The Importance of Creation and Evolution

"It is not a matter of whether one is biased or not. It is really a question of which bias is the best bias with which to be biased."
-Ken Ham
This is not a creation vs. evolution post. Similarly, the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye debate from a while back was not a creation vs. evolution debate. It was certainly advertised as such, and commonly seen as such, and even declared to be a creation vs. evolution debate by the moderator. However, when we read the topic for the debate, we see that evolution was never even mentioned. "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?" While it certainly dealt directly with the idea of creation, and very strongly with its opponent, evolution, it was not a discussion about which was right. The question was simply whether the creation model is viable. Today's post will be discussing the topic of creation and evolution, but it is not about which model is correct. Rather, I hope to show the importance of creation vs. evolution in general. For the sake of simplicity, I'm going to address the two major groups involved in this discussion. That is to say, I'll be writing about why this topic should be important to the Christian, and then I'll be writing about why this topic should be important to the atheist.

Let's begin with the Christian side of the discussion. The Christian faith is based on the Bible. The Bible refers to itself as the infallible Word of God, being perfect in every way. If the Bible is wrong in even one place, then it cannot be the infallible Word of God, which demolishes the Christian faith. So it becomes very important to ask, is the theory of evolution compatible with the Bible? If the answer is yes, then the discussion of creation vs. evolution is of little importance to the Christian. If the answer is no, then we must take a side and stand by it. So is evolution compatible with the Bible? Searching Google will bring up any number of results. Many will likely be from Creation.com and Answers in Genesis. You'll also find results from websites defending theistic evolution. There are so many factors, that it would take an extensive amount of time to cover everything. So I'll go over a very few basics.
We must examine whether the Genesis account of creation was meant to be taken literally. That is to say, was it meant as a historical account, or as a poetic account? If it were meant as a poetic account, we would come across a number of problems. One problem being the issue of sin and death. The Bible teaches that death is a result of sin. A single, first sin, that was chosen by mankind. Evolution involves millions of years of death and destruction, even if it were being guided by God. This means that death must have been around before sin. (This is also a problem for one theory involving the Hebrew word "yom," meaning "day." Another problem with that theory is that the Bible specifies evening and morning, each day. There are more problems with this theory, but let's stick to the figurative side for now.) If the creation account is figurative, then everything else falls apart. Even in the New Testament, the Bible speaks of the first Adam, who brought sin, and the second Adam (Jesus) Who brings life. If there wasn't a single act of sin that brought death into the world, then the sacrifice of Jesus means nothing.
While I could go into far more detail on the subject, I believe that this is enough for our purposes, and we can safely say that evolution is incompatible with the Bible. Therefore, creation vs. evolution is an extremely important topic for the Christian, as it serves as a foundation for what we believe. (In addition, it is important to point out that even those who believe evolution is compatible with the Bible rarely point to reasons within the Bible showing why they believe that evolution is the best interpretation, but rather point to what something could mean, and how it could be compatible with evolution.)

Having covered the more complex side of the discussion, we now move into why this discussion is important for the atheist. Again, this is a question of compatibility. Is creationism compatible with atheism? This question is significantly easier to answer, and again, the answer is no. The topic is important to the atheist because if the universe was created, then there is (at least) a god, which causes the atheistic belief that there is no God or other deity to fall flat.

Again, this post is not about which belief is correct (though it should be fairly easy for you to figure out which I believe). This post is about why the topic is important in the first place. People can attempt to make one view compatible with the other belief, but in reality, evolution is not compatible with the Bible. If creationism could be disproved, then the Bible would fall flat, just like atheism would fall flat without evolution. Creation vs. evolution is a discussion of origins. And in order to say why we believe what we believe, knowing where we came from is vital.
"If you destroy the foundations of anything, the structure will collapse. If you want to destroy any building, you are guaranteed early success if you destroy the foundations."
-Ken Ham

A Line in the Sand

"The heart sometimes doesn’t care about limits."
-Kristen Ashley
Before I begin any explanation on today's topic, I'm going to tell you about a line in the sand that I've drawn for myself. This is a personal line that probably doesn't apply to anyone else, so I'll be using it as an example throughout the post. I don't read Star Wars novels. I made this limit in July of 2011 after realizing that things were getting a bit out of hand. I used to a read a lot of Star Wars novels. I practically studied Star Wars. I still enjoy Star Wars, I watch the movies, and I have plenty of opinions about the cartoons and the new movie. I'll almost certainly be discussing this in a future post. But the novels were a bit of an issue. The novels meant that Star Wars penetrated every part of my life. While I watch movies rarely, books are far more common for me, and I got sucked into the Star Wars universe. I basked in it, I lived it, I breathed it. So, I drew a line in the sand. No more Star Wars novels.

The concept of a line in the sand is rather easy to understand. You set a limit, and you don't cross that line. Or, depending on the limit, you don't allow others to cross that line. The point of a line, either way, is that it not be crossed. I have set a limit for myself, that I will not read Star Wars novels. I do not cross this limit. But sometimes I'm tempted to move the limit. And this is what today's post is mainly about. I discussed it briefly in a previous post, and today we'll be looking at it in a little more detail. What happens when you move the line?

A long time ago, at a library not so far away, I read a couple of series' by Jude Watson. One was called Jedi Apprentice, about Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before Episode I. One was called Jedi Quest, about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker before Episode II. I enjoyed both series' greatly. So sometimes I try to convince myself that it would be okay to read them again. I've used a number of excuses. "It's for the story, not because I want to study it." "I've read them before, so it's not like I'll be getting any new information, or even any new story." And, most commonly, "I'm older, and I can handle myself this time." In fact, as I write these very words, I am tempted again to move the line. My heart doesn't care about the limits. So why don't I? Because once I move the line, I can move it again.

Sometimes a line needs to be moved. Sometimes it even needs to be erased. The question is, when? Each time a line is moved, there's a reason for it. But what is that reason? Do I want to move the line because I think it will be for the best if I do? No, I want to move the line because I feel like it. Because I like Star Wars. Because they were fun books. So let's say, for the sake of example, that I moved the line. "I'm older now, so I can move the line just a little bit. I'll only read Star Wars novels that I've read before." But what happens after that? "I was in the library, and I saw a new Star Wars book... But, I mean, it's just a JF book... I'll only read Star Wars books that are geared towards junior high and younger." I'll keep on moving the line until it's worthless. Why? Because the reason for moving the line was that I felt like it. It goes back to my very first claim. "I'm older, and I can handle myself this time." If that's true, then I should be able to stay back completely. If I don't stay back completely, like my boundary says to, then I've just shown that I can't handle myself, and I'll keep taking one more step.

Sometimes a line needs to be moved. But if it's going to be moved, it needs to have a very good, clear, and specific reason. Otherwise, the line has become worthless. If you step across the first, there's nothing to keep you from stepping across the second unless there really was a good, valid reason to move the line in the first place. Lines should be moved with extreme care in those cases when they are moved. In any other case, the line is destroyed.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
-Albert Einstein

The Marvel Reboot

"There is a man. Sitting at a typewriter. All of this is his twisted imagination."
-Deadpool
For the sake of my blood pressure, I think it's time for a short break. It's time to get into the Marvel reboot that I mentioned a few posts back. For those of you who haven't heard, Marvel is planning a reboot in 2015 of their entire comic book universe. Every super hero, every team, every location they own. (Of course, this won't directly affect DC superheros like Batman and Superman.) However, as of the writing of this post, the event in question has not yet occurred. So much of this will be speculation. Pieces will be based on the concept, rather than their specific execution. However, we do need to keep all eyes open. For example, a Marvel writer might be quoted saying something like this:
"There is no reboot coming. It was never planned to reboot. We don’t need to reboot. All continuity is still there."
-Brian Michael Bendis
If this is the case, then why is it being called a reboot? In preparation for this post, I looked around a bit. Now, bear in mind that I've never been all that good with comic books. But from the large assortment of articles I found, here's what I've managed to put together. Let me warn you, though, this is a little over the top.

There is no Marvel universe. There is a Marvel multiverse. Within the Marvel storyline, there are multiple universes, where the same character has a different storyline. Some sources have listed up to fifteen different universes within Marvel. After looking at other sources, I laugh at that number. The Marvel wiki has 4,290,001 official numbered universes (although admittedly, there are very frequent and large gaps in their numbering). That number isn't how many universes they have, it's just the highest numbered universe they have. Of course, there are still too many on the list for me to count manually. Keep in mind, this is labeled as an incomplete list of the official universes that have been named. Unofficial universes have their own list. Unnamed universes aren't on this list. And the list is incomplete.
However, this list, if it were complete, would include every Marvel universe ever, even if we only saw it in one issue for one panel. The number of used universes is far smaller. And, within those main universes, there are three main main universes. Universe 616 is the main main main universe, or the Main Continuity. Most stories happen there. Alternate realities are compared to this universe. Universe 1610 is the Ultimate Universe, which was something of a minor reboot in 2000. The cinematic universe is Universe 199999.

Are you starting to grasp how insanely complex this all is? I have a book called The Wolverine Files, which, as the name would suggest, contains information about all things related to Wolverine. The book is marketed as files from SHIELD. At the very beginning, the existence of the book is explained by a memo from Nick Fury requesting information. A part of the memo reads,
"Someone who is a key player in mutant affairs shouldn't have a dossier with nothing more concrete than, "Real name believed to be Logan" and "Is the best at what he does." I want to know what he does, who he is, and I want to know yesterday."
At the very end of the book, after a lot of information, much of it contradictory, Nick Fury sends another memo.
"Okay, people, it's official: This project has definitely gone off the rails. We still can't come to an agreement on the birth name of our Wolverine, or even if he's a mutant or a mutated animal, and now I'm reading about Wolverines in alternate universes?"
Even a fictional character from within the Marvel universe (er, multiverse) can recognize how messed up it all is. Hence, the upcoming reboot, along with all the controversy that comes with it. Marvel is planning to release (or, apparently, have already begun releasing) their final series. The Secret Wars. Apparently, in this storyline, universes have begun to collide. Two at a time, and a maximum of one of the universes will survive. Apparently, Universes 616 and 1610 are colliding. And, after they collide, everything is going to be different. Memories changed, different events, characters, heroes, teams, places... Apparently, issue #1 of their new series will take place eight months after The Secret Wars, and will not require any foreknowledge.

I, personally, think that this is a good idea. Comics are becoming popular. People are looking into the Marvel multiverse more and more. With a major reboot like this, it will give people a clear starting place. I've been interested in Marvel comics for as long as I can remember. I know a bit about the Marvel multiverse. But, at the same time, I don't keep up with it. I don't follow every little detail that goes on with it. There are some things that everybody knows from universe 199999 that I don't, because I don't watch the new Marvel movies until months or years after they're out. This reboot will, theoretically and if properly executed, give a fresh start. New lore for the new fans, old lore for the old fans, and a solid story that doesn't contradict itself.
"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
-L.M. Montgomery

You Have the Right to Remain Offensive

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
-Unknown; usually attributed to Voltaire
This past Saturday was Independence Day. I must say, I wasn't quite expecting it to turn out how it did. Last month, I wouldn't have seen anything strange about it. But now, Facebook has exploded. I've seen it said several times, "my news feed looks like a war broke out between the Confederates and a skittles factory." Mine looks similar, but I've seen many other posts as well. I saw an article just the other day about a feminist who thinks the standard bathroom signs are offensive, because the girls are wearing skirts instead of pants. This got me thinking about what type of country we live in, as opposed to what type of country we should live in. And I've realized that somebody will always be offended.

By this I mean two things. The first, that there will always be something else that somebody will label as offensive. Today it's restroom signs, which are supposedly sexist. Tomorrow will white T-shirts be declared racist? What about books? Is someone going to say that the pages are white and the black letters do all the work? Yes, these examples seem extreme, even ridiculous. But I would have previously listed restroom signs among them. I even heard of one person who suggested that all Caucasians should commit mass suicide, as though simply being born with light skin is a crime. It's gotten out of hand. And somebody will always find something to be offended about.

The second application is that in any decision, there is a winner and a loser. For this, we'll take a look at the Confederate flag. Many people have deemed this flag racist and offensive. However, those who support the flag claim otherwise. While I'm sure there are some racists who use the flag to support slavery (though I say this only because of the sheer number of people in the United States,) I have not yet met someone like this. I have friends who claim the flag to represent a southern heritage. Still more take it as a sign of freedom of speech. And these same people are offended by the LGBT flag. So in a situation like this, what happens? What do we do about it? If we allow the Confederate flag, people who are against it will be offended. If we ban it, people who support it will be offended. The answer, of course, is provided in the first amendment of the constitution.

In America, we (supposedly) have freedom of speech. And while we certainly shouldn't go out of our way to offend people, we also can't ban them from something simply because it offends us. The Confederate flag is considered offensive to some, but to those who use it, it isn't meant to be. If the Confederate flag is to be banned, then anything offensive must be banned. And who decides what offensive means? I find it offensive to be banned from speaking what I believe to be the truth. Someone will always be offended. Taking offense is based on emotions. And in these days, we must defend our right to the freedom of speech more vigilantly than ever before. Not by banning what's "offensive," whether that's the Confederate flag, the LGBT flag, or any other flag, but by keeping censorship away from our rights.
"I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance."
-Jon Stewart