How Old is the World?

Turns out, they don’t just ask that of GOPers whom the Democrats have commanded the MSM to destroy – seems that our President was once upon a time asked the question.  From Instapundit:

Q: Senator, if one of your daughters asked you—and maybe they already have—“Daddy, did god really create the world in 6 days?,” what would you say?

A: What I’ve said to them is that I believe that God created the universe and that the six days in the Bible may not be six days as we understand it … it may not be 24-hour days, and that’s what I believe. I know there’s always a debate between those who read the Bible literally and those who don’t, and I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part. My belief is that the story that the Bible tells about God creating this magnificent Earth on which we live—that is essentially true, that is fundamentally true. Now, whether it happened exactly as we might understand it reading the text of the Bible: That, I don’t presume to know.

Which is actually a pretty good answer – a bit better than Rubio’s which also wasn’t too bad.  Of course, we don’t know if President Obama has “evolved” on this issue or decided it was above his paygrade.  We’ll need a follow up question – which I’m sure the MSMers will ask at his next press conference in 2015 or so.

The proper answer is, of course, “as old as it is, I suppose” because no one really knows.  You see, the main trouble with pre-historic events is that they are, well, pre-historic.  What happened wasn’t written down in contemporary documents and so we can’t review the material and come to a conclusion about what happened.  We can make some surmises from what we can analyze in the here and now, but we can’t know how it all came about.  One of the troubles we have in studying the distant past is that there is so little evidence for us to go on – and so, all too often, the scientists studying it grasp on to whatever scrap of evidence they can find and run entirely too far with it (this is especially true of paleontologists and their tiny collection of bones).  So much of what happened in the past has entirely vanished – there are a lot of wild guesses about what our primitive ancestors did, for instance, but I find no real profit in looking in to the matter – we’ll never really know.  I’m just grateful that, apparently quite early on, one of them figured out how to make beer.

The fundamental problem with evolution as it is expressed these days it not in the concept that a positive thing called an ape slowly turned in to a positive thing called a man – that is something which no theology can have the slightest problem with.  The error comes in when a proponent of evolution insists that it was all blind, random chance – first off, the chances of it happening are so vastly small as to be nearly zero:  it is a greater miracle that we exist by blind chance than the miracle that we exist because the Word called us in to existence.  Secondly, if it was all blind chance then everything is merely the result of a prior cause; there is no free will and thus no actual thought…including the thought that we evolved.  You see, if all results are merely the blind working out of forces beyond anyone’s control (as they must be if there is no Creator) then there is no validity to the thought that we evolved by blind chance:  the random atoms in your brain just happened to be worked in to a position where your mind spits out the “it all evolved blindly” thought; but a slight alternation in the atoms a billion years ago and you’d have spit out the thought that we all grew out of a rock in the garden – and neither thought is worth commenting on because each are equally meaningless.   The thoroughgoing evolutionist cuts his own intellectual throat.

To me it is just plain as a pikestaff that God created the universe and ordered it towards a certain end.  I really don’t grasp how anyone can think differently – one thing happening can be ascribed to random chance but the tens of billions of things which must have happened to result in my typing on a computer in 2012 makes me highly suspicious that there is an Author to the play I am acting in.  I don’t know if this Author spoke everything in to existence in 6 days or if he decided to go about it through 6 billion years – and to me the whole debate is rather academic.  At the end of it all we are, indeed, here and have to do the things we must do.  The only thing which irks me in this debate is the insistence upon some that in our public life we subscribe to an asinine theory saying that there can be no God in the process of life.  That is just to shut down a massive area of intellectual inquiry – it is a closing of the mind and made doubly irritating because the people who are shutting their minds say they are doing it in the name of openness.

Hey, Guys, How About Another Evolution Thread?

We always seem to have fun with these – and the set-up asking Perry about evolution is an excellent place to start.

Perry answered the question well – no one knows how old the earth is, kid.  Rather disgusting that you can hear mom trying to prompt the kid to ask gotcha questions.  This is the level of the debate we’re going to have in 2012.

But, that aside, one of the more amusing aspects of the whole debate is the way the other side gets itself tied up in to knots.  Demanding that unless hard, provable science, it just has no place in the debate.  Missing is any understanding – any reasonable thought – about the fact that the person demanding that science be the measure of all things does not even begin to put the marvel of man in to the equation.  As G K Chesterton put it in The Everlasting Man:

It is not natural to see man as a natural product. It is not common sense to call man a common object of the country or the seashore. It is not seeing straight to see him as an animal. It is not sane. It sins against the light; against that broad daylight of proportion which is the principle of all reality. It is reached by stretching a point, by making out a case, by artificially selecting a certain light and shade, by bringing into prominence the lesser or lower things which may happen to be similar. The solid thing standing in the sunlight, the thing we can walk round and see from all sides, is quite different. It is also quite extraordinary, and the more sides we see of it the more extraordinary it seems. It is emphatically not a thing that follows or flows naturally from anything else. If we imagine that an inhuman or impersonal intelligence could have felt from the first the general nature of the non-human world sufficiently to see that things would evolve in whatever way they did evolve, there would have been nothing whatever in all that natural world to prepare such a mind for such an unnatural novelty. To such a mind, man would most certainly not have seemed something like one herd out of a hundred herds finding richer pasture, or one swallow out of a hundred swallows making a summer under a strange sky. It would not be in the same scale and scarcely in the same dimension. We might as truly say that it would not be in the same universe. It would be more like seeing one cow out of a hundred cows suddenly jump over the moon or one pig out of a hundred pigs grow wings in a flash and fly. It would not be a question of the cattle finding their own grazing ground but of their building their own cattle-sheds, not a question of one swallow making a summer but of his making a summer house. For the very fact that birds do build nests is one of those similarities that sharpen the startling difference. The very fact that a bird can get as far as building a nest, and cannot get any farther, proves that he has not a mind as man has a mind; it proves it more completely than if he built nothing at all. If he built nothing at all, he might possibly be a philosopher of the Quietist or Buddhistic school, indifferent to all but the mind within. But when he builds as he does build and is satisfied and sings aloud with satisfaction, then we know there is really an invisible veil like a pane of glass between him and us, like the window on which a bird will beat in vain. But suppose our abstract onlooker saw one of the birds begin to build as men build. Suppose in an incredibly short space of time there were seven styles of architecture for one style of nest. Suppose the bird carefully selected forked twigs and pointed leaves to express the piercing piety of Gothic, but turned to broad foliage and black mud when he sought in a darker mood to call up the heavy columns of Bel and Ashtaroth; making his nest indeed one of the hanging gardens of Babylon. Suppose the bird made little clay statues of birds celebrated in letters or politics and stuck them up in front of the nest. Suppose that one bird out of a thousand birds began to do one of the thousand things that man had already done even in the morning of the world; and we can be quite certain that the onlooker would not regard such a bird as a mere evolutionary variety of the other birds; he would regard it as a very fearful wild-fowl indeed; possibly as a bird of ill-omen, certainly as an omen. That bird would tell the augurs, not of something that would happen, but of some thing that had happened. That something would be the appearance of a mind with a new dimension of depth; a mind like that of man. If there be no God, no other mind could conceivably have foreseen it.

Try as they might, the fundamentalists of evolution cannot get ’round the fact of man being what he is.  We don’t naturally follow from what came before.  We are similar to chimpanzees in a large number of ways except in those ways which make a man a man.  Elsewhere, Chesterton notes that it isn’t a matter of a chimp doing something badly and man doing it better – man does things that no chimp ever did, or ever could do.  Go back a million years and there is nothing in the simian species you can find which indicates that at some future date, quite by accident, one of them will randomly evolve a capability and a desire to decorate his body with paint or clothes…there is nothing in the animal world or the concept of evolution which prepares for the time when a creature will suddenly spend time and energy making art, that indelible signature of Mankind.

And as the evolutionists refuse to consider this – a plain fact – the debate grinds forward in a rather sterile manner, and ever more clearly becomes not a defense of science and truth, but a mere desire to suppress an uncomfortable thought:  perhaps it isn’t all an accident?  Maybe there is a design and a purpose in the universe?  Maybe there is even a Designer who wants something of us?

My thinking on this subject is rapidly leading me to the conclusion that, at bottom, this rigid, hysterical demand that we turn away from what common sense proclaims is, in the end, no more than a fierce desire to defend adherence to a lie.  As it turns out, the lie being adhered to is the first lie of hell – “you will be like gods”.  Beings who evolved by accident from a senseless universe of no purpose owe nothing to anyone…they need not serve, and they are free to rule as far as their own power and inclination leads them.  Introduce even the possibility of God and purpose in to the universe, and all of a sudden you become a debtor who owes someone every last thing you have.  Some of us react with joy to this discovery and eagerly seek to thank our Benefactor…others furiously reject this and demand not only their right to believe differently, but further demand that no one else even bring up a question which casts doubt upon the evolutionist viewpoint.

To me it is a matter of perfect indifference whether the world is 6 billion or 6 thousand years old.  It doesn’t alter in the least the actual facts I have to deal with every day.  I don’t care if someone teaches about a 6 billion year old world and a slow, purely accidental evolutionary development.  I also don’t care if someone teaches that the world sprang directly in to being as it is at the command of God in 6 literal days.  Far more important, to me, than the mechanism of existence is the fact of my existence, and what I shall do with it.  But regardless of what I think, the fact is that those who hold to a rigid, ideologically blinkered view of the creation of the universe are trying to advance a particular agenda – an agenda which doesn’t so much question God but seeks to ban His presence from the public square.  My view is that the fight between Evolution and Design is not about the relative merits of the viewpoints, but about the right of people of different views to engage in the debate.

The gotcha questions to Perry are part of that larger design – that effort to de-legitimize a different view.  The attempt was to try and trip Perry up and hold up Perry and the whole concept of a Divine order to ridicule.  And, so, we have to fight this out – if for no other reason than to defend human reason and liberty.  Reason because people who think can come to widely different views; liberty because if those widely different views cannot be brought in to the public square, then none of us are free.