Joined: Jan. 2006
Discussions of late have sparked a thought or two. Nasty and naughty as I can be, I am always amused by other people blaming their failings on me (or others) and projecting their flaws and fears onto their "opponents". It's always an amusing and fascinating part of the process that I am sure everyone here is familiar with. Thus, a question I haven't asked in a while occurred to me:
What if I am wrong?
I'll explain. As a scientist I ask myself the question "What if I am wrong?" about 50 times a day. In this "debate" about creationism I have in the past asked myself "What if I am wrong?". With regard to my lack of belief in a deity or set of deities, I have frequently asked myself "What if I am wrong?". I think I can recognise people who ask this question of themselves and I think I can recognise people who are incapable of asking this question of themselves, preferring instead to blame their insecurities and failings on others. I think the question lies at the heart of any debate or discussion, and is indicative of productive humility. I'd go as far to say that anyone who cannot honestly ask themselves this question is someone who has yet to mature to the point where they can participate in any discussion or intellectual pursuit in anything approaching a productive manner.
So I thought, despite the cheeky title, I'd ask everyone a very serious question, or rather series of questions. These are delieberately hypothetical questions by the way, the manner of answer is as important as the answer itself.
1) For the atheists/agnostics etc: What if you are wrong and god(s) do(es) exist? How would you feel and what would you do? What are the social, ethical and political ramifications of this, if any?
2) For the theists/deists etc: What if you are wrong and god(s) do(es) not exist? How would feel and what would you do? What are the social, ethical and political ramifications of this, if any?
3) For the scientists and people who accept modern evolutionary biology as the best explanation we currently have for the diversity of life on earth: What if you are wrong and IDC or YEC or whatever creationism you care to name is correct? How would feel and what would you do? What are the social, ethical and political ramifications of this, if any?
4) For the creationists/evolution sceptics of various stripes and colours: What if you are wrong and IDC or YEC or whatever creationism you care to name is incorrect, and the modern state of evolutionary biology is correct? How would feel and what would you do? What are the social, ethical and political ramifications of this, if any?
Just to be fair, I'll answer the relevant ones quickly:
1) I'd be very happy to discover that a god or gods existed. I would have found out something new about the universe I didn't now before. Of course I'd be a little curious and I might have to ask dear old god or gods a few potentially impertinent questions, all in all I think it would be an amusing thing to discover. Any of the ramifications I mention and what I would do personally depend on the nature of the deity discovered. A Greek or Norse pantheon wouldn't alter my actions massively, and I would imagine that human life would go on pretty much as it does now with all the concommittant wars and what have you. A single deity of certain attributes might force me to change my behaviour in some directions and not others perhaps, but it rather depends on those divine attributes.
3) Firstly, I'd be a bit bloody surprised! But since we are dealing with a hypothetical situation, I'd have to say I'd be perfectly happy with this, If the evidence did support some form of creationism, then I'd hve to go with the evidence. That is, after all, my calling! What I would do is obviously try to get a job in this new and potentially lucrative scientific field! I would love to find out the mechanisms and evidence proposed and supporting this new creationist science. Political, social and ethical ramifications? None. Is does not equate to ought. This is, of course, excepting the case where the creationism discovered was linked to some particular deity. If it was YEC for example then this has implications mentioned in question 1), i.e. a deity of specific attributes that would have political and social etc ramifications. However, ID which (wink wink) doesn't predict a specific designer would be a different bag. Anyway, as I have said before, I don't care WHAT is true, I care HOW we know it to be so.
Enjoy, improve on, etc