Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Church of Anti-Evolution and the imminent rise of religious pro-evolutionists

In the rough-and-tumble rigour of right-thinking, free-thinking modernity, ancient man-made religions struggle to evolve a niche for their arthritic man-made deities. Change is tough when you keep a facade of eternal immutability.

Faced with the challenge, many have embraced anti-evolutionism with gay abandon. But what is this queer fascination in the anti-evolutionist camp? After all, many christians came out as prodarwinians when Darwin first published.

Perhaps something in their upbringing forces anti-evolutionists to fixate unnaturally on their own kind and makes them devalue or despise normal, heterogeneous relationships. But with anti-evolution quickly evolving into the shibboleth of the faithful, what the god-free and sensible need to get straight is: What is this Church of Anti-Evolution and when will it crumble?

Three aspects of anti-evolutionism are intriguing: its arbitrariness, its irrelevance, and its misdirectedness. The last of these is the most fascinating, as it entails that we will soon witness the birth that of a religious movement that is as diametrically opposed to anti-evolutionism as anti-evolutionism now is to evolution. Let’s examine the three aspects in turn.

First, the bible is overbrimming with defunct myths. Consider physics, geology, or even linguistics:
  • Microwave background radiation—and the rest of the slew of modern astronomy—shrinks the tumescent sprawl of a grasping god. Yet few activists clammer for physics not to be taught in schools, as they do for evolution.
  • Geologists’ rubble is far mightier than the hammer Abraham wielded against his in-law’s idols. Yet we rely inextricably on extraction of oil and minerals from within the earth and these are industrial applications of geological science are especially beloved of the Bible Belt.
  • Linguistic reconstruction traces a non-biblical, non-babelical path for the origin of languages and shows, of course, that Hebrew is the child, not the parent, language. Babel thwarts god much more soundly than god thwarts Babel.
Evolution is, scientifically, a completely arbitrary hang up.

Second, DNA is what the faith-ridden should live in fear of. If all humanity descends from Noah, this should be clear in our DNA. Genes should reconstruct to a Middle-Eastern ancestor. But DNA points to Africa. Genetic diversity should be greatest in the Middle East and should peter out as we retreat from Ararat. But Africa greatly outstrips the Middle East in DNA diversity. And the few “post-flood” generations could not have given rise to the range of human genetic variation that is attested. The media would have been all over any hint of a genetic timeline close to the biblical one.

The godly can’t play the “just a theory” ploy for DNA as they do for evolution. “Sure, we use DNA technology to convict criminals, to exonerate the innocent, to screen for disease, to develop cures, to feed the world, to save lives, but it’s just a theory.” Just a theory, but one they adhere to religiously.

How about the compatibility ploy? For instance, Rabbi Shmuley huffs huffs that “the Biblical account of creation easily accommodates an evolutionary ascent” because “G-d created first the mineral, then the vegetable, then the animal, and finally human life forms” (previous post). (G-d, y-u’re such a j-ker, making it like laws of nature did all the work!) What’s the equivalent compatibility ploy for DNA? That god monkeyed with the genes of Noah’s offspring to locate human origins in Africa? (Such a j-ker, Mr G-d, such a big sh-t!) How hole-y can the holy writ get?

And this leads to aspect number three. It’s only a matter of time before the religious hit on the perfect solution to this conundrum: their old foe, evolution. If you need to account for post-flood genetic spread, then suped up selection is the perfect tool. We can all look forward to the spectacle of the faithful vehemently urging that natural selection does far more, not far less, than scientists said it does: it accounts for the genetic range across humanity in just a few post-deluvial generations. There’ll soon be “scientific” grounds for believing in a biblical origin of Africa’s genetic wealth (maybe that’s what became of the lost tribe…). And alongside the institutes for ‘creation “science”’ and “‘intelligent” design’, we’ll soon see ‘post-flood “evolutionary genetics”’.

How do you present a 180-degree turn as the immutable word of god? Well, evolution is full of surprises.

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