--And now for something completely ennobling.
I was recently up on the American Physical Society website (phys.org), a hard-science site, and ran across an interesting thought exercise that, in my opinion, presents the possibility of sending religious pundits back before the stone age. It posits the idea that Life may have begun long before Earth became habitable or even hospitable to life. They pointedly ask what this might mean to religion.
Article here: http://phys.org/news/2013-04-law-life-began-earth.html
It's a fairly technical article, so be forewarned.
The researchers were working with Moore's Law --a law that has to do with predicting the increasing complexity of computer systems over time. It says that the complexity of computer systems grows in an exponential fashion as time goes forward. (As it happens, the law is both accurate and can be demonstrated.)
They applied the law to another complex system: Life. Life has become more complex over time and had to start somewhere. Working with known genetic measurements they were able to determine that (when applying Moore's Law and counting backwards in time) in order for Life to become as complex as it is today, Life would have had to have started several billion years before the origin of Earth. 10 billion years, in fact. Earth is measured as having begun 4.5 billion years ago.
What it means is that if Life had origins five-and-a-half billion years before Earth was even around, it could mean that Life originated elsewhere and that means that religion's ideas about the meaning of life and meaning of existence itself comes into question. That's because their ideas around these matters are firmly based on the terrestrial origin of Life for certain purposes that only their mythical writings support.
If Life originated 10 billion years ago, and not on this planet as the religious believe, then all "young Earth" beliefs, all forms of "creationism" and it's untintelligent stepchild "intelligent design" can no longer be supported and are dusted away in several sweeps of the Cosmic Hour Hand.
I liked the article because it is another example of using the tools at hand to look at Life with a view that is unrestricted and undistorted by controlling mythology. It gives me a chance to think of Life in a much more favorable light: Life is very old. Life is very resilient. Life matters. Life should be celebrated if for no other reasons than those.
The article reaffirmed how glad I am to be a part of this very interesting and noble thing called Life.
--Attribution to phys.org, where the article that I am referencing originated.
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