If there is one idea among all the pseudo-scientific and silly beliefs that permeate American Society that I hate the most-its creationism and in particular the notion that the earth is only 6,000 years old or 10,000 years old or whatever it is. People want to say that God directed evolution-fine. People want to say there is no God and evolution just happens-fine. But people who want to say evolution didn't happen, the fossil record is a trick of satan or that the earth is only a few thousand years old-well quite frankly you've got your head right up your ass.
Well one of those people with their head right up their ass is possibly our future Vice President-Governor Sarah Palin. Palin says he wants creationism taught in science class. That my friends, is reason enough for me to vote for Obama. All other issues aside, having a scientific education I can't put the nation and the world in a position where our President might be some young earth wacko who completely dismisses the past 500 years of scientific progress. Well, wait, we've already done that with George W. Bush. Funny how W is making his dad look like a great President the way the past 8 years has gone.
Apparently the Alaskan Repulican Platform goes so far as to explicitly support creationism and intelligent design. Are you kidding me? What would people say if the Democratic platform supported witchcraft? Is there a difference? I'm not seeing it.
Intelligent design, as a general idea, isn't really one I can argue with. Sure lets say a creator being ("God") directed the show and for some reason took 4. 5 billion years to grace the earth with its true purpose-mankind. But you have to wonder why there are so many fits and starts in the fossil record-a pattern that's really more of the rule than the exception. Honestly I don't think the fossil record supports intelligent design all that much. You could say that a God fired up the universe without any specific goal in mind other than intelligent life developing-that I can agree with. But postulating that God created the universe for the creation of us but took 5 billion years of earth history with myriads of now extinct life forms to do it, and calling this intelligent design, well that only rings true among the mentally ill if you ask me. That sounds like the creation of someone with manic-depressive disorder and OCD, than it does intelligent.
Palin, along with others of her ilk, say "don't be afraid of information". But Sarah, its you creationist wackos that are afraid of information. Something people don't understand about science is that scientists really don't care so much about a theory in particular so much as the evidence in support of it. In other words if some persuasive evidence that evolution was completely bull shit came out tomorrow morning, biologists would for the most part accept it and build a new theoretical framework that better explained the data. Adherence to evolution, relativity, or the big bang is not a religious adherence for most scientists (though there are some that do hold quasi-religious views about this stuff). No Sarah, its the creationists and religious wackos that are afraid of information.
Evolution in no way precludes the idea of God or a spiritual existence. What it does is put some constraints on the matter. The earth is not a few thousand years old, and species to change and develop with time. This is more characteristic of a God with an indirect temperament, one that set the universe off and running and is letting it run its course.
Is that such a bad idea? I tend to think of it like raising a child. You tend very closely to a child while the kid is young, but as they get older you let them go and find their own way in the world (in a healthy relationship that is). What if God created the universe this way? God gave the universe everything it needed for intelligent life to develop, but now its up to us to make something of it, and our ultimate fate isn't up to our parent, but up to ourselves. I think that is a more satisfying outlook than the neat and tidy and controlled fake 6,000 year old universe of Sarah Palin.