Friday, May 25, 2007

Is it Evolution or Divine Creation?

Are we humans the cream of crops of millions of years biological evolution or that of Big Bang divine creation? This was a question originated when the "Origin of Species" was published in 1859, and the question is still unabated and controversial up to this day.

Back in the nineteen century, the publishing of "Origin of Species" was in a center stage of heated debate among scientists and theologians, I found it very easily accepted concept in the twentieth century from my biology class in Junior High school. We were taught the " Survival of the fittest" as a given scientific fact.

However, in the western Christian world, the notion of putting human in the same category as of a member of animal kingdom and all was the result of evolution from primitive forms was profanity at the least. The concept that we are not favored son and daughter of God, but merely descendants of apes through long and slow evolutionary process is unsettling for Christian believers. The ego of man can be severely bruised by this adamant, unorthodox and blaspheming blow.

I now introduce a book called: "Darwin's Origin of Species - A Biography". Reading the book, I started to realize that Darwin did not really intend to trumpet the origin of human as evolutionary. He was doing the science work making observation and experimentation of natural world, particularly the biology of plant life. During the voyage of the Beagle, he collected and observed many species of plant life and some birds like finch studying their habitat and the surrounding environment. The catchphrase of "The Survival of the Fittest" did not even come from Darwin's writing, it was coined by one of his contemporary in the era. Nevertheless, the publishing of the book aroused and challenged century old idea of man as a intellectually inclined species favored by the God and destined of being ruler of lowly animal kingdom.

I can not say much about the book of "Origin of Species"itself; I borrowed from Library a while back and was completely overwhelmed by its sheet volume. The other factor prevented me from reading the book was (is) my lack of scientific training in this area. It is a futile attempt for a lay person to read through mazes of very dry botanical data.

From my two cents of opinion, I am not shameful of having ape being my ancestor. That goes to say that out of millions of species, through many million years of natural selection and we now emerged as a crown jewel of natural world, on a pivotal top of the food chain. That certainly is a thing to be thankful and celebrated. Darwin was keenly aware of pastoral beauty and harmony as deceiving and pretentious. Nature is a battle ground of life or death every second, every minute of every day. We are now so insulated by the modern amenities that just imagining my being accidentally left behind the Amazon Rain Forest gives me shiver in my spine.

Speaking of the food chain now that our predator is no longer ferocious animals roaming the earth, ironically our most deadly predator is microscopic in size and invisible to the naked eye in the name of virus and bacteria. Throughout history virus and bacteria killed countless human lives in various parts of the earth. Black Death claimed estimated 75 millions, AIDS 2 to 3 millions, Tuberculosis in the ballpark of 20 millions. Nature seems able to find a way to check and balance their inhabitants whether they are prey or predator.

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