moby-dick-(or-the-whale)-49
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PROJECT-G: WHY BELIEVE?

14 March 2007

As you may know, I'm reading The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins' famous book setting down a very plausible theory about evolution from the gene's perspective. I had until now never really read about evolution in this detail, only knowing the basic idea. But the more I discover, the more it makes me realise how utterly incompatible this is with religious ideas about the creation of man.

Any person who really understands evolution must come to the logical conclusion that God simply has no role in this whatsoever. Every phase of the way to mankind is perfectly explicable through scientific theory, leaving only ever decreasing gaps where a god might be hiding. But there is a fundamental philosophical error in this behaviour: why try so desperately to shoehorn God into these gaps in the first place?

The whole debate on not being able to prove or disprove God is almost moot. Of course we can do neither, but does it really matter? Science is ever finding more logical and plausible explanations for all the things man once attributed to a divine spirit; forcing him back into the ever dwindling things we don't yet know. Theologists and religious people might say: aha! We don't know why this or that has happened yet with any certainty, so that must be where God enters the equation. At one point, we will however understand these things, and God will be forced to relocate yet again, as has happened innumerable times over the course of history.

And of course, there will always pop up new things, undiscovered alcoves or unknown crevices where you might see God hiding. And surely, we won't be able to understand certain things ever, such as what happened before the Big Bang (current scientific theories might suggest a cloud of quantum fluctuations, but the truth is, this cannot be measured currently), but does that really matter? Isn't the argument backwards in the first place?

Firstly, it must occur to any sane mind that religion and superstition could at the very least be called fickle in this respect. Faced with scientific evidence, God has changed form and position so many times already, why should we suddenly trust religion's current unfounded ideas on it either? But a more nagging problem is scratching at our door: why try so desperately to believe in God in the first place? In science, a person develops a theory when faced with a puzzling matter or question. The theory is then tested and evidence is sought, and if it proves to be unfounded and no evidence is discovered, the theory is discarded. Alternatively; if the theory is accepted, as soon as a more plausible one arises, it is overruled graciously. Such is the nature of the development of our understanding of the universe. To then have a theory that is thousands of years old -that is completely unfounded- and try to fit it into every aspect of life no matter how often it is rejected, seems utterly bizarre.

If there was even a smidgeon of a pointer that said; God might be the most logical explanation for this or that, then the search would be called for -if a little bit desperate nowadays, considering all that we know at this point. But a god is a fairytale created in antiquity to explain things that were then wonderous, like lightning. Alternatively, gods are created to give reason and meaning to a particular tribe, such as the Jews or the Greeks. Things that we should embrace as wonderful stories from the times of our ancient ancestors; not as truths. We know better in these modern times. There is no reason to believe in a god, because we have theories that are infinitely more plausible to explain what once could not be explained but by fairytales.

Roderick.