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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Balance

One thing that man learns over time, hopefully maturing as he ages, is the beauty of balance. Balance allows you to enjoy but keeps you from overindulgence. It is the two Sam Adams Darks (or Negro Modelo or whatever you prefer) over dinner shared with your wife that taste so wonderful and give you a very slight buzz. It is not the seven or eight beers followed by a wobbly and dangerous drive home.

It is also knowing what you can and cannot control. I cannot have even one cigarette, ever, because the urge to smoke pack after pack would come roaring back. I know this all too well. Although it has been better than sixteen years since my last puff I will not risk a relapse. But I can have a glass of champagne and not have another. Or I can go months without an alcoholic beverage at all.

Right now I have a morose teenager on my hands because her camera is broken...again. She waited three-four weeks for it to come out of the shop and five minutes after she began using it again it ceased working. Fortunately the repairs came with a warranty. But now she is without her camera again and her anguish was truly a sight to behold, complete with mascara streaming down her cheeks and a subsequent headachy bout of depression.

I am thankful that her life is such that a broken camera is a tragedy, that she doesn't have abuse and death and disease as integral parts of her existence. I also know that the days will come when harder things enter her life and I hope she is ready to withstand them. Really, she is a good kid and I believe for very good things for her. I think she will be fine.

It made me recall the tragedy of my eighteenth year, when I learned that I would be drafted into the military out of college no matter what my grades. I didn't cry, but I hopped into my convertible and went out driving, screaming at the sky in anguish and anger. There was no one to punch and no way out. Yet the absolute tragedy that it seemed to me at that time would be part of a long life's journey and despite the twists and turns I am very glad to be where I am on that path right now.

The Book of Proverbs has been a source of wisdom and balance for me in my Christian years. I was once one of those young men who was not easily taking the mantle of adulthood, preferring to party and self-gratify above any concerns about others. Having a child began the change in me, meeting God determined that more change would continue...and it continues still.

I don't write on the subject of Creation and Darwinism to prove that God exists or that He created. Nor do I believe that there are any Darwinists who can prove their position. One reason I write, though, is to show that the evidence is consistent with a Creation. In other words, I write to illustrate the possibilities. For there are too many people who don't understand that Darwinism is not a fact, not proven, but simply a series of suppositions that for the time being is the one accepted by the majority of scientists.

I also write as a way of sharing my faith. What God has done in me seems so miraculous to me. I know the self-centered and mercurial young male I once was, a Dorian Gray of a guy dedicated to his profligacy, with a picture in his soul turning steadily more depraved. The day God wiped the slate clean, threw the picture away and rebooted my life resonates still. In truth, you cannot know that there is a God until you actually have the faith to meet Him. Once you have met Him, then you do know. But it really isn't something you can prove to anyone.

People in my business, who have not met me but simply encountered me over the phone, usually think that I am a very young man and probably from California. It seems my style of speech and my attitude is that of someone half my age, according to others. It is mostly true that you are only as old as you feel, and I feel largely the way I did when I was thirteen in many ways. Various injuries from accidents and sports make my body feel every bit my age sometimes but hey, I am working on that. I've lost forty-five pounds since the first of the year. Pretty good, eh?

But back to balance. I seem to hear in the responses I get from some a kind of unease, as if it is so vitally important to rub my viewpoint completely out, that no one would ever hear from a believer unless one decided to go to church. Secularism. Whereas a man (or woman) is the sum of all of his or her beliefs and experiences and talents and abilities, so many secularists wish to squelch the spiritual side or bring it into line with just one acceptable way of thinking. I have encountered this occasionally in the blogworld and certainly on the outside as well.

I don't intend to force preaching on people. To me, give and take is the way to learn and hopefully both sides are open to that learning. I have been challenged and sent to research so many different areas since beginning this blog. It appears that some on the Darwin side have done research in order to carry on the dialogue. Sometimes we seem like boxers jabbing and feinting through preliminary rounds, looking for an opening to deliver a knockout but it never comes and so we deliver blows and clench and the rounds go on.

But then when the subject gets away from science and steers in the direction of God the fighting gets more intense for some. For me, though, it is the most relaxing of subjects. Absolutely nothing to fear in the discussion of God. God has remade my life, been the basis of a happy family, proven to be intellectually beyond satisfying for there is so much to know about God and just a few years on earth to learn. Finite beings seeking knowledge of a supernatural and eternal being, not easily accomplished. The Bible is just a book of myths to some, but to me it is full of truth and wisdom and beauty and joy. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. God is love. God is truth. If you will, I grok even if the term is ironic considering the source. I Grok God! I should have a bumper sticker!

My daughter has come in to announce that cheesecake and ice cream (left over from her birthday party) work nicely as comfort food and she feels much better! It figures. Five years from now she likely will have forgotten the day her "repaired" camera turned out to be broken still.

For those of you who reject God, and of course that is your absolute right, I do hope you keep just a little corner of yourself open to the possibility. That a day might come when you are open to changing your mind. Not because it would benefit me in any way, because it wouldn't. Partly because I know that God wants His people to tell others, because God would want a personal relationship with every man and woman on earth if they would be willing. But it is especially because I know the difference between God and not-God. That is of course very personal.

So don't think I would arrogantly tell you what to do or believe. One of the gifts we were given along with life is the free will to think and do as we choose, within the confines of what others will allow. I don't think of God every minute, I get into sports, into romance, into sciense, into a good book, into Jack Bauer saving the day or Vic Mackey trying to keep a grip on it all....I pet dogs, watch sunsets, savor a delicious meal just as you do. But part of balance for me is the time I am aware of God, of what He says, of what He might wish me to do...of the love He has for me and I have for Him.

I'll end this. My father passed away, far too young, and for years it was hard for me to think of him because I missed him. Even when we were apart I had the knowledge that he existed in the world and would be there if I called. I trusted he would always be for me and would do what I could were I in need. This, and more, is the way I feel about God even though I cannot hug him or call him on the phone. It is not because I am stupid and don't know better. It is not because I am weak and need a crutch to hobble my way through life. It is because I wanted to know truth, sought it even in the midst of my wastrel existence, craved it because I could not conceive that life was truly meaningless. Yet I was not willing to make up a solution that appealed to my intellect or accept the solutions of others. I wanted Truth, the thing that would resonate within me as being the Answer and when it was there in front of me I could not help but choose to believe and follow. Then I had a touchstone in my life. Then I could begin to seek balance. I do hope for all of you that you do find your Truth and your balance as you make your way through this life.

5 comments:

creeper said...

Nicely said, Radar.

I hope you don't get the impression that I am out to prove God doesn't exist. I happen to think He doesn't; you believe He does. I wouldn't presume to tell you what to believe, and I am not out to shake your belief, and on the flip-side I didn't get the impression you were preaching to me or trying to convert me.

Neither does science aim to prove that God doesn't (or does) exist. That is simply not possible. Nor do scientists make the claim that the theory of evolution is a fact, or proven, and when you say that they do, this misunderstanding is often pointed out to you (in science, theories aren't proven, but confirmed; theory is theory, not fact; the "fact of evolution" is something else). On the other hand, the theory of evolution is a scientific theory, confirmed by fact, and outgrew the designation of mere "supposition" a long time ago.

Where I think we can legitimately disagree and debate is when we look at phenomena and whether certain scientific explanations are more likely than others - or even possible to begin with. How supportable, in scientific terms, is young earth creationism? From what I've seen, not very. "Creation science" appears to mostly consist of religious content and taking potshots at something called "Darwinism"; what I am interested in is whether YEC can actually amount to a coherent whole that matches up with the world around us (so far it doesn't look like it), and whether any of the potshots against the theory of evolution carry any weight - so far, most of them seem to rest on fundamental misrepresentations or misunderstandings, and no scientific evidence positively confirming YEC or falsifying the theory of evolution has been brought to light.

There's no need for you to take any of this personally, Radar. Dan asked you a question about this some time ago (and you did answer it) - your faith in God is not dependent on whether some scientific theory or other turns out to be true.

"The Bible is just a book of myths to some, but to me it is full of truth and wisdom and beauty and joy."

It contains some myth, some history, some wisdom, truth and beauty. It's not a science textbook - that would be, as the Archbishop of Canterbury put it, "a category mistake".

radar said...

Creeper,

Back at you, great response. No, I don't take the blog comments personally at all. It is all very interesting.

As for your point of view, it is almost exactly like mine, only from the opposite side. I look to see how plausible Darwinist claims are these days and check out the arguments against YEC.

I find that often when Darwinists come up with a scenario in which macroevolution could work they believe they have found some kind of proof, or at least strong evidence, for Darwinism. But there has been no proof and so to conclude that it is either factual or anything beyond a supposition is, to me, entirely unsupported.

I also find that "misunderstandings and misrepresentations" depend upon which way you view the evidence. A good example is the statistical evidence. I know that I believe the Darwinist explanations are to me incredible and illogical. Yet you and others have rejected my numbers and at the same time others have agreed completely with me.

Your input, although contrary from my point of view, is valuable as it stirs up further commment and as I have mentioned previously it causes me to do more research.

But back to work, and tonight, something about Alleles!

xiangtao said...

Only one small, teeny-tiny detail I would like to nitpick at. Would you please Please PLEASE stop referring to us as Darwinists as we do not worship, emulate, or otherwise deify Charles Darwin or his science. Evolutionary theory has come a long way since his day and we fully recognize that alot of what he said was wrong. He just started the ball off rolling. Others took it and ran with it to where we are today.

creeper said...

"I find that often when Darwinists come up with a scenario in which macroevolution could work they believe they have found some kind of proof, or at least strong evidence, for Darwinism. But there has been no proof and so to conclude that it is either factual or anything beyond a supposition is, to me, entirely unsupported."

A couple of thoughts about that, Radar.

1. It has been pointed out that in the natural sciences there is no definite proof, but rather evidence confirming something. Since you brought it up, though, what hypothetically speaking would you consider definitive proof of the theory of evolution, showing it to be true? What would you say would definitively falsify it? I ask you to think about this carefully, and to try to base this on something that is actually part of the theory of evolution. It's easy and tempting to fall into a strawman argument with a question like this.

2. Giving only the choice of either factual or mere supposition leaves out a pretty huge middle ground. The theory of evolution will never be a fact*, it will always be a theory, albeit a very well-supported one.

How does one get from mere supposition to scientific theory? By making testable, falsifiable predictions. If the predictions hold true, then the theory is confirmed; if the predictions hold true in all kinds of different instances and situations, the theory is considered a well-supported one. In this regard, the theory of common descent, for example, is an extremely well-supported one.

Take for example the current state of knowledge regarding geology and the theory of evolution, which allows scientists to predict with great confidence and precision what kind of fossils they will and won't find in any given strata. With Tiktaalik, for example, they were able to point at a gap in the fossil record and predict that there would be an intermediate fossil between the one before and after it, as well as roughly at what time such a creature would have lived. They were also able to determine, due to knowledge of geology and dating of layers, where strata from that era could be found. On this basis they were able to predict where they stood a very good chance of finding this particular transitional fossil.

Note that such a prediction is something that "creation science" can not do - it would predict that you would find Tiktaalik and his ancestors and successors all jumbled up in different strata, which is categorically not the case. That's where a find like Tiktaalik should be somewhat significant to you when comparing the evidence supporting the theory of evolution vs. the young earth scenario.

(* That doesn't mean that there isn't also what is called the "fact of evolution", which refers to common descent. This is so overwhelmingly supported by the evidence, and so non-controversial, that it is considered to be as good as fact. It is not the same as the theory of evolution, which concerns itself with a naturalistic explanation regarding the mechanisms behind.)

3. How can you look at the fossil record neatly sorted into strata according to the phylogenetic tree and say that this does not support common descent? How is it even possible according to the creationist model, according to which we would never expect to see such a clear sorting? Talk about ten decks of cards being thrown in the air and landing perfectly sorted...

creeper said...

"regarding the mechanisms behind." should be "regarding the mechanisms behind the "fact of evolution"."

Botword: Pxocudh!