanother way that scientists define evolution. Whentwo of a species mate, their offspring gets 23chromosomes from both parents. When a genedoes not split and combine correctly, a mutationoccurs. This mutation will get passed down fromthe creature to its offspring.
In this way a speciescan permanently be changed(Coyne). Scientistswho have accepted the general theory of evolutionas fact disagree among themselves about the ratioof importance between natural selection andgenetic drift. They also disagree about whatcaused the apparent gaps in fossil layers. Newspecies “abruptly”(Valentine) appear in the fossilrecord with no apparent mutation from anotherspecies, then remain unchanged for long periods oftime. They do not seem to exhibit the gradualchanges that would be expected by modernevolutionists(Valentine). Many people, includingthose in the scientific community, do not acceptthe theory of evolution as fact.
When Darwin wasalive, his theory was attacked by many scientistsand religious leaders(Coyne). In the 1900’s,United States public high schools began teachingevolution in science classes. By the 1920’s, laws intwenty states to ban the teaching of evolution inpublic schools had been proposed by people whodid not want their children being indoctrinated. “They considered the teaching of the theory to bepart of a dangerous trend toward the separation ofreligious beliefs from everyday life”(Coyne). Several of the proposed laws were passed intoeffect in states including Arkansas and Tennessee. “The ACLU challenged the Tennessee law in1925 by defending a teacher named John T.
Scopes, who had volunteered to stand trial on thecharge of teaching evolution”(Coyne). The ACLUlost the case but because of bad press, creationistsappeared ignorant to science. However, in 1968the Supreme Court of the United States “ruled thatlaws banning the teaching of evolution wereunconstitutional because they made religiousconsiderations part of the curriculum”(Coyne). Thecourts continue to give rulings on creation andevolution in schools, some have come as recentlyas 1987(Coyne).
The fight to keep evolution outof the classroom is still persevering. Those whoare pushing to keep evolution out of the publicschools are primarily creationists. Creation is thebelief that a Supreme Being created the universeand all its contents from nothing(Vawter). Manydifferent people have believed different stories ofhow and why this was accomplished. Judaism,Christianity and Islam are a few of the major faithsthat teach Creation.
There are many differences inwhat different people believe. Many Jews andChristians with a literal interpretation of the Bibleor the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible,believe that God created the universe and all thatis in it in six 24 hour days. They believe that eachspecies on earth has remained relatively the samesince the Creation. These people “base theirbeliefs on the Bible”(Eve) and some use fossilevidence of long consistencies and abruptchanges(Valentine).
Others believe that Godcreated everything, but not in six days. Still othersbelieve that God created the universe by lightingthe fuse: the big bang was God’s way of creatingthe universe. Many people have gone in search forproof that the universe was created by a SupremeBeing. The case for Intelligent Design was arguedby Reverend William Paley of Carlisle, England inhis 1802 book Natural Theology.
Take, forinstance, a rock and a watch. How old are thetwo objects? The rock has “remained more or lessthe same perhaps since the earth wasformed”(Miller 24). The watch is different becauseof the intricate gears, springs and parts. It wasproduced with a specific design and knowledge ofthe watchmaker, and watchmakers have not beenaround forever.
Paley knew “there cannot bedesign without a designer; contrivance without acontriver. . . . The marks of design are too strong tobe got over.
Design must have had a designer. That designer must have been a person. Thatperson is God”(Miller). Paley’s examples areunderstandable examples that form “a line ofreasoning known as the ‘argument fromdesign'”(Miller). Even some evolutionists havecome to realize that humanity is not an accident,even if they disagree with the six, 24 hour daysbelief. The Anthropic Principle is based on socalled “technical observations about the evolutionof the universe since the Big Bang”(Glynn 28).
This principle has concluded that not only was thecreation of the universe not an accident, but “theexistence of human life is something for which theentire universe appears to have been intricatelyfine-tuned from the start”(28). This principle isbased on universal constants such as Planck’sconstant and the gravitational constant. It startedout as a list of coincidences, but as the list grewthe more it appeared as if the universe had beendesigned for humanity to exist(29). The secondlaw of thermodynamics has been extensivelystudied by scientists and people as another proofof creation.
The second law of thermodynamicscan be stated: “The thermodynamic principlewhich governs the behavior of systems is that, asthey are moved away from equilibrium, they willutilize all avenues available to counter the appliedgradients. As the applied gradients increase, sodoes the system’s ability to oppose furthermovement from equilibrium”(Schneider 30). Inevery system, the entropy, or disorder, willincrease, not decrease. This is one of a number ofdifferent analogies to simplify this law.
There is abox with ten equal compartments. Ten thousandmarbles are released into one compartment. If thebox is randomly shaken, it is expected that themarbles would pass through the open doors ineach compartment and there would beapproximately 1000 marbles in eachcompartment. It is highly improbable, yet notimpossible that if the box continued to be shakenrandomly, that all the marbles would go back intothe same compartment they started in(28). Thesecond law of thermodynamics is an excellentargument for creation.
Creationists stand in “aweof the perfection of the earth. . . If it were a littlefarther away from the sun the entire planet wouldbe one gigantic Antarctica; if it were a little closer,it would be one continuous Sahara Desert. Earth’splacement is precise; and that, my friends, is not aresult of chance”(Limbaugh 154). There are infinitenumbers of variables.
If one were changed justslightly, like the distance from the sun, Earth wouldbe unhabitable and humans would not exist. Thispreciseness leads these people to use the secondlaw of thermodynamics as an argument. Anordered world like Earth could not exist in auniverse that was created by an explosion. Humanity itself is a good example for creation. The differences between other animals in natureand humans are vast.
However, many evolutionistsclaim that we are animals ourselves. JonathanSwift shows the absurdity of this comparison in thefourth book of Gulliver’s Travels. Guliver is livingbetween two extremes: the reason basedHouyhnhms and the savage Yahoos. Gulliver triesso hard to fit in with the Houyhnhms, or horses.
They “conclude that Gulliver ‘must be a perfectYahoo'”(Suits 116), yet Gulliver believes that he ismore Houyhnhm. This struggle can represent theorigin struggle. The evolutionists say that humanswere once like the Yahoos, but by saying thathumanity evolved because of an haphazardaccident, they are claiming that humans are nowthe superior being in the universe. They claim weare like the Houyhnhms(Sagan). Humans are notlike that. The Houyhnhms are divorced of passion.
“They have no shame, no temptations, noconception of sin”(Williams 62). Marriage is “‘oneof the necessary actions in a reasonablebeing'”(63). These definitely do not identifyhumanity. Gulliver “understands none of this”(72). Humans have the ability to use reason and humanshave certain inherent desires that cannot bereasonably explained: love, marriage, and a senseof right and wrong. Still the debate continues.
Itseems “the double standard at work here isbreathtaking”(Glynn 32). Scientists who believe inevolution are free to use detailed accounts of whathappened 4 billion years ago and base it onDarwin(Sagan). “But the moment scientists beginmarshalling rather considerable and persuasiveevidence for the opposite case, their speculationrisks being branded by colleagues as’unscientific'”(Glynn 32). This parallels the thirdbook of Gulliver’s Travels.
The ways of therespected Laputan people were very precise,according to Gulliver. All their wise men rejectwhat seems obviously the best way preform atask(Williams 49). Member of the Academy areseen trying to weave with spider web and makeice into gunpowder(Swift 196). Such acts ofstupidity are Swift’s attack on the Royal Society ofEngland in Swift’s time; however the applyperfectly to many of the scientists who reject whatthey do not want to see. The argument about theorigin of the universe will definitely continue. Therewill be those who argue both sides until this worldcomes to its end.
To what extent people believethe Biblical teachings or what some scientists teachis a personal decision. Darwin concluded hisbook: “There is grandeur in this view of life, withits several powers, having been originally breathedby the Creator into a few forms or into one; andthat, whilst this planet has gone cycling onaccording to the fixed law of gravity, from sosimple a beginning endless forms most beautifuland most wonderful have been and are beingevolved”(Miller 32). The more science seems todig and research about the origins of humanity, theless likely it is that Earth and all the creatures on itwere an accident. All the precision, consistencyand detail point to an universal architect, aSupreme Being, God. Bibliography (pleasedisreguard my mess for now) Coyne, Jerry A.
“Evolution. ” World Book. CD-ROM Eve,Raymond A. “Creationism” World Book. CD-ROM Glynn, Patrick. “Beyond The Death ofGod.
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“Life’s Grand Design. ” Technology Review. Feb. /March 1994:24-32 CD-ROM. 1996 SIRS.
SIRS 1994 Life Science. Article 59 Sagan, Carl. “Snowflakes Fallen on the Hearth: The Evolutionof the Earth. ” Planetary Report. Jan.
/Feb. 1993:4-9 CD-ROM. 1996 SIRS. SIRS 1994Earth Science. Article 53 Schneider, E.
D, Kay,J. J. “Life as a Manifestation of the Second Law ofThermodynamics. ” Mathematical and ComputerModelling 1994: 25-48. Suits, Conrad.
“The Roleof the Horsesin ‘A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms. ‘”Modern Critical Interpretations, Jonathan Swift’sGulliver’s Travels. Ed. Harold Bloom. NewYork:Chelsea.
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