Sunday, 9 January 2011

Religion: Epiphany!

As you may have noticed, I am currently reading Richard Dawkins' book The Greatest Show On Earth. What a marvellous read it proves to be, and in some very, very unexpected ways!

Today being Sunday, a day for God and religious observances (at least for some) it is only fitting for me to tell you about the epiphany I had only yesterday while reading a particular chapter of The Greatest Show On Earth.

Let me tell you: I have been converted, and I have seen the God's grand design in all its, and His, glory. A true catharsis it was. But let's take it one step at a time, and I hope you will also see the same light I did...

First, I think it's only fair I told you, as briefly as I can, all about the passage that changed my whole world yesterday.

Maybe you have already heard about Richard Lenski and his long term experiment with the Escherichia Coli bacterium? No? In probably too few words to do it justice, Dr Lenski and his associates have been following 12 strains of E. Coli for more than two decades, at the same time conducting and devising very clever experiments designed to prove (or possibly even disprove) Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

I must agree with Richard Dawkins, and say that the Lenski experiment was thought out, planned, and carried out absolutely perfectly. Its design was also probably the best test of the theory of evolution one can do with the current scientific state of the art. Since Richard Dawkins with all of his eloquent style took probably half a dozen pages to run through a very rough skecth I won't even try, but I urge you to have a read yourself, either in The Greatest Show On Earth, or in this, fairly decent Wikipedia article (although Dawkins does a much better job).

Once I carefully went through the details of the experiment so brilliantly recounted by Richard Dawkins, there was no doubt in my mind that, yes, Lenski has shown without a shadow of the doubt that his E. Coli cultures indeed behaved in exactly the way that can be, and is, predicted by the Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. And, at the very same moment, I also had the epiphany I have begun this post with.

Yes, dear friends, the Lenski experiment in fact proves almost nothing. In fact, what I have realised is that if it proves one thing it is the greatness of God and His design. Because, see, He, being omniscient and omnipotent, and having created and designed the whole of our world anyway, could have very easily nudged Dr Lenski in the right direction, and then helped his bacteria along in just the right way to make all the religion deniers like me, him, and Richard Dawkins, think we are oh-so-clever, and can prove our pet little theory of "evolution" just like that.

And what fun He must have had! Being a vengeful Deity, as I have already shown, he must be now chuckling into His beard and enjoying the thought of the three of us (and many more) burning in Hell of His choosing. So, I couldn't help but realise how wrong I have been all my life in denying Him His rightful place, and not giving Him his due. We don't need any scientific "explanations" once we have seen His greatness. Oh, He will certainly also have fun in letting us "learn" and "discover" what are essentially His truths. But, the only thing we really need to know is that He exists, and watches over us. It is His, and only His, little whim to have created us, and the world in a way that allows us to pass (waste?) our time trying to disprove His existence. How silly and stupid we can be, and how clever in their unscientific naivety are all those who have already seen the light and are pursuing their lives much more usefully by trying to make people see how He not only exists, but everything we know only exists because, and through Him. Thank you Creationists!

Finally, a word of caution to any and all who would try and tell me now that their particular brand of religion is "the right one". Oh, how He laughs at you, too! Can't you see how He, being omnipotent and omniscient does not need any of your rites and traditions? In most ways you are really no better than those "scientists" who would deny He exists at all! And, He certainly does not you to praise him in any particular way, or any particular place, for as long as you are aware of His existence, might, and importance. Just be in awe, and He may just decide you are worth something.

Yes, I have seen the light, and, for a want of a better word: Amen!

Oh, sorry, just one more little thing: And now, for something completely different...

Did you REALLY believe, even for a second, the babbling above? The crap about God, omnipotence, omniscience, and His meddling with an ingenious scientific experiment? Well, if you have then you are truly beyond any hope, and you should book yourself a ticket to that Creationism museum somewhere in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Or shall I say, fruits and bats?

There is absolutely NO reason for me to believe that there is a God, omniscient, omnipotent, both, or neither. There is also NO need whatsoever for a god in order for us to explain the world we live in. We may not be able - yet - to explain ALL of it, but everything we know tells us that such an explanation - and the one without any deities involved - is possible, regardless of whether you and I will live to see it or not.

And, in that particular respect, choosing evolution as the battleground is exactly the right decision for us scientific and atheist lot, and exactly the wrong decision for the intellectually challenged lot that are creationists. Why? Just have another look at the Lenski experiment, for Christ's sake - if I have to use that particular exclamation. It is so demonstrably and obviously perfectly designed and executed that the only way to dispute its result that, yes, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection is undeniably true, is to go to extremely silly lengths of assuming a deity so vane and concerned about us not "cracking" his creation that he needs to go into nitty-gritty of actually running the lenski experiment himself so he can chuckle in his beard - to borrow my own phrase. Or rather, for a creationist to dispute evolution after having been shown the results of the Lenski experiment he would have to actually claim magical knowledge of the mind of his own god who was on a very specific mission to fool Lenski so that creationists can chuckle in their beards. And to do that would be exceedingly silly, even by the creationists' standards.

So, ladies and gentleman, do not get fooled by the Bible thumpers, or any other kind of religious person - fanatical or not (although you may be well advised to steer much more clear of the fanatical variety - Muslim and Christian alike, regardless of their respective tendency to flammability). Use your own minds and eyes, and do not be scared of the unknown, because it is, one, ultimately knowable, and two, filled only with the same sort of stuff you already know, but maybe with a different colour and/or flavour. Do not be a coward and hide in the beard of a putative deity, because therein lies slavery. The religions ultimately enslave, and they enslave what is the most precious and wondrous thing you have - your mind.

Free your mind, leave the gods behind!