Posted by: johnhourihan | January 25, 2012

Of God and science

Who created this?In my Runyon-esque hometown when I was a kid, there was a young man named ‘Catoos.’ Being an aspiring actor in a blue-collar town he was a bit of a misfit, but I hear he proceeded to get in on the ground floor of Sesame Street, and went on to other acting work. The one thing I remember that he did was a commercial in which viewers saw a close-up of Catoos holding a bottle of medicine and he looked straight into our homes and said, “Let’s talk about ….diarrhea.” And everyone watching winced.
He said it in a manner that dripped with the idea that diarrhea was something that everyone believed existed but didn’t talk about much in public.
In the same vein, I would like to say, “Let’s talk about …religion.”
Specifically, the proposed inclusion of intelligent design or creationism into school curriculum as science, equal in scope and importance to evolution.
First, I have to ask, what would be so wrong if there is a God, and that God created us, watched over and directed us and had, and will have, an impact on our destiny?
I ask this in the dim light of the political emergence of the evangelical right and the fact that so many people in this country recently profess their belief in religions that expound the existence of angels, but if you tell them you saw an angel they would have you committed.
And they believe in the existence of God, but if you told them you saw God …well.
These religions also say that God created everything, but I sometimes wonder if they actually believe that either.
I contend that if you are in the public eye and proposing that intelligent design or creationism is on a par with the theory of evolution, you don’t really understand the importance of your religion.
Since Francis Bacon convinced humans that we could understand everything if we just followed the correct procedures, scientist have used his “Scientific Method” to prove such things as morning air causes malaria, three glasses of whole milk a day are good for you, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and a host of since-banned substances were fine for human consumption with few side-effects other than, but sometimes including, death.
Just because something is a scientific fact today, doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow.
Science is our continuing attempt to understand our universe and everything in it, and it has proven wrong or incomplete nearly as often as right over the centuries.
And as to the answer to the question where did we come from, I believe current scientific answers are part of an ongoing process that tends to change as we learn more, sometimes even making our first theories seem ridiculous in hindsight.
Science is not opposed to the belief that God created us. It is just the best and brightest of our species using the scientific method to try to understand how God did it; thereby putting us on a par with God.
And pompously believing that we will come up with the answer and become God.
Science has done some pretty incredible and wonderful things. It has given us a better quality of life, and has elongated that life and made it more comfortable, but it has its constraints, and one of those constraints is our limited ability to understand who we are, where we come from, and where we are going.
If you truly believe in a religion you must know that it is just false pride that makes us believe we can become God and create something from nothing.
And to put the religious belief of creationism on a par with this well-meaning but flawed attempt to understand the human situation, is to demean your religion and your god.
Intelligent design is not science. It is religion.
It belongs in our places of worship and in our hearts, but it is much too important to be put in a science textbook along side theories that, if history repeats itself, will possibly be disproven in the next few centuries.
And it is my guess that demanding we put intelligent design in textbooks next to Darwin’s theory of evolution has nothing really to do with religion at all.
It has to do with politics.



  1. I’ve always said God created evolution. When we figure out why and right and wrong and up and down the experiment will be over. Kinda glad I’m not going to be around then.

  2. Some say that will be in Dec. 2012. I don’t think so though

  3. Isn’t it interesting that in the minds of pondering people, so often we tend to have all or nothing thinking, an either/or situation. What if we had one book, not a science book, and then a religious book, but rather one book (or thought), that allowed for God (or first energy spark) to be God (creator) of science? Discoveries are made and science changes. Discoveries are made (Dead Sea scrolls) and religious concepts change. I like the ebb and flow of science and religion together, and the freedom to envision the swirling energy of both.

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