Saturday, 5 September 2009

great questions of the universe (the questions strike back)

we have addressed whether ninjas > pirates in some length, and briefly approached the never-ending battle between cake and pie. and today, we continue with more unnerving questions:

evolutionism (or darwinism) vs. creationism - god/science, damn you!

i'm not about to go into a debate between the two (or three, since darwinism and evolutionism are quite distinct, but let's just lump them together for brevity), as this would probably cause some uproar and i sure as hell don't want any social uprisings under my blog rule. all hail communist czar jesus! but i do want to touch a bit on how these ideas could be integrated (not saying that they should, but just pointing out that there really is no reason to be at ends with each other). i guess this is all in the spirit of coming together, which is kind of the current theme of my writings (if there actually is a theme).

let's methodically approach this from the evolutionist's perspective: you've got the somewhat scientific justifications (you can read all about these in your own time, there's just too much literature for me to go over), but at the end of the day i don't really buy it all. as a fellow scientist (or at least one who honours the scientific approach) i find it surprising how the lack of bridging species (for example there really hasn't been concrete proof of a man-ape or fish-frog whatever) hasn't been addressed all that well. a lot of evolutionists will publish their (parallel) theories which boil down to faith anyway - there's no way of proving the theories because you can't travel back in time. yet. and it's just one person's authority against the other's and really how different is that from, say, the church's? i particularly like how, doing bioinformatics, you assume the default that species (or at least homologous genes, since that is the definition of orthologues) have a common ancestry, but you can't really come to a concensus as to who or what this ancestor is.

on the other hand, you can't deny evolution happening in real time. working with organisms who have a relatively 'fast ticking evolutionary clock' like bacteria and viruses, you can pretty much see point mutations happening in front of your eyes. in a standard culture of e.coli, for example, you get one mutation every 1E6 cells, which is about 10 - 20 in a petri dish, pending your lawn concentration. those that don't die off, go on to further adapt and i'm sure most of you are familiar with how, in weeks, you can have trait enhancement, best exemplified by antibiotic resistance etc. even if you're the most hard core christian (or whatever religion) trying to argue otherwise, you can't tell me that's not really happening because it's empirical. yet i would agree with the fact that you don't see the bacteria evolving into gnats or velociraptors or even a different species of bacterium. it's just not that straight forward. and it's all about timeframes.

moving on, for the creationist: so God said he created man. no scientist or martian from the future or space monkey can dissuade you from that, and that's perfectly fine. belief is what it is by definition - a belief. unconditional faith, and to an extent it's analogous in religion just as it is in science. but that doesn't mean, for example He couldn't have created frogs from fish. or monkeys from humans (aha, a little unconventional by either religious and gene ontology / phylogeny, but i'm just throwing it out there, that it could be possible). and who's to say you're wrong if your God threw down a few natural disasters or tweaked with probabilities to create miracles? in an extreme case, let's say jesus (of the non-variant type) did change water to wine (references here, here, here, here and here. but more realistically, here). some may chose the literal vs. figurative interpretation of 'wine'. but i was going for the more extreme (catered for the disbelieving scientist) statement that maybe water did really turn into wine. put in a bit of chemistry (get your Cs Hs and Os from wherever) and have them spontaneously organise themselves into wine. impossible? not really. just very, very, very, very, very improbable. enough so that any statistician would dismiss it, but still. again, not saying i believe this, but it provides a technicality to work with, for the nay-sayers.

coming full circle: i'm not arguing for or against either. what you chose to believe is entirely up to you, be it empirical, faith, authority, apathy, whatever. or even if you chose to actively disbelieve both. kind of hard to do that, but sure, whatever floats your boat.

what i am getting at is this: don't dismiss your fellow (wo)man for his beliefs. be it because you're religious or scientific, i'm sure whatever higher power you believe in promotes your well behaviour amongst your kin.

also, be careful of those velociraptors.

1 comment:

Aisya A. said...

i like the way you want to introduce one may say the 1malaysia concept?or 1earth or whatsoever.. win win concept

nice one amir =)