SCIENCE 101: Would You Believe?

Let’s start with the simple stuff.  This spinning, orbiting planet that rockets through space in a prescribed oblong circle once was thought to be quite different.  Ancient scientists were certain it was absolutely flat, stationary, the center of the universe and the Sun revolved around it.  So, where have we now arrived from that flawed starting point?

For example, does any scientist, or scientific body actually know how the earth was created?  Highly unlikely since none of us were actually here at the time.  If there was such a time.  So, what we’re actually talking about is the theory of how the world was created.  A theory, which at best, is based on forensic evidence.  Don’t be put off by the word forensic.  We see it so often used in judicial terms that we sometimes forget that it means argumentative.  In a court of law, forensic evidence is merely an assumption by the prosecution that from available physical evidence some logical conclusion can be argued–or from the standpoint of the defense attorney, rebutted.

This is the same in forensic science as it is in a court of law.  A supposition that is being made that from a collection of available physical evidence a logical conclusion can be drawn.  In other words, a presumption that such and such caused something else to happen.  Perhaps true in the confines of a specific given example.  Here’s one that you will probably agree with.  Most life forms that we are acquainted with require an atmosphere that contains oxygen.  Agreed.  But, does that mean that you can extrapolate that primitive life forms came from some primordial oxygenated soup and then developed over eons into intelligent beings?  An interesting theory but far from being conclusive.  In fact, coming out of the ooze sounds more like the plot for a horror movie.

Archeological scientists, more than others in the scientific community, would have us believe that what can be logically supposed can be regarded as evidentiary fact.  As you will have noted, they are the scientists most inclined to state their suppositions as unarguable conclusions.  (I speak from experience here since I at one time edited an anthropological magazine.)

Maybe they are correct, maybe not.  In other words, like in religion, it requires an act of faith as in a need to eliminate doubt to give the unknown a meaning.  It is this void that leads some scientists to speculate on the grand scale.  For example, they would have us believe  that some 14 billion years ago (13.7 billion to be exact) all matter in the universe was created from nothing.  That’s right, before then, nothing existed.  Zilch!  No earth, no stars, no uncounted number of galaxies too distant even now to be counted.  And what do they profess created everything, including you and me, that exists today?  The big BANG!

What caused the big bang?  Nobody has yet quite figured that out, so the presumption is that the big bang happened from nothing and resulted in a mega-super explosion of pure energy from something that may have been smaller than the size of an atom.  Don’t ask where the miniature atom came from.  Anyway, in a million-million-millionth of a second this pure ball of energy exploded into what we know as the universe today.

Astronomers now estimate that our galaxy (the one that contains Earth) could also hold 60 billion alien planets capable of supporting some form of life.  Add to this that Hubble space scope just discovered a galaxy called NGC 6503 that is about 18,000 light years from Earth and the galaxy is about one-third the size of the Milky Way and is located in what is called the Local Void thought to encompass an open space about 150 million light years across.  (Light travels at 186,000 miles per second, so just one light year is approximately 5.8 trillion miles.)

Global warming is another concept often stated as a conclusion.  While it is more than likely that humans intemperate abuse of the environment has a negative effect in that the chemicals that saturate the Earth have poisoned our lakes and rivers and will eventually seep down with the same effect on our underground water supply.  It is not the determing factor in global warming.  For example, the view from my porch windows of the heavily forested hill and the river beneath me were some 10,000 years ago covered with a glacier 200 feet high.  Without any appreciable human habitation present on the continent something caused global warming back then and those glaciers receded to the vicinity of the Arctic Circle and left behind depressions in the landscapes that became valleys, riverbeds and lakes.  Again, many scientists theorized that the receding glaciers acted as a reverse road grader gouging out the earth as they receded northward.  However, my own experience with melting ice and snow leads me to believe once melted it merely puddles in place and drains according to the laws of gravity.  So, it would seem more likely that at the time the glacier was expanding is when the gouging would have occurred rather than when it was melting.

Some 24 centuries ago, the Greek philosopher Plato in his allegory of the cave explained that man is like a being chained inside a cave watching shadows on a wall and from these inferring what the world is about but does not perceive that from his limited view he does not realize that what he believes is right is actually wrong.  The word philosophy, by the way, means search for wisdom.  So, let’s admit at least to ourselves that science is still in its infancy and our whimsical fantasies of an all-inclusive understanding of how we came about is pure speculation.

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