Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time must escape to the same refuge as lost socks and life savings . . .

I know, it's been almost a month. But if you were looking for a linear timeline of what I am doing, see the facebook photos. They're in order,and if I don't have new photos, it means I'm in that two-week transition zone of a normal university life in Quito and THAT means that nothing noteworthy happened. Seriously though, where has the time gone?
You know what? I am actually glad my watch battery died on the flight to Quito, otherwise I would have had more than a few white-rabbit, I'm-late heart attacks that are unneccessary in a country where it is standard to show up two hours late for everything. This is a slow sort of country, but I do have to keep running.

Alright enough of the literature/evolutionary theory references. Here is a topic that has continued to crop up throughout my time here, and my response has languished half-finished in a tiny stained notebook for more than a month now. And back from the birthplace of evolutionary theory, I thought it was high time to put it someplace less smeared.


OK listen up. I've said it twenty times before in two languages and I figured I'd put it in print to save myself a few more times. Don't we all have a finite number of breaths to waste?
Anyway, it's about science. And God.
What people forget about science is that it pertains to what we can see. It's really the art of seeing - always improving our range of vision microscopically, telescopically, and theoretically and sharing the mechanics of sight with others through teaching.
Faith pertains to what we cannot see - and I know that here is where you start to judge me but please hear me out because one day I might have to explain it to you in person and risk having it be far less completely or willingly told.

I do not propose that the divine is a stand-in prop for science to surpass, or a brainwashing scheme by jihadists or George Dubya, or an archaic security blanket comforting us like children in the face of the unknown. I simply wish to do away with this ridiculus notion that the two are opponents on the same playing field.
Woah. I know. Just sit down and break out the Cracker Jacks. We'll work from here.
Analyze the passes, predict the plays, even place your bets (we call that theorizing.) Get out the chalk and scribble your circles and squiggles and arrows (vectors?) Science is the mechanics of the game of life.

I know what you think. I am not about to suggest that the Game of God operates on a separate field entirely, perhaps with more complex rules or better paid coaches. No, the two must actually intersect (believe me, I heard the Dalai Lama speak at a football staduim.) You see, we need a reason to keep playing.

Maybe we play to win an eternal one for the team (Christianity?) either more technically (Catholicism or Mormonism), or perhaps less technically (mainstream Protestantism.) Maybe we come purely to enjoy the beer and the buddies and the face-painting (hedonism.) Maybe we're in it to garner enough skill and respect to play quarterback next time around or just get out of this ballgame entirely (Buddhism.)
Some are still waiting for the ref to come around and sort this mess out (Judaism), and some swear that the guy who used to wear jersey #33 went on to become the best one yet (Islam.) Some vehemently maintain that they don't NEED a reason to be here (atheism); some derive comfort from ceasing to wonder (agnosticism), and stil a few more got off at Fenway instead of Franklin and haven't really figured it all out yet.

And you know what? Not one of them is sufficient to explain away the woes of the world - high ticket prices, the wanton waste of Gatorade. Always getting benched or never getting a break. Crowded parks and empty seats and, yes, mowing the grass THAT many times a week - but it helps.

'Yeah,' you ask, 'but what about the SCIENCE part? In your cocky collegiate haste you've damaged your cause by trying to make things fancy and then aptly skirting the question.'
Well hold on to your hot dog, 'cause I'm not finished yet. The beef you have is with biology specifically. No one ever understood enough physics to make it a public debate (Oh wait, bombs are physics. . .) And since we all value prescription drugs and fossil fuels and curing cancer, really the only beef left to have have is with evolution.
Evolutionary theory supposedly flies in the face of the most conventional Occidental creation story. What's the big deal with one story? Sure, we wrote it down, but we also wrote down the one about the Earth on a turtle on a turtle on a turtle on a turtle. The big deal is that there are stories to chose from.
But science is not trying to replace a story, because the thing is that evolution itself is not a complete story. We've just been putting together pieces from what we can see - NOT purporting that we've exposed the whole continuum from beginning to end and that Jesus sucks besides. And here it is:
Seeing doesn't have to be believing - else blind Sampson would have been an atheist the minute his eyes were gouged from his head. I would venture that he is faithless who thinks that seeing is a legitimate threat to something that is by definition independent of sight itself. So stay in the ballgame; have faith in what you will - be it Jesus or Jehova or the Torah or turtles. But don't limit the observation, please.

This is not published in jest, nor to offend. This is published to lend insight into my cause, my cross, and my chromosomes (or maybe just to clear out my notebook.) See?

Or do you believe?