They say that the two worst things to discuss with friends are religion and politics. Well, I’m officially screwed. I have discussed my political views ad nauseam both in person and here on my website. Obviously, this discussion will focus around theology. Before I begin, I do feel it necessary to clarify one important point. While I came up with the theory presented below, I don’t believe a word of it. It was an idea born of alcohol, boredom and frustration, the details of which I will discuss in a moment. Regardless of my own personal beliefs, the theory outlined below is a theory, and thus must be outlined if for no reason other than theological debate.
The Back Story
As I previously indicated, this theory is the result of alcohol, boredom and frustration. While that combination isn’t generally the safest scenario, the alcohol levels were surprisingly minimal. The short of it is that I was at a military bar trying to drink a beer while two Marines were having a heated, alcohol-fueled debate on the viability of creation and evolution. If there is one scenario worse than discussion religion with friends, it is undoubtedly discussing religion or, let’s face it, politics while drunk. Unfortunately for mankind, one of our most profound flaws is our insistence on doing things that, for one reason or another, are detrimental to our own well-being. Thus, I found myself unwittingly thrust into the middle of one of the longest running arguments in human history when I wanted nothing more than to sit and enjoy my beer in peace.
After listening to these two making complete fools out of themselves for some time, I finally got fed up and made a proposition; if I could point out a major flaw in both arguments and, at the same time, propose an alternative that they couldn’t find fault with, they would shut up and let me drink my beer. Shockingly, they both agreed, so I started trying to work out an alternative scenario. Now, again, I want to point out that this was created after imbibing a moderate amount of alcohol, and I don’t buy a word of it, but I digress.
Creationism, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is the belief that everything was created by a singular divine being. Those who follow creationism base their beliefs on faith and religious texts, particularly the biblical book of Genesis and the Quran. Some, though certainly not all, promote pseudo-scientific ideologies and discount many aspects of modern science. This set of beliefs can be further broken down into two major groups aptly called “Young Earth” and “Old Earth” creationism.
Young Earth Creationism
Those who follow Young Earth creationism accept a fairly literal interpretation of the biblical Old Testament as fact. They believe that the outline of creation in the book of Genesis is, in effect, a historical text documenting creation as it happened. In other words, God created the heavens and the Earth within a six-day time-frame from nothingness, and the Earth (if not the entirety of the universe) has only existed for approximately ten thousand years based on biblical genealogies.
If one is to take science at face value, Young Earth creationism is very easy to disprove. Science, by definition, is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence. Scientists have used a number of techniques, most notably radiometric dating, to approximate the age of the Earth. Radiometric dating uses a known constant to determine the age of geological features. Commonly, the method of radiometric dating used is known as radiocarbon dating.
Radiocarbon dating is the comparison of the three isotopes which make up carbon. As any high-school student can tell you, life as we know it is carbon-based. Carbon exists in everything, from rocks, to plants, to animals&ellipse; even humans. In any given element, isotopes have the same number of protons, but different numbers of neutrons in their nucleus. The mass of the isotope is indicated by a superscript. Radiocarbon is identified as 14C. As the heaviest carbon isotope, radiocarbon is highly unstable. Over time radiocarbon decays, and the decay rate is predictable. Thus, we can determine the approximate age of something by measuring the amount of remaining radiocarbon present.
Using radiocarbon dating, scientists have determined that the our planet, and indeed our solar system, is just about 4.54 billion years old. This number quite obviously conflicts with the Young Earth stance which indicated that the whole of creation is only ten thousand years old! Yes, there are many who will argue this point, stating that the earth is one billion years old or less for various reasons. The reality, however, is that there are acceptable (or at least acceptable sounding) arguments for both viewpoints, and none of us were there to witness the beginnings first-hand, so any argument presented is based as much on faith as it is on science. Five hundred years ago, man knew that flight was impossible. Who is to say that our perspective won’t change again at some point in time negating that which we currently hold as indisputable fact?
Old Earth Creationism
In contrast to Young Earth creationists, proponents of Old Earth creationism accept that the Earth is significantly older than the ten thousand years put forth by the Bible. This acceptance, however, conflicts with the commonly held teaching that the Earth was created within a six day window. In order to justify this difference, Old Earth creationists adopt one of several stances, the most common or which are day-age creationism and gap creationism.
Those who follow day-age creationism hold the viewpoint that the days of creation are not intended to be literal 24 hour days. In the original Hebrew, the word used in Genesis to refer to the six days it took to create the world is “yôm.” While yôm can mean a day in the modern sense, it can also be translated simply as “age.” By this translation, the six ages of creation could be centuries or even millions of years by our reckoning.
Gap creationism, by contrast, teaches that while the biblical creation took place within a six day window, the Earth itself is significantly older. Followers point to the words formless and void in Genesis 1:1-2, in the original Hebrew, as meaning “waste” and “ruin.” Simply, they believe that before the biblical creation, there was a pre-existing “old Earth.” This can be further rationalized through the phrase “the world that then was” in 2 Peter 3:3-7. Following this logic, there can be a virtually infinite gap between the creation of the old Earth and the biblical creation in which events such as the fall of Lucifer could have taken place.
As Old Earth creationism does not discount geologic or other scientific evidence or an older Earth, we have to focus on the more metaphysical aspects of creationism to attempt to disprove it. Chief among these are the numerous logical contradictions within the Bible itself. Take, for instance, Deuteronomy 21:10-14, which states:
When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her.
This passage seems to be in direct contradiction to the seventh and tenth commandments, which bar believers from committing adultery and coveting the wife or property of another respectively. Even disregarding the apparent contradiction, taking a woman captive and forcing her to be ones wife is certainly a violation of basic morality and good taste!
Further, we can find logical fault with the very concept of the Christian God. In The Reluctant Disciple: A Postmodern Apologetic, James Sennett said:
By far the most important objection to the faith is the so-called problem of evil — the alleged incompatibility between the existence or extent of evil in the world and the existence of God. I tell my philosophy of religion students that, if they are Christians and the problem of evil does not keep them up at night, then they don’t understand it.
The existence of a wholly good, all-powerful, all-knowing deity presents the question how can so much suffering exist in the world today? If God is wholly good, he should oppose suffering. If he is all-powerful and all-knowing, he would know how to eliminate it. The sheer amount of suffering in the world implies that either God is unable to end suffering, or does not care enough to do so. If God does exist, this seems to lend credence to the idea that he is either flawed, or not wholly good.
Take, for example, the very idea of slavery. Biblically, God is stated as having freed the Israelites from slavery under the Egyptians. Indeed, he didn’t just free them, but he did so under penalty of death through the mass slaughter of children of their Egyptian captors. Before we discuss the slavery aspect, it is worth pointing out that a truly just God would likely have directed his wrath against the individuals responsible for keeping the Israelites as slaves, rather than the senseless slaughter of helpless children. However, for the sake of argument, we will concede that there could have been a logical reason this decision was made. Still, if God was so against slavery that he resorted to murder to prevent it, how can we rationalize the long-term enslavement of early America? Before the American Civil War, multitudes were kidnapped and brought to America, and even more were born into slavery on American soil. Even today, the slave trade is alive and well worldwide. Wouldn’t a just God simply put an end to it once and for all?
It has been argued that, while we cannot see the reason, God allows so much suffering for his own purposes. This argument states that because God is omniscient, we aren’t able to truly understand his purposes. However, if God is truly omniscient, then shouldn’t he have been able to create a better world? Wouldn’t an all-knowing being know in advance that his creation is so thoroughly flawed, and simply create man differently? The most likely answer to why so much gratuitous violence, suffering and pain exists is simply that there is no truly good, omniscient God.
Much as creationism is flawed, so is the concept of “survival of the fittest.” There is a good reason that, despite its many proponents, evolution is still considered a theory rather than a scientific certainty. It is true that micro-evolution has been scientifically proven; this is seen every day in the selective breeding of dogs, or the cross-pollination of orchids. Conversely, macro-evolution, the idea that everything evolved from a single point, has not and cannot be proven.
Take, for instance, the aforementioned example of selective dog breeding. A singular desired trait can be produced simply by selectively mating dogs who possess that trait. Over generations, this type of specialized breeding can result in a new breed of dog is developed. However, while new breeds of dogs can be bred this way, you can never develop a cat by selectively breeding dogs. Creatures are limited by their own DNA; it cannot be simply changed into a completely new species through the process of natural selection.
If, as evolutionists suggest, natural selection were true, it can be said that those who are raised in the far north should, over time, develop body fur akin to that found in a dog or polar bear. Sadly, Eskimos are no more protected from the bitter cold than the rest of us. Similarly, those in more temperate climates should have evolved a more protective skin to keep them cool, but they didn’t. Ironically, the fact of the matter is that just the opposite happened: those closer to the equator have much darker skin, in opposition to what natural selection dictates.
It has been argued that melanin, the natural pigments that result in different skin colors, is a natural sunscreen that evolved to protect dark-skinned people in temperate climates. While this seems a sound argument, it ignores the fact that there are dark-skinned people who live north of the Arctic Circle.
Forgetting about mankind for a moment, let’s examine the animal kingdom. If natural selection were a viable theory, wouldn’t all animals be adapted to their environment? Wouldn’t animals near the equator be skinned rather than having heavy fur? And yet, lions, tigers, and bears are all found in temperate climates.
The idea of those animals which are faster, bigger, or smarter surviving sounds great at first blush. A deer that picks up on the presence of a predator first and can run the fastest is the most likely to escape unscathed. However, the same doesn’t seem to apply to other members of the animal kingdom. Why would a bird such as an ostrich evolve wings with which it cannot fly? This is in direct opposition to the theory of natural selection; such wings do not allow the bird to survive better in their environment, and thus it is clearly at an evolutionary disadvantage.
More drastically, take the idea that a fish one day decided to become a mammal. Evolutionists claim that this is a logical progression, but fish are not biologically suited to life on land. Granted, fish do occasionally find themselves beached, but the gills of a fish are capable of extracting oxygen from water, not air. A beached fish will simply flop around, attempting to reach the safety of the water. What else can it do? Staying upon the land any longer than absolutely necessary does not cause the gills of a fish to spontaneously evolve, rather, the fish simply dies. And yet, many claim that the fish simply crawls up on land and chooses to be a lizard.
Proof of this fatal flaw in the evolutionary theory is the Coelacanth. Until the early 1900s, the Coelacanth was thought to be a prime example of a so-called “transitional form,” with partially-formed legs and lungs, ready to transition onto land. Unfortunately for those who held this belief, in December, 1938 a live Coelacanth was caught off the eastern coast of South Africa. After over 350 million years, the so-called living fossil hasn’t evolved at all. It is simply a fish long thought to be extinct.
Worse than the flaws in natural selection, let us reflect on the fact that something simply cannot evolve from nothing. While, as previously indicated, micro-evolution is a scientific certainty, proponents of evolution are at a loss as to the origin of matter. The simple fact that matter exists in sufficient quantities to support life disproves evolution. The so-called “Big Bang Theory” doesn’t help matters any either.
At its very core, the Big Bang Theory is preposterous. The Big Bang Theory is built upon an observation made by Georges Lemaître in 1927, stating that an expanding universe can be traced to a single originating point. Simply put, the theory states that the universe started as a small singularity which, over billions of years, expanded to the cosmos as it exists today.
Unfortunately, while the Big Bang Theory provides an effective, believable explanation as to the formation of the universe, it still leaves much to be desired in terms of certainty. The question of what predated the Big Bang is particularly glaring; science simply cannot create something from nothing, so there must be something which predated the Big Bang.
Similarly, what event triggered the Big Bang? In 1687, Sir Issac Newton wrote the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica which included what we know today as Newton’s Laws of Motion. The third of these mathematical laws states that “When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.” Conversely, it follows that for every reaction there must have been an initial action. In other words, for the initial singularity to have exploded, there must have been a catalyst.
Science cannot explain these flaws, but perhaps religion can? Seen in this light, it almost seems that, by design, a theory which attempted to prove creation without deity necessitates the very thing it attempts to disprove. If the Big Bang relies on an unknown cause for its effect to begin, doesn’t it thereby follow that in order for the Big Bang Theory to be valid, there must be a deity to “kick things off,” so to speak?
Yet Another Option?
By its very nature, a theory is an idea that depends on faith. A creationist has faith that the Bible is the true word of God and, thus, its narrative of creation is the truth. Similarly, an evolutionist has faith in the science behind the Theory of Evolution. Faith is defined as a “firm belief in something for which there is no proof” and, therefore, can be neither definitively proved nor disproved. As I have said before, I don’t put any real stock in my own theory, but it is another option. Whether or not you choose to believe it, I leave in your capable hands.
Before I delve into the fundamentals of my theory, a definition is in order. If I approached you, dear reader, as I have many people since first conceiving this theory, and asked you to draw time, what would you draw?
Thus far, the overwhelming majority of those I have polled have drawn a clock. This choice, while technically valid, is fundamentally inaccurate. A clock is not time, it is simply mans’ attempt to measure the passage of time.
Less commonly, I have received a drawing of a ray. In mathematics, a ray is defined as “a portion of a line which starts at a point and goes off in a particular direction to infinity.” This answer is much more accurate, and yet it relies on two fundamental assumptions. First, it assumes that time has a literal beginning. This theoretical starting point leads us right back into the need for a deity that we discussed in the Disproving Evolution section. Second, it assumes that time has no end. While this isn’t possible to disprove, it is an assumption and is impossible to prove as well.
At some point in time during childhood, most of us were taught that time itself is linear. Think of the idea of a timeline; its very name references time as being linear. But what if, instead of being truly linear time was circular? Chances are, I lost most of my readers right there. The idea of time as being anything other than linear is a bit hard to swallow for most, but I implore you to at least hear me out. Let’s pretend, for a moment, that time is circular; no true beginning or end, just a closed loop which has always existed as it does today. But, without a beginning, how can one explain creation? Two words: time travel. And just like that, I’ve got your attention again.
Is Time Travel Possible?
I know this is starting to sound like something you’d find on Syfy, but I promise there is a method to my madness if you will just give me a moment to elaborate. As with other theories, my theory makes an assumption. It assumes that, in some way, time travel is feasible. As fantastic as this sounds, is it really so far outside the realm of sanity as to be impossible? I challenge you to define time travel. At its simplest, time travel can be defined as the concept of movement between defined points in time. Technically, by this simplistic definition, every single person on Earth is a time traveler. Granted, we are traveling at a fixed rate and in a constant direction, but it is technically time travel nonetheless.
Let’s try a bit more drastic of an example. Let’s find a way to explain travel to a time outside the span of a normal human lifetime. Wouldn’t the concept of cryonics make this a possibility? Granted, today cryonics is far from a proven science. Humans cannot be legally frozen before they are legally declared dead, though proponents say that this isn’t necessary due to cell death occurring well after the heart stops beating. Further, there is currently little evidence to support the theory that revival is even possible, though the idea behind cryonics is a proven one. Sperm and eggs are routinely frozen only to be thawed and used at a later date, food is commonly frozen to extend its life expectancy, and the list goes on. It is completely reasonable to anticipate that one of the people who has already been frozen upon death will, eventually, be thawed out and resume a normal life. We simply aren’t there yet.
Still, while this is a better example of time travel than the simple passage of time, it is still deeply flawed; it only accounts for a linear progression through time. Changing direction and traveling to the past is still well outside the realm of possibility, but it is closer than one might think. In recent years, there have been numerous articles indicating that time travel just might be possible. Better yet, research is ongoing and shows no sign of being abandoned any time soon.
Given the ongoing research, let us assume that, at some point, someone will find a feasible way to travel through time in the traditional sense. If I walked up to you on the street and told you I had a time machine, where would you want to go?
Go on, think about it. I’ll wait.
If you answered anywhere in the past, congratulations! You’re perfectly normal. Greater than 99% of the people I have asked this question responded with somewhere in the past, and over 50% indicated somewhere in the distant past. While statistics might indicate a more even spread, the reason for this is quite simple. Mankind has an innate need to understand himself (or herself). Nobody really cares about the future, we’re going to get there eventually anyway! The past is where it’s at; whether you want to go back to the Elizabethan era, or go find a pet dodo bird, everyone wants to understand where we came from.
Assuming that, at some point, time travel will be a feasible option, it is most likely that such a breakthrough would be made either by a government, or a scientific think tank akin to the Institute for Quantum Computing. In either case, the first major expedition won’t be a haphazard jaunt into the past, it will be a well thought-out, well funded expedition. In such an expedition, we would likely see various sciences represented; after all, the purpose of such an expedition would demand academia. Assuming that we would want to send back a group comprising several of the sciences, perhaps a geologist, botanist, sociologist, physicist and who knows what other ‘ists, the Law of Probabilities dictates that, given a known pool of candidates, both dominant genders would be represented in such a group.
Man Is Inherently Flawed
So, a team comprised of various experts is sent back to record the dawn of time… or, at least, the birth of civilization. Mankind is, if nothing else, flawed. The sad fact is that we make mistakes. Lots of them. So, for whatever reason, upon arrival in prehistory, the team finds themselves trapped in the past. Time machine ran out of batteries. Or plutonium. Or whatever it runs on. It isn’t like there’s an electronics store on every street corner or, for that matter, street corners upon which one might find such a storefront.
After having exhausted every possible means of returning to the present, what might that team do? Beyond being flawed, mankind is undeniably driven by the instinct to survive. This survival instinct isn’t exclusive to humans, it’s a universal constant that exists in all life; sentient or otherwise. So, once return to the present has been ruled out, those scientists will likely do what nature insists they must; adapt and overcome.
Over time, technology fails and man reverts to a more primitive state. Without the ability to replace that which is broken, the need to rely on nature becomes crucial. Nature insists upon survival and, if you recall, probability dictates the presence of both male and female team members. Given enough time, those team members will almost certainly reproduce.
Now, pretend that you are part of the fiftieth generation of offspring from those original scientists. Any trace of technology has long been eradicated, and a much more primitive civilization has emerged. Pretend that you have a daughter who, while playing in a field near your home, falls and skins her knee. As any child is wont to do, she comes running home to mommy or daddy in tears and, good parent that you are, you treat her to the best of your ability. No Band-Aids® or sutures; just whatever nature provides you. And yet, stories of such wonders may have trickled down the generations, so you might tell your daughter about her great-grandparents, fifty times removed, who could treat such a minor injury in mere seconds. To the eyes of a child, what might such technology sound like? Perhaps magic? Perhaps, even, deity?
The concepts of both “magic” and “deity” exist for a shockingly simple reason; understanding. At our core, mankind has a need to understand. That which we cannot explain, we find our own explanation for, regardless of the feasibility or actuality of that explanation. Simply put, we create deity out of a need to explain the unexplained. Given the eyes of a child, as previously discussed, let’s examine a few classical deities. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to use the Greek pantheon, but the same basic principles can be applied to Roman, Celtic, Norse and many other pantheons just as easily.
Aphrodite was known as the goddess of love and beauty. Beyond that, she was attributed with traits of sexuality and desire. Such a being would be virtually irresistible to man, and yet could also be simply explained through the use of some form of pheromone. Pheromones abound in the animal kingdom, and can be found in many modern perfumes. Not a very dramatic example, but an obvious one.
Going to the opposite extreme, we find Zeus; undisputed king of the gods, ruler of Mount Olympus, and the god of thunder and lightning. In fact, Zeus is commonly depicted holding or throwing a lightning bolt. Certainly such control over the elements must be magic, right? Or is it? Simple control over electricity would seem magical to someone who knows nothing of technology. Imagine seeing a light switch thrown for the first time, or a simple flashlight; or, better yet, how about seeing an arc welder when the very concept of electricity is foreign?
Poseidon is the Greek god of the sea, rivers, and floods. Surely, there is nothing scientific which could explain away control over the mighty seas, right? In classic literature, Poseidon was frequently depicted riding a seahorse or dolphin and residing beneath the waves. In modern times, the idea of living beneath the waves certainly isn’t commonplace, but it isn’t impossible either. There are hundreds of brave men and women in armed forces the world over who spend upwards of a year at a time below the surface aboard submarines. Might the idea of a submarine, so foreign to a child of a hunter-gatherer society, not appear to be mystical? Might that child not misinterpret a huge, cylindrical metal vessel that cuts through the deep as a man riding a dolphin?
The List Goes On
I challenge you, dear reader, to take a few moments more out from what I am sure must be a busy schedule, and go look up a few more classical deities. What other deities can you find explanations for in modern science, once viewed through the eyes of a child? What other technologies that seem commonplace to us today would seem impossible or magical to someone with no frame of reference?
The Butterfly Effect
In Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton penned a quote to explain the effect of chaos on the island and its inhabitants:
God created dinosaurs. God destroyed dinosaurs. God created Man. Man destroyed God. Man created dinosaurs.
While this is a very simplistic explanation of chaos theory, it could be extended to explain creation:
God created Man. Man destroyed God. Man destroyed Man. Man became God. Repeat.
While this is certainly circular reasoning, it is a definable pattern which cannot be easily denied. Whether or not you believe in a particular deity, man has created numerous deities throughout time for a reason. Those deities appear, at the very least, humanoid for a reason. Might those deities not then be human?
Over time, man destroyed deity. This is evidenced by the decline in religious piety so common in the world today. In a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, it was determined that the Christian share of the population dropped from 78.4% to 70.6% between 2007 and 2014. Conversely, those who claimed Atheism and Agnosticism increased in number from a measly 16.1% to an astounding 22.8%, and this trend shows no signs of changing in the years since the initial survey was conducted.
Mankind destroying itself needs no evidence. If you absolutely must have it, simply pick up the latest edition of your local newspaper, or turn on your television to the local news channel. War and crime are virtual mainstays in the news today, and have been for much of human history. Similarly, man has been playing god throughout much of recorded history, though never more so than today. Experimentation with genetics, cloning, and even man-made black holes are all undeniable evidence that man is trying to bridge the gap to the divine. Given the reckless abandon with which we continue to tinker with nature, is it such a stretch to believe that, in our attempts to play god, eventually we will end up creating ourselves? And the cycle begins anew.
A Flawed Theory
Granted, my theory is no more foolproof than those which hold sway in society today. As with any other theory, it relies on faith and leaves much open to interpretation. Additionally, there is as much that it fails to explain as it explains. However, its shortcomings don’t prevent it from being yet another theory which, with an acceptable margin of error, explains creation. Much like the creation narrative prevalent in Judaeo-Christian religions, it explains the origin of the species while failing to explain the “before.” In fact, it doesn’t simply fail to explain the birth of the universe, it depends on their not being a birth in the traditional sense.
The so-called Theory of Repetitive Evolution necessitates the belief that the universe has always been, and will always be, exactly as it is today. A perfect circle, with no beginning, and no end; at least not as we know it. Further, it suffers from one other major flaw; chaos theory itself. The idea of a circular timeline only works if the timeline itself remains constant. In other words, each individual must make the exact same decisions in this evolution that he or she did in the previous evolution, and every evolution before it, and every evolution yet to come. Chaos theory makes this virtually impossible. Instead, we find ourselves with a timeline that more closely resembles a sphere; a near infinite number of virtually identical timelines with parallel timelines occurring at every minor variation.
So, what do you believe? Is the Theory of Repetitive Evolution viable? Is it any less viable than other theories? Can you come up with (yet another) theory which explains creation? Or the origin of the species? Regardless, my theory accomplished that which I sought to do; I finally got to drink my beer in peace. Thus, whether or not I believe my own theory, and whether or not you believe it, I am satisfied with it fundamentally. Let me know your thoughts on the subject below, but please… comment responsibly, when sober, and keep politics out of it. One controversial subject is more than enough for this article.