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On Creation versus Evolution
Or Little Mud People

A friend of mine challenged my belief in the science of evolution with her religious belief in creationism by comparing intelligent, useful, careful citizens with those vertical mammals that merely have the ďframe and functions of a human but just enough brainpower to forge an existence...just like an ape." This argument elicited two responses from me. First, the level of one's IQ cannot be the criteria for the presence of a man's soul. Second, if that were true then I have known some apes with greater souls than some humans I've known.

It must be established that I do not have a Judeo/Christian concept of Creation because I feel it defines mankind within the realm of the universe and the universe as it relates to mankind through a narrow viewfinder.

I reject the assumption that being a descendant of apes or a primitive pre-human...and a black one to boot...is somehow an insult to my inherent divinity. Since I do not see myself spiritually superior to apes, pre-humans or blacks, I must also reject the assumption that evolving from the primordial soup is somehow an insult to one godís ability to slap little mud people together and stick them in a garden in the Middle East.

I can see how the magic of being poofed into existence can impress the uneducated. Still, I find it an amusing irony that present day intelligent, useful, careful citizens espouse this primitive view of creation as the first, best argument of a godís greater creative work in making the superiority of mankind over his lesser creatures - out of dirt.

If there is a creator, I believe that she is every bit capable of slapping little mud people together as the Bible instructs. I reject, however, the constant Old Testament one-upsmanship that not only states that mud species are better than evolutionary species, but that one mud species are "chosen" by god over another mud species, because they lived on the right side of a river. So for arguments sake...

Let's go back in time to the beginning of that river - to that preceding primordial soup that was the Mother of evolution (a bad symbolism already...as we know all things of religious value begin with masculinity) and thus is a suggestion of the lesser creative work of god.

I think it could certainly be a miracle that a drop of water, a dash of amino acid, an extra atom or two of oxygen was the recipe for all of life. Because life began so small, a protozoon, a one celled animal, we have a hard time seeing ourselves in these beginnings. Yet, even without a microscope, I can see it clearly.

About 600 billion years ago, Grandfather Amoebae became the first self-made cell. It made all the papers. He formed himself from a blob of matter into one with an identifiable front and back end. Quite a respectable lifetime achievement, Iíd say. I know some humans today who still havenít managed that feat. Grandfather Amoebae was asexual and reproduced himself over and over and over while floating aimlessly in that fertile pond until one of his great grand descendants, in an act of youthful rebellion, against the status quo, decided to grow a shell. Now, this was notorious. Unheard of. And the rest of the family banished him to another side of the pond.

Then there was Great Aunt Ciliate. Like present great aunts in middle age, she grew some embarrassing little hairs that allowed her, in her retirement, to travel to foreign ports of call on the other side of the pond. In her travels, she met distant cousins who were growing a decided sense of taste, choosing certain food particles while spitting out others they disliked. Spitting was acceptable manners on their side of the pond since they invented the practice. In a slightly warmer area of the pond, Aunt Ciliate met Uncle Flagellum who won her would-be heart with the dash of his stunning tail. The two traveled to the south end of the pond, where they found that rude bunch with the lofty name. The Heliozoa didnít spit. They caught all their food with their modern spiny backs. No manners at all.

(At this unromantic stage of evolution, I can almost espouse the poof-into-existence theory of first life. This ancestral origination doesn't seem very superior to me), but then neither does dirt.

The Flagellate family retired from travel with a few of their friends and settled in a cozy eddy of the pond. There, they developed a revolutionary idea; a colony, where each benefited by helping each other. Although they were protozoa, they acted metazoan (who hadnít even been invented yet!), quite cosmopolitan behavior for its day.

However, the real pride and joy of the colony was a grand descendant of that microscopic family. Choanoflagellate was the celebrated cell of year 550 billion BCE. And he went down in history as the Father of the Metazoa.

(I can see why creation is so much more popular an idea. Hollywood will never make a film out of my evolutionary story. Thereís no drama. No temptation. No sinister villain. No arm waving spectaculars, no angels warring in heaven over our creation. And itís 50 million years between sequels! )

Still, we can jump forward 30 million years and lazily observe with our omniscient eye the millions of simultaneous evolutionary forks in our anthropological roads to humanity. (And yes, there was more than one road. The latest studies surmise that the Neanderthals, who lived from 200 thousand BCE to 20 thousand BCE, were not the predecessors to the Cro-Magnon who lived from 40 to 10 thousand BCE. They co-existed in two different regions until they met up in Europe. Also the Neanderthals were exactly the neo-apes that you believe don't deserve souls. Except, they had math, art, ritual, and family units. They had burial rights indicating they valued life, grieved for its loss and hoped for its after death existence.) Every fork in the evolutionary roads sent the blueprint of diversity into infinite directions. Times that number by the billions of forks that each species was taking. Each single diversity became the originating predecessor to its succeeding diversity with each fork in each road.

From continent to continent and from millennia to millennia, millions of species evolved, diverged and became either extinct or something else... only to become the something else...that brought humanity one step closer to itself.

From that mťlange of chance, just one divergence in the tapestry of mankindís genetic weave might have as easily given us skin that could not withstand the sun. Our whole society as we know it, our whole definition of life, family, politics, environment and god would be different had we been forced to live underground. Hell would up, not down.

Science, as close as it can guess, says that we are the product of those billions of chance evolutionary choices. The Bible disagrees.

But, if no fork in the road was chance, but directed by a divine hand, how better to express the limitless complexity and imagination of a god? We can either acknowledge this manifest tapestry as divine, so much so, that all of mankind's collective knowledge is still not enough to even begin the mystery's unraveling-

or,

Little Mud People.


©1996 - 2010 Ardriana Cahill



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