One of my favorite documentary sets is Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. I especially like the afterwards sections to some of the episodes. After the one on the lives and deaths of stars he described some of the recent research on the distribution of galaxies. Many of them appear to be riding the surfaces of giant “bubbles.” He ended with an aquarium full of soapsuds and a really big straw. And then he asked the question. “If a bubble maker created all those bubbles, who created the bubble maker?" It’s endless and to be honest, I don’t believe it really matters.
I honestly don’t know what to make of all the fuss and feathers over the attempts to get so called “Intelligent Design” added to the science curriculums. I suspect most of these folks don’t know their kids very well. If we’re going to do it let’s start in kindergarten. Kids that age haven’t really learned to self-censor. I can hear the questions now. “Who designed the designer?” Subversion, subversion, subversion. J
I would prefer to see it taught in a history of science section. I suspect what we really need is a more integrated curriculum. Teaching this as part of the history of science would give us a chance to integrate the scientific concepts with the other ideas of the period. (Man oh Manechevitz, talk about the buck and quarter vocabulary here). It would also give students a chance to learn how similar some of the creation stories are. For example, there are many similarities between the Biblical stories and the creation stories of the Babylonians. But, somebody lost a couple of zeroes in translation. The Bible time frame is about 4,300 years. The Babylonian time frame is about 430,000 years.
They might even get to learn about a “day of Brahma.” That’s 4.32 billion YEARS. But, I seem to be seeing some similar numbers here with a steady decrease in the number of zeroes. That’ssome trick. Start with 4.3 billion years and get it down to 4,300. I’m beginning to get a headache out of pure frustration. Actually, the only time frame that makes sense is the one from India. It is the only set of stories where the periods of time are actually longer than the apparent age of the earth.
The main concern of religious conservatives seems to be that acknowledging our kinship with the rest of creation somehow makes us less human. That realizing that we evolved over time makes us less likely to act in a moral or ethical way. Personally, I think this is an insult to the animal kingdom. I don’t know of any animal remotely capable of doing what humans do to each other.
In an earlier entry I touched on the idea that our ability to imagine, to put ourselves in a possible future that hasn’t happened yet is a blessing and a curse. It allows us to plan ahead, put food by, farm; compose sonnets, paint wonderful pictures, and dream of going to the stars. On the flip side, that ability also allows us to plan to do things to our fellow humans that would shame a so-called animal-if animals needed to feel shame.
Sorry if this entry seems a little disjointed. That’s what happens when you write something on your breaks and lunch. But, if I don’t get some of this down when it comes to me, I lose it.