Monday, September 19, 2005
Guess what was once taught and debated by the brightest minds in the world?
-the brain served to cool the blood
-the world consisted of earth, wind, water, and fire
-major catastrophes were caused by heavenly wrath
-the sun and planets revolved around the earth
It was all utter nonsense of course, and Ancient Greece was all the better for it. That the Greeks debated what we now know are nonsensical ideas belies the point that their interest was marked and accentuated by the debate itself. Debating something means that in your minds eye you are looking to the pros and cons of an argument, and are applying critical thinking. Nowadays we know better, and ancient beliefs don't hold much scrutiny to a critical eye. But that doesn't mean that us smarter folks wouldn't be passionately stirred to debate with some rube who comes up with the theory the earth is hollow, that the Easter Bunny exists, or that Santa Claus is coming to town. That the Ancient Greeks debated topics that have as much relevance as Santa Claus should tell us something, since after all didn't western civilization derive from such an intellectual ferment? Indeed, arguing about stupid ideas is just the thing for idle minds.
Enter the evolution argument. Evangelical Christians believe that we need a little Deistic hocus pocus to make the world work, and that evolution doesn't quite cut it when compared to the simple elegance of a Garden of Eden. To which I must add, bring it on! And while you're at it, introduce into the curricula the world views of Hindus', Buddhists and animists into the argument as well. You see, when an argument is stupid enough, it gets the critical juices flowing, and forces people to think, which is a whole lot better than reducing the world to the rote memorization of facts. And who knows, perhaps Lord Shiva will win out in the end, as I may likely find out in my next reincarnation.