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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Code of Science

I am reading two books concurrently. I have been suffering through the seemingly interminable The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown for several weeks. I know that the book is a tremendous bestseller and is a supposed page-turner, but I have found it to be excruciatingly tedious and awful. I can honestly say that it is the worst piece of shit that I have ever forced myself to read. I have forced myself to continue for two reasons: I want to see what 50 million other readers see in the novel, and I like the fact that the Catholic Church is so pissed-off about a hack novel.

I’m sure that by now every semi-literate adult knows the premise of The Da Vinci Code. Something about Christianity being a complete hoax and a lie perpetuated by the Roman church. I sort of figured that out on my own when I was about seven years old. Virgin birth, walking on water, resurrection, God-eating rituals and a host (get it?) of other preposterous beliefs; It all seemed pretty far-fetched back when I was a child and as an adult it is all positively laughable.

The other book that I am reading—make that devouring—is Richard Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale in which he describes a backward trip in time to the very dawn of evolution. The character of Homo Sapiens plays a fairly minor part in this work. If like The Da Vinci Code, they were to make a movie of Dawkins’ book, man would not even rate a speaking part. Invertebrates don’t have much in the way of stage presence so Dawkins’ movie would certainly be doomed to failure. Come to think of it, Tom Hanks could star in it so maybe the movie has a chance.

The Da Vinci Code, according to the novel, was supposed to be the key to a secret kept since the inception of Christianity some 2,000 years ago. 2,000 years? In geological time that is less than the blink of an eye. In geological time the era of humans is like a speck of dust on the top of a great mountain. Something like 99% of all things that have ever lived eventually went the way of extinction. There is every reason to believe that man will also see his time expire here on earth; probably sooner than later—probably through our own belligerence, a belligerence exacerbated by religion.

As a casual student of evolution it is amazing for me to see the strides scientists have made in the understanding of the earth’s history. In my opinion the march of evolution is the greatest story this world has to tell us—if we are smart enough to listen and learn. Dawkins’ book lays out a fairly clear trail back through the earth’s history for hundreds of millions of years. If your religion puts you at odds with these remarkable findings it’s time to get a new religion—or do without.

Religion truly is an insult to modern man. Religion has attempted to explain man’s existence and provide a moral code for all to live by. The moral code part of religion is an extremely transparent way to control followers. If any of the world’s religions have laid out a satisfactory explanation for the advent of man, one that compares to the findings of today’s leading scientists, then it was written down in a code 1,000 times more arcane than the Da Vinci code. I’ve never trusted priests, so long ago I threw my hat in with the scientists. I didn't become one of the tens of thousands of sexual abuse victims of priests, and I learned some great things from scientists about our amazing past.

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