Darwin and God

Today we take a little recess from writing our book, Basic Biology for Basic People, to report on two things of note that have interrupted the flow of ideas.

First is an answer to my question: “Can’t we think of a better name for this book?” because I have been trying for a year. We had several suggestions that were better than what I have so far thought of, which is a big help, and right now I’d like your feedback on “Bare Bones Biology.” Can anyone think of bad connotations of this title for the book and the accompanying series of radio spots?

Second, I happen to be listening to Tony Hillerman’s memoir, Seldom Disappointed, where he compares the Bible with Darwin’s book about evolution. This of course is a hot topic in Texas right now. Hillerman was raised in Oklahoma, just a few country acres to the north of us and is (was) the fine author of mystery stories based in Amerindian country. I am especially taken by his third sentence below:

“Darwin’s theories don’t conflict with our biblical genesis stories because we understand it as God talk in poetic metaphor. The biblical days represent eons of time. Humanity separated us from the primates when God touched the first of us with self-knowledge of him and of ourselves, and of life, death, good and evil. Darwin’s evolution theory was simply a brilliant scientist’s attempt to help us understand the dazzling complexity of God’s creation, from the amazing strength of a grasshopper’s legs to the way our brains transmit a signal from the optic nerves. Brother Bernard made the gospels equally simple. Christ tried to tell us that happiness lay in helping others. Selfishness was the road to damnation. His bottom line always boiled down to God loves us. He gave us free will. Permission to go to hell if we wanted; rules to follow if we preferred both a happy life and heaven; and a conscience to advise us along the way.”

This is of course an interruption of our series on the flow of energy through the ecosystem. For Christmas holiday I’ll continue the break from the FactFictionFancy blog and try to actually send cards to my whole list this year. Meantime I’ll keep you up to date with the daily traumas of life via the photographs of TheOneCreation blog. This week it was Postdoc with the vet student who came to help her recover from colic.

Personal question.

If I really want to understand the problems we face in trying to preserve the ecosystem from global warming, wars, and all that — what course should I take at TAMU during this coming Spring semester? Given that the basic ecology course repeats every semester on local TV, I guess I should continue to contribute there, but it’s available every semester. So other ideas in no particular sequence are: 1) economics, 2) management of charitable organizations, 3) politics. What do you think I most need to learn to make the measurable, biological facts in this blog useful to the world beyond the ivory tower?

FREE to senior citizens, and someone needs to help de-specialize our thinking.

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