Posted by: John McGerr | May 13, 2009

Science


I have  a background in Science, having studied Applied Biology and have always had a fascination with ancient animals, not just dinosaurs but older creatures as well. I also have had a long term interest in Astronomy thanks to the likes of Sir Patrick Moore and Carl Sagan. I’m currently re-reading Bill Bryson’s ‘ A Short History of Nearly Everything’. The one common theme running through the book is that science is never static, that new research, new findings throw new light on old theories, on old information.  This re-evaluation of facts based on new information or research is sometimes used by Creationists to ‘prove’ how wrong science is and to back up their own theories. I accept and believe in the theory of evolution. I don’t think a belief in God necessarily rules out a belief in evolution, I just don’t consider the Bible to be historically accurate(even if places mentioned in it are real – I don’t consider the ‘Da Vinci Code’ to be accurate either, and there are lots of real places in it too).  I will continue to have faith in science despite the errors and inaccuracies that show up from time to time. There is a classic Dilbert cartoon where a boss harangues an employee, telling her that he has noticed a disturbing trend ‘ I have noticed that your solutions to problems are always the ones your try last’ – so it is with science. I also think we, as a species, overrate ourselves. I think Nature, if you were to imbue it with a personality, doesn’t give a toss about people. Sometime, in the unforeseeable future, some cataclysm or disease will wipe humans out much like to dinosaurs and nature will plod along and some other species will rise to the top of the evolutionary ladder. Maybe, like dinosaurs evolving into birds, some small segment of the human race will evolve into something else. Will any of our ‘human characteristics’  survive? Perhaps, perhaps not. I come to this conclusion because of my belief in science and the history of disasters that have befallen this planet. But even if you don’t accept this history there is still ample evidence of how fickle life can be on this planet, volcanic eruptions that have caused temporary climate changes, diseases that kill millions(what if AIDS could be spread by mosquitoes?), earthquakes that, in relative terms, are quite small but cause many deaths, near misses by objects from space, floods, hurricanes, fires. All on-going, all recurring. Let’s face it there is no such thing as ‘communing with nature’.  Nature just doesn’t give a f**k. For a view on what could happen the world if humans all died out today visit this site by Alan Weisman(flash player required). For less speculation, there are some photos on this site about Chernobyl that show what a city looks like when humans have abandoned it for twenty years

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