Unification News for January 1999
In recent articles weve reviewed several aspects of human history. This month well focus on some related theories; sweeping concepts that deal with the origins of the Earth and all who dwell upon it.
These theories range from fairly scientific to impossibly absurd. They also vary in public acceptance, and not always as merited.
These theories attack "conventional science" quite forcefully, and sometimes they score telling blows. However, few could themselves stand up to scholarly review.
Many scholars believe in God, or various Eastern faiths. Others are atheists, and they dont mind saying so. At least these folks are honest.
However, some "origin theory" advocates are charlatans. A handful are nut cases. Most of them are soon forgotten, but a few have bequeathed us a terrible legacy.
Thinking about our origins is important, because it relates directly to "who we are," and also to "what might happen next." The application of real science, common sense, and the Principle can go a long way towards sorting out this tangle.
One popular origin theory is Creationism. The Creationists faith in God is admirable, as is their appeal to science. Their influence is growing, especially in America.
Unfortunately theyre trying to have it both ways, claiming that the Bibles timeline is literally correct, and also that modern science is "just right enough" to support their version of things.
They claim that the entire Creation is only ten thousand years old. They used to say six thousand, but Archaeologists have found several long-inhabited cities older than that, so a bit of fudging became necessary.
If the Creationists are right, every mountain and valley was shaped by Noahs Flood, and humans once walked with dinosaurs. (And were not talking Jurassic Park here.)
This would mean that every star and galaxy was also created recently. Since light travels at a certain speed, the light of any objects more distant than 10,000 light years would not yet be visible to us. Not unless all that light was created already on its way to our telescopes.
This "on its way" scenario must also include cosmic rays and neutrinos. These exotic, ghostly particles were discovered less than a century ago, and the expensive, specialized detectors that can "see" them were installed only recently. Sure enough, they have detected bursts of such particles, arriving exactly as predicted by science.
Creationists have their good points: theyve found plenty of holes in Darwinism. One of their favorites involves whales. Scientists have yet to find any intermediate steps between a purported rhinoceros-like ancestor and the fully seagoing whales.
The structure of whales bones and breathing holes, and the up-and-down motion of their flukes, are so distinct that its hard to imagine what "evolutionary advantage" those changes might have provided, especially for some awkward "halfway" form.
This speculation may fall victim to the same "God of the gaps" fallacy that believers have gotten caught by before. On the other hand, it might provide evidence of Divine guidance.
Creationists often mangle statistics. Concerning Geology, they note that past eras were punctuated by massive volcanic eruptions; calderas like Yellowstone and Long Valley once exploded with the force of thousands of Mount St. Helens.
Then they point out that no such eruptions have happened lately (that is, since Noahs time), concluding that "the newborn Earth is now settling down."
They neglect to mention that these eruptions clearly happened a long time ago, because they take place only once or twice in a hundred thousand years. They will definitely happen again! And when they do, itll be "Biblical" enough to suit even the fieriest of fundamentalists.
For Creationists to be correct about all this, one would have to assume that God is deliberately fooling us! The entire situation would be a massive and pointless exercise, if it were so.
Many other origin theories involve "historical catastrophes."
In his book Worlds In Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky proffered a dramatic mishmash of careening planets and Biblical plagues. He may have learned even less Astronomy than this indicates: obscure British writer William Beaumont had presented the same ideas in the 1920s, twenty five years earlier. Countless readers accepted Velikovskys theories with enthusiasm.
Todays computers (yesterdays too, for that matter), can calculate the motion of the planets, backwards and forwards in their courses, for millions of years each way. They havent been going anywhere special, just around and around the Sun!
Another catastrophe theory involves the fabled Sinking of Atlantis, described by Plato more than two thousand years ago. Later writers thickened the plot by adding Lemuria and at least two other "lost continents." Supposedly, they reached a high level of development tens of thousands of years ago, then lost it all.
These mythic lands vary wildly in reported size and position, literally spanning the globe. One might suppose that, by now, wed have found at least one fossilized Atlantis Brand beer bottle . . . Aside from a few near-shore stone ruins, no one has seen any real evidence of their existence.
However, the legend of Atlantis might be based in fact! The volcanic island of Thera exploded with great force around 1500 BC, ruining the prosperous Minoan civilization on nearby Crete.
Arthur C. Clarke, an avowed atheist, wrote of a fictional "alien monolith" that gave a dramatic boost to the early hominids in Africa, four million years ago. This was depicted in the famous opening scene of the film 2001, with music from Strauss majestic "Also Sprach Zarathustra." (Note: Nietzsches book of that title is a screed for activist atheism.)
Erich Von Daniken seriously posited an alien influence upon human origins. His book Chariot of the Gods displays an old Mayan carving, which is covered by strange images of people, animals, and mythical creatures. He decided that one figure with a "fat head" depicts an alien wearing a spacesuit helmet.
Why this "ancient astronaut" was walking around that steaming jungle with his space helmet still on, he never said. (Todays Space Shuttle astronauts rarely wear helmets even when theyre in outer space.)
Von Daniken claims it was "impossible for primitive humans to build things like the Pyramids," and concludes that they must have had alien help.
In fact, Archaeologists have now excavated the villages of the very workmen who did build them, going so far as to estimate their payroll, and to recreate the beer and bread they consumed each day. (Not very good, they report.)
On a grander scale, the entire idea of "helpful aliens" begs the question. If we couldnt become civilized without outside help, then how did the purported aliens manage it? David Brins excellent Uplift War novels take this issue back a billion years -- and still dont propose a final answer.
Space aliens are not the only ones alleged to have given humankind a boost. Raymond Bernard wrote of a "hollow Earth," with an advanced civilization living inside. As a child, this author had a book that depicted an eggshell Earth, with a miniature Sun in the middle, and openings at both poles. (My public school teacher had no rebuttal for it.)
Even today, Art Bell interviews people who claim to have "inside knowledge." One might not want to know how many listeners believed them . . .
Here we encounter a "dark side" to the origin theories. Hitler once hoped to discover the "lost home of the Aryans" inside the Earth. It is claimed that famous explorer Admiral Byrd flew his plane inside -- and met Germanic people there!
Facts like "lava bursting upwards" and "water flowing down" have had no impact upon those whose minds have been made up. Neither have Russian tourist flights to the North Pole, or zillions of photos of the Earth from space.
Speaking of Hitler, there is one really scary origin theory. Early in this century, a man named Hanns Hörbiger developed an entire "ice cosmology," and taught it to the Nazis. It was embraced by the ultra-fanatical Ahnenerbe SS.
Hörbiger claimed that the Moon is made of ice, as were previous ones captured by the Earths gravity. Every so often one would crash down and melt, causing the disasters recounted in the Bible and elsewhere.
Todays NeoNazis have used his ideas, and those of Savitri Devi and other little-known Hitlerian mystics, to influence the Green, Pagan, UFO, and other popular movements -- including leftist ones. (Read Hitlers Priestess by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.)
This author grew up around many New Age believers, and doesnt really mean to disparage them. Most of them are decent people, if a bit muddled.
There is a genuine Origin Theory, and it isnt soulless Darwinism. All believers in God understand that people did have "outside help" in becoming human, and then, civilized. The Principle presents a larger truth that embraces both concepts.
Instead of Aliens, this help really came from the Angels. For the people of Biblical times, who had no scientific understanding, there would have been no distinction anyway.
In the end, we need not look far to discover the truth of our origins.
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