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Since time immemorial, the world has been in war for varied reasons, differences in ideological beliefs, aggression from other states, scramble for resources, and territorial violations. However, the longest lasting and most contested battle, pitting the world’s largest groups, Christians and Scientists, against each other, is of the origin of man and the universe.
Religious groups like Christians, Muslims, and Jews believe in the biblical story of creation. The creationism theory states that God created Adam and Eve in his own image and placed them in the Garden of Eden where all forms of life began. According to this theory, the universe is approximately 6000 years old as calculated by Archbishop Ussher in the sixteenth century.
Scientists, who claim life form existed in the world millions of years ago, have watered the credibility of the creation theory. Fossils excavated from seabeds and sedimentary rocks ascertain this claim. Scientists’ attempts to explain the origin of the universe have led to the development of many theories, all having their shortfalls.
As a result, none of the theories has gained universal acceptance as the most probable origin of man and the universe. This has left moral, religious, and cultural forces to play a great role in shaping people’s stand on the origin of the universe.
The Creationist Theory
To establish the reason for the many scientific researches on the origin of the universe, it is prudent to explain the theory all works of science seem to tear apart, The Creationism Theory. Widely held by Christians, Muslims, and Jews, the theory explains that God is the creator and controller of the universe.
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.
And the evening and the morning were the first day…And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree…Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth…after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind and God saw that it was good… Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind…
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth…So God created man in his own image (New International Version BIBLE, Gen. 1.1-29).
The creationists believe that God created living creatures on earth and can take them away at will. According to this theory, the world is 6000 years old. The theory draws its strength from the complexity of human life that science cannot explain. Furthermore, research has proven that some major occurrences mentioned in the bible are true.
The big flood that swept the whole World and the Ark of Noah are examples of proven happenings. Balsiger (2010) supports the flood’s occurrence by saying, “Geologists who have climbed mount Ararat, the landing site of Noah’s Ark, have discovered a varriety of seashells and other evidence that this mountain was once under water.”
Similarly, Harris (1997) provides crucial evidence of the detention and enslaving of the Israelites in Egypt as mentioned in the bible.
It is easier to believe the creation story and let life continue. However, scientists are leaving nothing at stake in their bid to answer questions on the existence of the universe they consider not addressed by the theory. Further, they claim incorrect timing and unmentioned crucial facts about the creation theory “cast doubt” on the overall theory (Caputo, 2006).
First, the creation theory’s timeframe calculated by Archbishop Ussher, and generally accepted by creationists, is far from what scientists consider the true age of the world.
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“The discovery of fossil types of man or manlike organisms…from South Africa, in the early Pleistocene strata of 1,000,000 million years ago…now classified as Homo erectus…” is evidence that the world has existed for at least a million years, as opposed to the 6000 years advocated by the theory (Adler, 1993).
In fact, according to Fortey (2009), the oldest documented case of living animals is over 540 million years. The theory is also under condemnation for failing to explain the beginning of human races just as it explains language diversity. If all human beings, as explained by the theory, are descendants of Adam and Eve, why is the world’s population so diverse?
Why do we have Whites, Blacks, Reds, and the Colored races? Lack of answers for such crucial information has led to the emergence of many theories attempting to provide the much-needed answers. These theories include, Evolution proposed by Charles Darwin, Intelligent Design, the Steady State Theory, and the Big Bang Theory.
The Big Bang Theory
In 1984, Long claimed, “The big bang theory is the most popular of all the scientific theories that attempt to explain the origin of the universe.” Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian priest and professor who lectured at the University of Louvain, developed the theory. Georges’ argued that the fast movement of other galaxies away from our own in all directions is symbolic of an ancient force pushing them away from our universe.
Long (1984) confirms that the proponents of the big bang theory believe the vast universe was compressed into a tiny finite volume, which exploded and has been flying apart as the universe ever since. This compressed state is believed to have existed for just split seconds before the big bang.
According to this theory, a massive explosion caused the universe’s matter and energy to disperse ten to twenty billion years ago. Immediately after the big bag, the universe expanded with speed beyond understanding from the tiny size to the current astronomical scope. Even though the expansion continues, it is now happening at a much slower speed. Fox (2002) describes this phenomenon in details.
In the beginning, there was nothing…nothingness in which packets of energy fleeted in and out of existence, popping into oblivion as quickly as they appeared…One of these fluctuations had just enough energy to take off. It inflated wildly out of control – one-moment infinitesimally small, moments later, light-years across. All of space and time was created in that instant, and as that energy slowed, it cooled and froze into matter (p. 9).
The theory seeks to justify the occurrence of a massive blast by pointing out the existence of cosmic microwave background radiation throughout the universe. The theory asserts that these waves are leftovers from the big bang.
Despite its wide acceptance by scientists as the most probable origin of the universe, the big bang theory is equally criticized as it leaves many scientific questions unanswered. For example, the theory gives no explanation on the evolution of the universe after the big bang.
Worst still, the theory completely fails to explain the “origin of the big bang” itself (Edwards, 2001). How then can it be good enough to explain the origin of the universe when its own origin is blurred?
The Evolution Theory
In 1959, Charles Darwin published his book, “The origin of Species” in which he explained that man evolved from tiny living creatures through environmental adaptation over millions of years (Darwin, 1958). He further argued, “Animals that were incapable of adapting to environmental changes perished” (p. 27).
The depth and breadth of Darwin’s research findings easily convinced many scientists that natural selection provided the most concrete and firm foundation on origin of man. In fact, Darwin himself exuded a lot of confidence in his findings when he said, “I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts” (p. 27).
Darwin’s study of evolution was triggered by observation of life in South America. He stated, “When on board H. M. S. Beatle as a naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of organic beings inhabiting South America, and the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent” (p. 1).
Darwin further explained that the facts “seemed to throw some light on the origin of species” and went ahead to give a detailed account of the facts (p. 1). In furthering his explanations, Darwin gives the example of a giraffe. He said taller giraffes had a better chance of survival because they could reach taller tree leaves even during drought as compared to shorter ones.
In order to survive, the giraffes gave birth to progeny that grew taller and taller over time. In this same manner, Darwin holds that animals and humans have adapted, evolved, and survived. Animals that were incapable of adapting themselves perished. This principle of survival of the fittest is what Darwin called “means of natural selection.”
If variations useful to any organic being ever do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance, these will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized (Darwin, 1958).
The evolutionists hold that humans grew from particles that randomly clang together to form DNA molecules. These molecules grew continuously to be the humans we know today. The possibility of man evolving from tiny living creatures, as proposed by Charles Darwin, is mathematically near impossible. Sapse (2000) states, “For life to be formed, the right mix of life sustaining amino acids must be united.”
Webb (2002) reinforces the idea by claiming that the probability of random processes creating a nucleic acid or a protein is tiny. In further support of this claim, Davis (1999) says that hundreds of thousands of proteins are required to sustain life, and that the probability of these proteins coming together “randomly” is 1040000. Additionally, the theory fails to highlight the origin of the tiny particles that randomly unite to give forth life.
It could be easy to believe the evolution process, but without a strong foundation on the origin of the tiny living creatures, it is baseless. The theory also claims that the earth is four billion years old, a time not long enough for the tiny particles to form the complex human life we know today.
The Intelligence Design
The idea that human’s complexity is a result of a superior, powerful, and all knowing designer whose ability is beyond man’s understanding has existed for years. In fact, the theory existed long before Charles Darwin came up with the evolution theory. William Paley, a renowned English theologian, is the accredited exponent of the theory. Paley illustrated the theory with the famous watchmaker analogy.
He claimed that if one found a pocket watch in the field whiles walking, concluding that it is a product of evolution is unfounded. Rather, one should know that it is a result of a designing being’s intellect. Likewise, he concluded that the existing complex life in the world is a result of super natural creator’s activities.
The intelligence design theory is linked to the creationist theory because it supports the existence of a supernatural deity as the designer of the universe. The proponents of this theory differ with the creation theory’s timeframe. Rather, they agree with the evolutionists in the belief that the world has existed for millions of years.
Some believers of the theory claim God designed life and the universe, while others claim it is not clear who designed the universe, but agree that it must be a civilization superior to ours. Still others believe our existence on the universe is the work of aliens, using human race as subjects of experiment. There is not a single evidence of this claim, but refuting it is equally hard as there is no evidence to the contrary of the belief.
This theory may hold ground to some extend since the modern man’s appearance on earth seems sudden and unexplained. Whereas there are many discovered fossils of animals dating back to 540 million years old, the oldest fossil of modern man, Cro-Magnon, is only thirty to forty thousand years old (Fagan, 2010). Furthermore, there seems to be no fossil evidence of humans evolving from any other animals or beings.
The lack of evidence of existence of man until 30 million years ago could probably point out that they “dropped” from somewhere. The supporters of intelligent design argue that the theory offers explanation to some concepts that evolution cannot account for. Irreducible complexity is an example of a concept evolution cannot account for.
Here, they argue that some components of nature or biochemical systems are so well matched to be mere products of evolution. Irreducible systems are only complete as a whole, any attempt to remove any part results to error as all their parts are necessary. The characteristics of the parts being so intricate and interdependent cannot be a result of evolution.
The stand by intelligent design theorists that no evolution has taken place is widely criticized by a section of scientists who believe it is based on ignorance. The critics claim it is unrealistic, improper, and grave to deny evolution as it continues even today. For example, they claim if an individual cuts himself, the blood responds by producing plasma cells that clot the blood around the cut to reduce and eventually end the blood flow.
“The key proteins that clot blood fit this pattern, too. They are actually modified versions of proteins used in the digestive system…evolution duplicated, retargeted, and modified these proteins to produce the vertebrate blood-clotting system” (Curry & Chang 2006). Such responses, they claim have existed from the very existence of man and have ensured his survival (Campbell, 2009).
The Steady State Theory
A group of renowned scientists developed the steady state theory in 1948 as an alternative to the Big Bang theory. The scientists involved in the development of this theory included, Hermann Bondi, Thomas Gold, and Fred Hoyle all whom were Cambridge physicists.
Bondi states, “The Steady State Theory differs from other creation theories…the problem of creation, is brought within the scope of physical inquiry, and is examined in detail instead of, as in other theories, being handed over metaphysics” (Bondi, 1952). The theory made it acceptable in the late 1960s that the universe had no known beginning at all.
Instead, it held that matter is created continuously during the expansion of the universe, which ensures perfect adherence to cosmological principle. This theory further asserts that despite the continuous expansion of the universe, its appearance has not changed over time.
Due to the continuous expansion of the universe, a notable change to its components is only impossible if new matter is continuously created to maintain the average density of matter in the universe. The scientists claimed that hydrogen is the continuously produced matter that keeps the universe stable.
In 1993, the theory was reinforced and additional information that lacked in the initial version added. Quasi-steady state theory is a result of the modifications, which suggest that there are pockets of creations occurring within the universe commonly referred to as mini-bangs. Even though the steady state theory is widely discredited, there are people who believe its premises.
Evidently, the scientific theories put forward by various scientists have failed to address, comprehensively and conclusively, the “missing links” in the creation theory.
Instead, they have torn the world into different directions, pitting people against each other, consequently spinning the world to a completely irrelevant direction, of seeking the dark and little known past, instead of focusing on the future and how to make his stay in the world most comfortable. Humanity has greater enemies in diseases, famine, and poverty.
Therefore, greater effort should be directed at fighting these enemies. Scientific discoveries have helped humans greatly by inventing medicines for curing diseases thereby reducing mortality rate, explaining phenomena that were once mysteries, and introducing new technologies, which have improved living standards.
However, it must be accepted that scientific research on the origin of the universe, has hardly contributed towards improving man’s well being. Instead, it is divisive and baseless. Every individual has the freedom to choose what theory to believe concerning the origin and existence of the universe and all the creatures in it. Whichever the choice, every individual must put effort in tolerating others who hold contrary opinion.
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