Monday, May 20th, 2019

Too bad Bill Nye didn’t have a volcano handy to explain Earth’s origins


Bill Nye, famously known as The Science Guy, debated Creation Museum founder Ken Ham on the origin of the Earth. Ham believes the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and the origin of the Earth can be found in a literal translation of the Book of Genesis. Nye has the more commonly accepted view that the creation of the Earth took place over billions of years.

According to Fox News, there are some on the evolution side of the argument that believe debating Ham was a mistake. Sharing the stage with Ham and exposing to the light the flaws in creationism can only help broaden the audience for a scientific understanding of the Earth’s origins. To show them the light, or the Big Bang, if you prefer.

We’ll pause for a moment and consider another creation myth, and here I’ll rely upon memory. The pre-Christian Hawaiians believed the volcano goddess Pele fled from her cruel sister, causing the chain of volcanoes that formed the Hawaiian islands from smallest to largest. She settled in the volcano Mauna Loa on the big island and continues to bring forth the magma that causes the island to grow.

Scientists believe that underneath the ocean there is a magma hot spot that brings magma to the surface. As the tectonic plate moves over the hot spot, the magma pushes up to form the volcanoes that produced the Hawaiian islands. This process took millions of years. The smaller islands are smaller because the volcanoes are extinct, no longer providing the magma for land formation. Erosion from the ocean and the wind wears down the islands. Mauna Loa is relatively young, according to our friends at Wikipedia. At 400,000 years old, it reached the surface of the ocean. The volcanoes on the main island (the youngest island) continue to add to the land formation.

The Polynesians that settled Hawaii may have had a poor understanding of geology, but they got the gist of creation.

(Someday the islands will pass from the magma hot spot and the most beautiful spot in Creation will erode to wind and water. Of course, it will take a few million more years, so no rush on those vacation plans.)

I realize there is a reluctance to let go of the idea that the universe was created on a momentary whim of a deity. Whatever else we may understand about our faiths, we do have to understand that creationism is not science, and it isn’t supported by the observable world. As we gain a deeper understanding of how the universe works, we should not feel threatened by the new knowledge.

I think it’s a sin of pride to believe that God would leave all these false clues of the origin of the universe when, according to the Christian creation myth, He did not even create us until the sixth day. It was true long before Copernicus that we were not at the center of the universe.

If the Bible is the revealed word of God, than surely it was revealed to men who had little understanding of physics and time. Imagine trying to explain to a six-year-old child the concepts of relativity, plate tectonics, evolution, probabilities, and gravity. While you’re at it, have that six-year-old try to explain them to one of his friends, and then have that child pass it to the next.

Or we can try to understand that science still does not have the answer to every question, that there are still more things on Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of.It may have been sufficient for Sherlock Holmes to not understand that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but as a whole man needs to explore and to understand.In that part of our soul, there is still room left for both religion and science.


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