1. On this date 150 years ago, November 24th 1859, Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection”. Back then it was seen as a challenge to the religious ideology and establishment of the day. I remember reading it when I was in university and I found it… well in a word: boring. I didn’t understand the furor it caused then… and even now for that matter… but as a Christian I have never felt threatened by other ideologies, whether they be religious or secular.
Today, a few of the online magazines and blogs which I read regularly, mentioned this milestone and referenced the debate between evolution and religion, primarily Christianity. Most of the commentary, regardless of the authors’ personal beliefs, tried to probe the issue in a non-judgmental way. However, there were a couple that held the view that if you believed in evolution, you were condemned to hellfire… or if you believed in creationism, then you were an ignoramus who rejected science and believed that the earth was flat. As a born-again Christian, I believe in the infallibility of the Word of God (The Bible) and also in certain aspects of evolution. So I’m not sure where that would place me in each of their eyes.
As I have researched and discussed this topic over the years, I have found that just as there are a variety of scientific theories around evolution, such as Darwinian Evolution, Social Darwinism and Scientific Evolutionary Theory, there are also a variety of religious, particularly a variety of Christian beliefs around creationism. I found that there are creationists, who are different from creation scientists, who are different from those who believe in intelligent design, who are again different from theistic evolutionists. Catholics, Protestants, Evangelicals and other denominations have varying beliefs on evolution. This topic is not as simple as the simple-minded on either extremes of this debate would have us believe.
For those want to broaden their outlook and take a more rational approach to the debate, one of the online resources I frequent, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, has provided an extensive research package on this debate (see here). There are many interesting and informative topics which are discussed from a variety of angles… religious, scientific, political, social, personal, etc.
Although I always say that you need to believe in something or you’ll fall for anything, I am also always reminded by the words of St. Augustine, a theologian in 400AD, who said this in reference to the Genesis account of creation… way before the Darwinian evolution vs. Religion debate:
“In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.”
2. I want to share a very interesting article on a blog authored by Lovebug35 entitled: “Racial Diversity in India”. What I found most fascinating is that the first inhabitants of India are the Australoids, who “are generally of dark complexion with wavy hair, broad nose, weak chins and these people form the slum population in India.” Within the Indian Caste system they are at the bottom of the rung and are referred to as “untouchables”. At the top of the caste system are the Indo-Iranians also known as “Aryans” (original Aryans… not the Hitler type), who were the last group to migrate to India. They “are characterized by their pale/fair complexion, narrow noses, long faces with prominent chins and have a variety of hair and eye colors.” It was these Aryans who instituted the caste system.
Well worth the read with lots of photos of each racial group.
(As an aside, this reminds me that I need to finish my post on Sammy Sosa and the whole skin bleaching controvery… coming real soon!)
3. Jamaican Dancehall Reggae star, Beenie Man, has been dropped from a music festival to be held in Australia and New Zealand due to protests and petitions from gay rights groups (see here). They objected to his appearance at the “Big Day Out” festival because the lyrics of some of his songs promote violence against gays and lesbians. Activist refer to him as a “murder music artist”, similar to issues surrounding another Reggae artists Buju Banton, as I had previously discussed in this post.