Human are social creatures, and apparently insecure ones. In order to feel better about themselves, more and more people try to find a group that they can be part of, and then they immediately want to attack someone else that they perceive as part of a lesser group.
We are watching politics reach new lows because no one can compromise. They can’t compromise because they literally despise their opposition, and that is now part of their identity. If Ron Paul ripped off his face and revealed himself to be one of the aliens from V, there would be people that couldn’t deal with it, because if he wasn’t what he said he was, then what does that make them?
One of the most hotly debated areas where people dump on each other is the idea of creation vs evolution. Both sides despise each other. Scientists don’t want to deal with people they find uneducated, debating a topic that no one in their circle argues about anymore. Creationists don’t understand why they aren’t worth talking to, unless its time to justify a budget for expensive project that no one understands. There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.
Both sides need to chill out because the origin of life requires faith no matter how you slice it. You see, all ideas about where we came from have the the same problem: the issue of a beginning.
We can argue about fossils and what they mean and how they’ve been collected or if they’ve even been processed. What we can’t, or shouldn’t, argue about is that things tend to have a beginning. At some point, if there was no Creator, then there was nothingness, because if there wasn’t, how did the stuff get there? If there nothing, then at some point there was matter and energy. Where did it come from? Just the extreme minority of things that we can see or understand is absolutely humbling in its complexity.
Conversely, if you believe in God, then he (he?) had to have a beginning too, right? If this Creator was finite, then he had to have a progenitor, and that ancestor had to have one and so on. Logically, then, if you believe in God, then this God has to be infinite, with no beginning and no end, otherwise we cannot explain his origin. But if God is infinite, couldn’t the Universe be infinite as well? What is the objective basis for belief in an infinite God?
I have my own answers and beliefs. Perhaps it is an illusion, but I’d like to think that they’re based on evidence. But more and more people base their answers on the community around them. If all of your close associates have the same opinion on controversial issues like politics or religion, then somebody is simply trying to fit in with the others. That’s how we work.
Scientists who believe in Creation are pressured to hide their beliefs, are exposed to ridicule, and face a community that does not want dissent on this issue. Science has always been presented as infallible even when top scientists in their fields believed that the Earth was the center of the universe, or that mice were created by bundles of rags.
But then again, can you imagine the social pressure of living in a conservative Christian community? If you believed in evolution, how much pressure would you face at school? With your friends? At home?
This is not a column about belief as I don’t feel that the Internet is really an appropriate medium to discuss serious beliefs. Its a place to argue about who starred in which movie, or whose boobs are real.
But there’s something to be said for agreeing to disagree no matter whether its gun rights, gay rights, or another other thing. Maybe having our faces manically twisted with rage as we exchange ad hominem attacks at each other just lowers everybody.
Maybe on a subject that really shapes our entire existence we shouldn’t treat each other like we do. Or we do more of this.