What a question! Yet, that seems to be a question that is being asked of many. It is the moment’s meme. Why would science need my belief? It begs the question.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who, by the way, did not finish college, much to the apparent concern of former DNC Chairman Howard Dean and other Democrat operatives, but much less concerning to them than Walker’s ability to continuously win elections, was recently asked by a reporter, “Do you believe in evolution?”
“I think I’ll punt on that one,” said Walker. Evolution is not something relevant to his duties as Governor of Wisconsin, or as a potential Presidential candidate in 2016.
Do you believe in evolution? Consider this: why would evolution need me to believe in it?
Usually it is conservatives who get asked these types of questions by progressives, none of them interested in the actual answer, much like the Pharisees who came to Jesus and asked Him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Their only motive was to present Jesus with a “gotcha” moment. Jesus punted on the direct answer, too, then healed the infirm man just the same, much to the chagrin and anger of the self-righteous pharisees, who sought to stone Him. Do you believe this? Some do. Some don’t. Some don’t care one way or the other.
As National Review’s Jonah Goldberg puts the evolution question, “By that, do you mean ‘Do I believe every macro-evolutionary idea that has ever been put forth?’” The answer to that is no. Included in Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory was one tenet called “The Theory of Use and Disuse.” This one has long fallen by the wayside, yet anthropologists and biologists once believed it. As more evidence was collected, scientists began to question its veracity until it was abandoned.
Do I believe in Natural Selection? Well, why not?
Do I believe in survival of the fittest? See Natural Selection, above.
Do I believe that the earliest hominids are a million years old? Two million? Three million? Four million? Well, the famous anthropologist family of Leakeys believed different things about this at different times. Just any minute now, it is possible that they may discover another fossil in Africa’s Great Rift Valley, in the famous Odulvai Gorge, and announce to the world, “This fractional piece of a hominid jawbone fossil is a million years older than any previously known fossil, pushing back hominid development to a period much earlier than we previously thought.” Overnight, after the radio-carbon data are returned from the labs, they will simply move everything back a million years or so, as if the careful time-lines they have prepared can have adjustments of 25% without any explanation of why the previous time-line was so wrong. They will then believe something different than they believed the day before.
Am I exaggerating? No! This has happened on more than one occasion. The thing to wonder is why new evidence undoes what was previously believed to be true? Where is the truth we once believed in now discredited science? Did our belief make the former science true? Does our new belief reinforce the new science? Does our belief matter?
Do you believe in God as a distinct entity? Don’t worry. Some do. Some don’t. Some don’t care. I have noticed, with more than passing interest, that people who might debunk me for my belief in God read their horoscope daily. Might they then be said to believe in astrology? They may say no, but they consult their horoscope anyway. Do their actions speak differently than their words?
Do you believe the “settled” science of climate change? Of course, the climate changes. We have evidence of warm and cool periods. None of us have to believe in the past ice ages. We are all persuaded of that. But the modern, alarmist version of climate change? Some do. Some don’t. Some don’t care. And the folks telling us that this is settled science, as if reminding us that the Copernican system is superior to the Ptolemaic system, don’t seem so entirely settled about it, either. Remember the 1970s and the “Coming Ice Age” scientists were warning us about? How about the more recent “Global Warming”, which has since fallen out of favor as a name? Scientists recently believed the earth was headed straight towards another ice age. Now they believe we are headed to catastrophic man-induced global warming based on computer models that have been updated and revised far more frequently than the Leakey’s hominid development time-line, and yet still seem to be consistently in need of editing. What do you believe about that, today? What will science and you believe about that tomorrow? We already have climate scientists telling us that it is too late to stop global warming now, so why worry? If it is too late, then it is too late. Or, is it not? Science can’t tell us since it cannot agree with itself. It says too late, yet it says we must completely undo civilization as we know it, ride bicycles, and live in mud huts with hand cranked dynamo radios for entertainment, and fly-swatters large enough to also serve as air-conditioners.
Do you believe in local global warming as has been explained to us by some scientists? Or do you subscribe to the idea that the apparent halt in earthly temperature increase is due to global warming? Do you believe that this past year was the warmest on record? Or are you among those who believe that the satellite data of surface temperatures shows that this was not the warmest year on record? Do you believe that record droughts are caused by global warming, or that record snowfall is caused by global warming? Do you believe that global warming causes increased moisture in the air, thus more cloud formation, thus causing a reduction in the earth’s surface temperature? Are you like some of those who believe that the depletion of the ozone layer has caused global warming, or rather, that global warming has caused the depletion of the ozone layer, though the ozone layer and global warming are not connected? Which one, if either one? What do we believe? Why must we believe? It seems we must believe in what climatologists tell us, but the climatologists tell us much that is in conflict with itself.
Do you believe the ever changing threats of human extinction indicated by data from the International Panel on Climate Change? By the University of East Anglia? If the data is convincing, then I wonder why the data keepers come under continuing condemnation for its withholding and manipulation.
Let’s go on with some other beliefs involving some science, some pseudo-science, or involving those who report to me that they believe their beliefs are consistent with science, as if belief made the science more persuasive.
Do you believe your children should be vaccinated?
Do you believe that vaccinations are too dangerous to be given to your children?
Do you believe that vaccines cause Autism?
Do you believe that life begins at conception?
- If not, then does it begin at the end of the first trimester?
- The second trimester?
- The third trimester?
- When the fetus begins to take on human form?
- When it reacts to stimuli?
- Has definite and maintained cellular respiration?
- When it becomes viable outside the womb?
- At birth?
- When it becomes capable of reproduction? (Remember, a six-year-old is not capable of reproduction)
Do you believe in Yoga? Not the exercise part….the other part.
Do you believe in Yin/Yang?
Do you believe your horoscope?
Do you believe in psychics? (that’s psychics, not physics)
Do you believe in Tarot?
Do you believe in Palmistry?
Do you believe in Shirley MacLaine-ism?
Do you believe in Oprah Winfrey-ism?
Do you believe in what Eckhart Tolle says?
Do you believe in Transcendental Meditation?
Do you believe in Bigfoot?
Do you believe in Atlantis?
Do you believe in the dangers of GMO foods?
Do you believe the latest food/nutrition pyramid as published by the USDA?
Do you believe in the benefits of Ayruvedic medicine?
Do you believe in the benefits of Chinese traditional medicine?
Do you believe in the benefits of acupuncture?
Do you believe in the benefits of Chiropractic?
Do you believe in the benefits of aromatherapy?
Do you believe in the healing power of crystals?
Do you believe Paul Krugman?
Do you believe aliens from another planet have visited the earth?
Do you believe that hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, typhoons, and willy-willies are more severe and increasing in frequency because of global warming?
Do you believe the engineers, architects, and scientists who claim that 9/11 was a false-flag operation?
Do you believe the Rothschilds control the Illuminati, which controls everything, even, perhaps, the fullness of your bladder?
Do you believe in the benefits of nutritional supplements?
- If so, which ones?
Do you believe in ghosts?
Do you believe in paranormal activities?
Do you believe in anything that comes from Sedona, Arizona?
Do you believe Native Americans have some sacred bond with the Earth that other people do not have?
- If so, please explain Aztec and Mayan human sacrifice.
- If so, please explain slavery among competing tribes.
Do you believe that European colonialism is responsible for the decay of Native American civilization?
- If so, then explain the demise of the Mayans.
Do you believe that the earth has too many people?
- If so, please explain how you would propose ameliorating it.
Do you believe in physician assisted suicide?
- If so, then please explain where this ends and euthanasia begins?
Do you believe animals have the same rights ascribed to humans?
- Does this include the right to sue in court?
- Inherit property?
Do you talk to your houseplants?
Do you believe plants feel pain?
Do you believe you are working towards a higher state of consciousness?
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Do you believe that god is all-in-all?
Do you believe that looking inward you will find your god-essence?
Do you believe that increasing the minimum wage will create more jobs for Americans?
- If so, do you believe that Americans will get those increased minimum wage jobs?
- If so, why is the government importing more workers from other countries?
Do you believe Monsanto is an evil corporation?
Do you believe all corporations are evil?
- If so, does that include Bubba’s Tire Shop and Fish Bait, Inc.?
- Does it also include Maxine’s Beauty Salon, LLC?
- Pediatric Care Clinic, PLLC?
Do you believe fructose is worse for you than sucrose, dextrose, lactose, and maltose? (Well, I’ll even admit that maltose sounds bad for you, but I don’t know that I believe that!)
Do you believe that bovine flatulence causes global warming?
Do you believe that Carbon Dioxide is the main cause of global warming?
Do you believe that Methane is the main cause of global warming?
Do you believe that increases of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere are good for plants, or not?
Do you believe the Mayans had a better calendar?
Do you believe that some in academia have invented or manipulated data just to get themselves published in peer-reviewed journals?
Do you believe in a cottage industry of fraudulent peer-reviewed journals where academics pay to have their papers published?
Do you believe that there are instances where A can be both A and Non-A at the same time?
Do you believe that the science is settled on the Big Bang?
Do you believe the Universe has a boundary?
- If so, what is beyond it?
Do you believe that the emptiness of space contains more mass than the mass of known objects?
Do you believe that atoms contain more empty space than they contain matter?
Do you believe that there are alternate and parallel universes?
Do you believe in the Space-Time Continuum?
Do you believe that there is no end and no beginning?
- If yes, can you explain it?
- If no, can you explain it?
Do you believe that there are questions men have for which science can have no answer?
Do you believe you are just protoplasm?
Do you believe in morality?
- If so, can you explain where it came from?
- If not, can you explain why you instinctively feel you have been wronged when someone steals your burrito?
There is no stopping point. Most of the above things have nothing to do with science, yet many science-professing people have traces of these in their personal philosophies, and nearly all of them have at least one. Sometimes science can be a bit confusing and self-contradictory. Sometimes science is not settled in spite of what scientists tell us.
Being debunked by Bill Bye or Neil DeGrasse Tyson is not evidence of anything, nor do they have as many settled answers as they seem. Nor is my admission that science can sometimes be a bit confusing and self-contradictory any evidence that the aforementioned scientists (Well, Bill Nye is not a scientist…by training he is an engineer, which certainly includes science, but so does typewriter repair) are any more intelligent than anyone else who makes the same admission. I’ll submit that sometimes the smartest answer is, “We just don’t know.”
There are lots of things I don’t know. That is why faith exists.
“Faith,” said the Apostle Paul, “is the evidence of things not seen, the substance of things hoped for.” That covers a lot of ground.
I’ll keep science. I believe in science. I am all for science. I’m all in on science. Mankind owes itself nothing but the best science. Sometimes, though, science crosses over into faith, and when it does, it gets on some treacherous ground that the apparent smugness of some scientists does not cover, nor rescue. When science meets politics, and politics influences science because of money, power, fame and fortune, neither science nor people can be beneficiaries of this evil union. The same is true with people whose religious dogmatism overcomes their faith so that it is no longer faith we see evidence of in their lives, speech, and actions.
Dogma is dogma, whether it comes to us from science or religion. Dogma never sees beyond man’s limited vision.
Faith knows no boundaries.
©2015 Mississippi Chris Sharp