Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Who knows? Not me.

Judging by the gaggle (what's smaller than a gaggle?) of people milling about the local polling stations I'm going to guess it's election day again. Is there anything sadder than an election day during an off year? Personally, I'm saving up my energy for next year when...when we get to vote for Howard Coble again because they're aren't any other choices. Yawn, at least it's a nice day to celebrate our democracy.

But, dear friends, it's not voter turnout that's got my goat today; no, it's the CBS News Poll that says 51 % of Americans reject evolution and say they believe God created man in his (or her, I guess) present form. I may have gone blissfully unaware of this statistic if I hadn't been reading about the American Museum of Natural History's Darwin Exhibit in the NY Times.

Polling is an inexact science at best but even considering some percentage of error, this result ought to scare the bejeebers out of every thinking American. Granted evolution is one tough concept to prove, but doesn't it make you at least sort of wonder? Haven't we all seen archaeological specimens that look a little bit like current humans but aren't exactly us? And if He did create us in our present form, which present form? Seems like there are an awful lot of variations on a theme. I hope some of you are bold enough to stand up and say "I don't know whether evolution is true or whether God did what He is supposed to have done, but for the moment and until I am convinced either way (or some other way), I will just say that it beats the heck out of me." The poll didn't allow for this option. It gave you just three choices. A simple 4th choice (I don't know/no opinion) might have changed the result - but I doubt it.

The poll also failed to allow for some of the more arcane explanantions like: modern man is the descendent of aliens who crash landed on Earth a really long time ago (probably on or near Mt. Ararat) OR, modern man has devolved from a superior race of creatures who left the Earth (and their devolved brethren) in search of a better world a really long time ago. (You know, devolution might be way easier to prove than evolution - and I'm not just talking about the Bush administration). There are probably an infinite number of equally plausible/implausible explanations for how we came to be who we are. So even if you can't really get behind the theory of evolution, try to keep an open mind, OK?

If we are indeed God's creations it would seem likely that He would want us to continue to learn new things about ourselves and the world around us and not just go with a quick, easy and maybe wrong explanation. Be patient and read everything with a critical eye.

51%! Wasn't that the same proportion of Americans who voted for President Bush?


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