Leturgey Musings and Goings On

These are some of my writings...from events going on in the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance and elsewhere, to observations from the rest of my decidely unformulaic life.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Evolutionists, Creationists And Intelligent Design

[The following is my Cover Story for the Front Weekly in Pittsburgh]

by Tom Leturgey

Ever since Charles Darwin floated his theory of natural selection, it has been debated, sometimes feverishly. Creationists, unwilling to succumb to scientific data they believe to be flawed, won’t waver from their belief that a higher power, specifically God—and argument’s sake, a Judeo-Christian God (other religions like Hinduism do touch on other “ancient earth” topics)—was the true pragmatist behind mankind.

Some public minds have asserted that evolution and creationism are both flights of fantasy, simplistic explanations to far more sophisticated issues. Creationists say they’ve come a long way from the early days, when they were called “Flat Earthers” or “Geocentrics” who believe the earth the epicenter of the universe.Both sides have waged contention in courts, laboratories and schools, oddly hedging for their own survival of the fittest.

Then came the Intelligent Design faction.

For some, advocates of Intelligent Design (ID) seem to provide the best of both worlds: a foundation of science and a pinch of holy intervention. Some say science fiction.

ID is the theory that there is a higher intelligence—Supreme Being or extra terrestrial—that has distinct plans for humanity. One base of the ID movement is the Center for Science and Culture, while another is a growing community of alien life aficionados. Legal scholar Phillip E. Johnson popularized the term Intelligent Design in his 1991 book Darwin on Trial. Many ID followers believe that evolution and natural selection are insufficient explanations for life.

“I can see where they’re coming from,” said James Gibbs, a defender of Creationism, about the theory of Intelligent Design. “It’s not too far off from my own beliefs.”

Gibbs, 27, a Long Island New York native now living in Pittsburgh, believes an “outside force” did populate the planet with a diversity of people, plants and animals. He says it was God. A “born again Christian” for three years, Gibbs always attended church, and not just because his mother was the pastor. “I’m not a connotative Christian,” he said. “I’m denotative.”

He started learning toward the creationist theory while as a student studying science at Carnegie Mellon University. His intellectual appetite was primed while in the New York public school system. “Teachers would chuckle because they knew (the subject matter) wasn’t true,” Gibbs said. “And they were as liberal as you could get.

Once he got to CMU, his own beliefs developing beliefs clashed with the compelling data faculty was bringing his way. “The more questions I had, the less answers I was getting,” he said. His interests were not unlike many Progressive Creationists, who accept most of modern physical science, even viewing the Big Bang as evidence of the creative power of God, but rejects much of modern biology.

He was principally inquisitive about gravity’s true meaning (he didn’t completely buy into centrifugal force) and why, despite exact scientific recreations of what professors thought “the big bang,” was all about, things just didn’t appear to make sense.

“I was a naïve kid with a flurry of questions,” he said. When scientists at CMU were able to make two ions collide at the speed of sound, Gibbs was expecting to see a blast of monumental proportions. Instead physics teachers, tired of his litany of questions, sent him to the back of the room.It’s at that time Gibbs started looking for answers in the Bible. “God is like gravity, you can’t see it but you know it works,” he says.

Gibbs furthermore believes man just may be de-evolving with the advent of the Internet and other tools that may be used to dull once promising and creative brains. And he’s a software developer.

Steve Babin, a believer of Evolutionism, disagrees with the notion that people are de-evolving because they’re caught up with television programs or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video games.

Today we aren’t consumed with hunting for that day’s food and finding shelter, he says. “Some argue that society is falling,” he continues. “It isn’t. “Modern man is always ‘Modern Man’,” he says. “There will always be geniuses in any age.”

Babin, 38, a North Side resident working in Sales and Marketing, believes that followers of Intelligent Design and Creationism base their faith, beliefs, or theories on fear. That opinion parallels that of many evolution-leaning philosophers and historians who think that debates with creationists is simply science versus religion. “Look around,” he continues. “Evolution shows itself every day.”

Babin points to present-day squirrels in the Grand Canyon. Squirrels on the north end of the valley are a different color than their cousins to the south, and they “respond differently to their environment.” In addition, the squirrels rarely communicate with those from the other end of the canyon, and live exclusively apart.

Natural selection among animals explains why towering and dominating Tyrannosaurus Rex couldn’t survive through ice ages and other natural obstacles, while turtles and alligators remain plentiful in particular areas of the planet. “[Meanwhile] Forces that man has caused has caused for the extinction of a number of cockatiels and parakeets in South America,” said Babin.

Believers of ID suggest that some ancient archeological gems, like the rocks at Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt are souvenirs from a long-gone mystical power. “I think they’ve leave something more ego-based,” says Babin. “I don’t discount a Creator…but I don’t think a God would create the errors (he does).”

As for Gibbs’ hypothesis that scientists should be able to recreate the Big Bang, Babin says there’s something “missing to the blueprint,” that the brightest minds of today just haven’t yet been able to comprehend. “We think we know everything,” he explains. Chance, chaos and just plain old luck may have something to do with creating a new universe.

“Scientists aren’t able to recreate the Big Bang because they cannot set up the original conditions,” said John Kulinski, an advocate of Intelligent Design. “They would have to have everything in ‘potential,’” so that when everything exploded, you’d have everything there.”

Kulinski doesn’t know if it is possible for any modern being to recreate a life-triggering explosion.

It’s the “X” factor, or random chance odds, that have so many people perplexed.“I believe everything was created and is held in place by creation, but note a anthropomorphic God,” noted Kulinski.

Kulinski, 61, studied in a seminary school from ages 17-24 before deciding he wasn’t cut out for a life of religious servitude. A long-time Medical Laboratory Technician, Kulinski has vast experience in science, as well as religion. He can talk at length about another interest, the Pleidians—the race from Star System Pleides, the Lyra constellation in particular—whom he believes remains to be the driving force behind humanity of Earth.

The Whitehall resident says the pacifist Pleidians escaped their own world to escape growing tyranny and landed here, after first setting up colonies on Mars. “They are not from our time/space continuum,” he says.

The Pleidians, he suggests, genetically engineered all humans; however, Asians, Africans and Native Americans (possibly including the 9,000 year old Caucasian fossil Kennewick Man), among others actually originated on other planets in the Pleidians Star System. As Humans were born and bred on our home planet as a warrior race, designed to protect their originators from other aliens. The “petrie dish” or “primordial soup” that isn’t too far off of more than a few religious fundamentalists, according to Creationist follower Jim Gibbs.

“Earth is at the outer edge of the universe,” Kulinski explains. “[Pleiadians] needed soldiers.” However, he contests that earthlings have one major flaw: we are genetically engineered to die before reaching age 100, whereas Pleidians can live past 1,000 years old. Dying young would stop any full-assault rebellious uprising. Much of this backstory is available thanks to a Swedish farmer named Billy Meier who some say can still communicate with the Pleiadians. Meier’s website, www.figu.org, reports some of the latest information, as the Pleidians, fearing World War III, left Earth possibly for good in 1995.

Pleidians aren’t to be confused with the similar-sounding Raelians, who also lay claim to creating life on Mars and then Earth. Those who believe in the Raelians say that alien race comes back to earth more often, and is more social to a select few of descendants. Pleiadians, who are described as “far more advanced than humans” are more anti-social according to Kulinski, and perhaps intimidated by quick-tempered earthlings.

Interestingly, a quick search on the Internet shows that Raelians claimed a tight relationship with Jesus Christ. Through common day interpreters, Raelians say they allowed Christ to walk on water by using a force field. They may also believe Christ was Raelian.

Another link from a search engine shows a drawing of Quetzal, a Pleiadian visitor who looks remarkably like popular renderings of Christ.

The concept of Pleiadians leaving in fear of potential world wars appears on the surface to parallel the “fearful thought” ideas Steve Babin purports. “Creationists and believers of Intelligent Design are out to prove a point,” says Babin.

Kulinski explains the Pleiadians wiped all evidence of their existence away, except for what they tell Billy Meier. And earth scientists that survive any world wars should be able to unlock the secret of longevity in about 2,000 years because of “inspiration” we haven’t discovered. The Raelians are reportedly more hands-on with day-to-day existence on earth, which could explain Stonehenge and the ancient pyramids.

Kulinski also disagrees with Gibbs’ assertions of de-evolution. “We can get more information and learn more and more quickly than ever before,” he says. “[But] in any era if someone chooses to be lazy, they’ll be lazy. The Internet doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

Babin and Kulinski, the evolutionist and ID follower, both mentioned a prominent “Life Force,” but regardless, had stark ideological differences. “Life Force is like gravity,” said Babin. “It’s weak and it’s strong. Gravity in a finite term, keeps everything here. It’s powerful. Not a linear line.”

“I wouldn’t express Life Force the same way (associating with gravity),” said Kulinski. “But I understand where he’s coming from.”Kulinski related his theory of Life Force to electricity. “Messages from the brain are delivered through the nervous system and power of electricity. It’s basically electricity that keeps people living.”

Then there’s the deliberation among scientists and others who wonder if chimpanzees, orangutans or another primate is “the missing link” in human evolution. Bibin says they’ve evolved over 200 years, just as humans have gotten larger, quicker and live longer lives, despite not knowing the Pleiadian’s secret.

Kulinski says apes and the like are simply a different branch of the same tree. “Older branches don’t necessarily die,” he says. “The main growth of the tree still allows for old growth.” Conversely, Pleiadians may be responsible for other forms of life on earth.All three ideologists agree that there should be tolerance when it comes to teaching evolution, creationism and intelligent design. For some, each of the choices features something, “weird.” In some public schools, the thought of teaching anything approaching religion would probably be more sour than anything Kulinski’s Pleiadians would have students swallow.

“Basically, if all schools would emphasize all without the exclusion of others, that would be best,” said Kulinski. “Sure there are some things they wouldn’t believe, just like now. It’s par for the course.”

“If [something] was found out to be 100% untrue, you’d like to know that 50 years from now, it wouldn’t be taught in schools,” said Gibbs.Recently, the York (PA) Daily Record reported that eight science teachers in Dover Senior High School have refused to teach Intelligent Design and “gaps/problems” curriculum. They cited, “theory…not a fact,” as their rationale. They specifically complained about using Of Pandas and People, a book they decided wasn’t “good science.”

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, a bill calling for “balanced treatment to the theory of scientific creationism and the theory of evolution” was introduced to the state legislature. On January 10, 2005, it was introduced to the state’s Committee on Education. State Bill 2286 defines “scientific creationism” as “the belief, based on scientific principles, that there was a time in the past when all manner, energy and life and their process and relationships, were created ex nihulo and fixed by creative and intelligent design,” and “would if enacted, require “instruction in scientific theories of both evolution and scientific creationism if public schools choose to each either.” If passed, students in kindergarten through 12th grade would be affected by the bill. The bill seems to be modeled after a Louisiana bill that was held to be unconstitutional in the Supreme Court’s 1987 decision in Edwards v. Aguillard.

What’s clear in the debate between evolution, creationism and Intelligent Design it that there isn’t a clear delineation of them. In some ways they are nearly mirror images (some ID followers are linked with conservative Christian groups, and there are Intelligent Design Creationists), while diametrically opposed in others (see the link between Christ and Raelians).

1 Comments:

At February 5, 2005 at 8:25 AM, Blogger Leemensa said...

Andy Rooney said, "Contrary to popular belief, everyone is NOT entitled to their own opinion...If you don't know the facts, your opinion doesn't count."

"You're not entitled to your opinion; you're entitled to an informed" opinion."
Harlan Ellison


There is a fundamental difference between argument and opinion. "In mathematics, we make assumptions. We then prove whatever possible from them. This leads us to believe such things as 2 + 2 is 4. In science, we demonstrate through repeated experiment. And we do not need many trials to believe that objects released above the ground fall to it. In a philosophical sense, neither of the above is fact. But we would be quite foolish to act otherwise. Certainly they are something quite different from opinion. So in order to get on with life, we call these facts and act accordingly. We often must do the same with opinions. If reasonable people hold different views, then we are dealing with opinion, not fact. Given a need to act in the absence
of fact, we have no choice but to act upon an opinion. But doing so, does not convert the opinion selected to fact.

The Atomic "THEORY" is just that a theory. However the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed the theory to be supportable. The theory of natural selection can be substantiated through experiments, analysis of archaeological finds and other scientific facts.

 

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