Pain is part of the deal
Evolution… from atom to algy, plants to people… is full of struggle. It’s focussed on ‘growth’ and the strongest (?), smartest(?) get a ticket to the future.
Why didn’t the dinosaurs make it? Well, there was the small matter
of meteors, but even before that, they had grown too big… were consuming too much.
The evolutionary method is based on cause and effect. Mathematics even. It doesn’t seem to have the slightest care that plants or animals or people are hurt or destroyed. It’s simple, singular motive is ‘progress’.
Progress. To what end?
Is there some reason for all this struggle and pain? Clearly, pain is part of almost every experience we have as human beings. Even a day of utter gladness can end with a feeling of sadness.
Pain. Pain. Unutterable pain. What has that got to do with progress?
and what have people had to say about it over the years?
A lot has been said… and written but the earliest and perhaps the best can be found in the book of Job in the Old Testament.
The book deals with the problem of ‘unmerited suffering’. It’s how a man responds when he loses everything… his cattle, his wealth, his children, his well-being.
We all know about ‘unmerited suffering’. We’ve all experienced loss and pain. What are we to make of it? How should we respond? And where is ‘God’ in all this mishmash?
Job says ‘… it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.’ (Job 32:8)
And I suppose that is where we find ourselves. Struggling, yet convinced somehow there is a purpose behind it all… that searching for ‘Godliness’ in the midst of mystery may be worthwhile… that perhaps, it may be the meaning of it all.
Does this kind of belief fly in the face of scientific method and proof?
I don’t think so. Belief is outside the remit of science. The proof of our belief won’t be known until the end of time… if there’s to be such a thing. Meanwhile we risk our lives on what we decide to believe.
What an adventure!
Maybe pain is just one of our feelings. It stops us putting our hand in a fire – just as feeling cold makes us put on more clothes – or strong sunlight makes us seek shade.
I don’t think evolution has any feelings – and I would not see survival of the fittest as progress.
Belief might well be beyond the remit of science – that’s its problem. A friend quotes me Popper – Belief cannot be proved wrong – but it cant be proved right either – not in this life anyway.
Science, in a way, is very mundane – but it is factual – and has design in ITS remit. Does that make cars more progressive than horses and carts or walking ? Or guns more progressive than clubs ?
Maybe limiting global warming to not in excess of 1.5 degC would be real progress (from religion or science ?)
(Paul – thanks for not using SUBMIT – that’s real progress – relative to other sites.)
Nothing like a good debate.
1. How can you say evolution has made no progress? From the big bang, oxygen, atoms, molecules, algae, to apes and Homo sapiens there appears to be growth towards consciousness.
2. Science itself is progress… cultural progress. It’s taken several thousand years for science to get to this level.
3. Yes ‘pain’ can tell us when to avoid certain circumstances, but that’s only a part of it. There’s an awful lot around and sometimes it lands on some less equally than others. Given the kind of theology we’ve had to date, I can quite understand folk blaming ‘acts of God’.
4. Science is useful, but it can’t solve the fundamental mystery. What is the meaning of existence? No-one can say they KNOW anything ‘factual’ about that.
I have a lot of fun on Twitter telling atheists that what they ‘believe’ may not be true. They get quite annoyed that I use the word ‘believe’ but that’s what they’re doing… making a choice what to believe. I don’t mind them doing that but it shouldn’t be disguised as ‘fact’ and ‘proven’ as it were science.