Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Australopithecus afarensis

NEW YORK - Scientists have found a remarkably complete skeleton of a 3-year-old female from the ape-man species represented by "Lucy." The remains found in Africa are 3.3 million years old, making this the oldest known skeleton of such a youthful human ancestor.
Say hello to beautiful baby girl Selam ,named so because in Ethiopian it means "peace". Just like Salaam and Shalom, so close etymologically and yet so, so far. (Sigh)
In any case, my fellow Americans (particularly those of you in Kansas), this should be further proof that no, the universe is not 5000 years old, and the world was not created in seven days and we did not spring forth from the dust like the fully formed humans we are today.
My own otherwise very intelligent Mom used to have issues with Darwin. "I do not come from no monkeys", she argued and it was better to leave it at that.
However, I'm very proud to come from Salem and Lucy, his or her greatgreatgreatgreatgreat-you-get-the-idea-grandchild, since Lucy appeared on Earth a full 100,000 years after Salem did. I think they are awesome and we should be proud to come from them. What's not to like about monkeys?

Now, my favorite book of the Bible is Genesis. The way I see it, it is the most beautiful metaphorical synthesis of the beginning of the universe and the origins of earth and man. I happen to believe that whoever wrote it, got it scientifically right. The description of the very beginning being:

"without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said let there be light, and there was light".

That to me is the Big Bang. Why not? And so every day the Bible says something happens, the sky separating from the seas, etc, is not actually a day but millions of years and I happen to think that it is quite interesting that the writer or writers of Genesis had the right order of creation in mind, starting with a void, and then having the conditions, the water and then the earth from which, as we all know from biology class (except for those in Kansas), we all emerged.

So instead of reading the Bible literally, which makes you look like a dunce and will turn your children back into monkeys, why not read it as a poetic approximation, instinctively right, to what scientists know today? And you can still believe in a God if you want. The Bible does not exclude what the scientists are saying. In my view, it kind of confirms it.

Welcome, Selam!

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