I recently listened to a podcast from The Dave Glover Show which involved a debate over evolution. Now, let me state up front that I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I don’t see evolution as diametrically opposed to creationism. And more than that? I’m just not educated enough. Heck, there are Ph.D.s in physics, paleontology, geology and anthropology who can’t agree on how the world came into being. Why should an uneducated buffoon like me prove his buffoonedness by blathering about something where he has no expertise?
So anyway, a question was posed to one of the participants:
Is there anything that could make you change your belief?
This gave me pause. Granted, I have lots of beliefs. And if you want to know how my mind works, check out the lyrics to God (Part II) by John Lennon (U2 does an awesome version on “Rattle & Hum”, too.)
All the things I believe…that gravity exists, that Bruce Springsteen is the greatest songwriter of all time, that my wife loves me, that people who hurt children should be publically lynched, that navy blue is the best color, that global warming isn’t quite the issue Al Gore makes it out to be, that Mitch Hedberg is the funniest comedian ever, that goat cheese on a burger makes it tastier-just a lot of beliefs.
But could my beliefs be changed? Sure! With more information. After all, my beliefs are based on the information I’ve obtained thus far. Do I know enough to be an expert on all issues? Any issues, for that matter? Nah, I’m not real dogmatic about why my beliefs are fact: only that they’re my beliefs.
When this question was posed to the creationist, he said that nothing could change his mind. Absolutely nothing, nothing at all.
See, we only know what we know. Let’s take religion (since we’re on the subject)…what if tomorrow, earth was visited by aliens. And what if these aliens turned out to have had a video camera on earth since, oh, the beginning of time. And what if we could see, right there in living color that, um, that whole Genesis thing? Yeah, didn’t happen. Not the way Christians, Jews and Muslims all agree it happened, at least. If this film from the aliens was absolutely refutable with all their methods proveable and accurate….and yet it doesn’t jive with what you’ve been taught all your life…would it change your beliefs?
Granted, this is a ridiculously far-fetched scenario. I just get really worried when dogmatic people say that nothing, not a single thing no matter how relevant, will ever change their beliefs. Talk about having the blinders on.
For me, I’ll rest content in the knowledge I’m ignorant. And if some day I die, I’ll be real, real happy if there’s some new knowledge revealed to me. After all, my human mind can only comprehend what I’ve been taught and what I’ve experienced…and I haven’t experienced Genesis. Neither has anyone else alive today.
Is there a difference in belief and opinion? That’s the idea I’m pondering today…