Monday, November 30, 2009

A Day at the Museum

The friendly and helpful lady at the 79th Street, subway entrance to the Museum of Natural History asked me if I had been there before, when I arrived there, yesterday. I said,"Not since I was a child"(although I had been there for a special exhibit, I had not toured the museum properly, in decades.)

She suggested I start on the 4th floor, and work my way down. As good as that advice was, and turned out, I started at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. I had to up my admission ticket to be able to get into the (to my mind and body) newly upgraded Hayden Planetarium, and that was definitely worth the extra expense. The presentation was called, "Journey to the Stars," and was enthuisastically narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. In sum, it was mostly about what is a star, what kinds of stars there are, and how our sun is important to planet earth, and how important it is to our solar system. It was one of the fastest half hours of my life. Not only did it cover the basics of star function and classification, it covered the core known facts of the known universe. (Allow me to digress and say, Dark matter Rocks! Anyway . . .)

So starting there, was not so much a bad deviation from my friendly guide's suggestion. It really was starting out at the most "Meta" level, before I got to the themes starting up there on the fourth floor, life on Planet Earth.

Although I started off in the wrong corner, emerging somewhere in the middle of the Hall of Dinosaurs, I did make my way to the exhibition space where the movie on the basics of evolutionary timelines for life on our planet was exhibited. Meryl Streep was the narrator, and the film both explains and showcases the idea of Cladograms, the diagrams that visually show the progress of life from one evolutionary stage to the next. And the floor is itself laid out with that in mind, starting with vertebrates, and moving up through developments like jaws, and four limbs, and so on. Having watched that movie (a brief and wonderful refresher course of what I learned back in high school and pre high school) made the bones of the dinos far more interesting to me; without thinking about the timeline, the bones were only interesting looking stuff. The context made it science.

And I am going to jump ahead to the Hall of Human Origins, down on the first floor. But I need to say that on my way down, I started seeing the big picture, before the idea of humans as a by product of evolution became the topic. So here goes. When I see the flow chart of developing life on planet earth, laid out like a time line of one thing follows another, my mind must see that the one follows the other, and so on. And when I see how diverse life is on planet earth, I have to say, wait a minute. How could there be an Intelligent Designer behind all this? For One Designer to put together all the plans for all the life on the is planet right now, this minute, all the species of plant and animal life, well, that would have to be one mentally ill Designer; talk about obsessive compulsive. Never mind the why of it. Why create so many kinds of butterflies, or mold, or algae, or worms, or ants? Seems the only thing this (alleged) obsessive compulsive Designer did not obsessively model, revise, and or optionalize was Genus/Species Homo Sapiens.

And that is the natural and logical conclusion that should be reached, even without taking into account the millions and millions of extinct, failed species.

I know, I am biased in favor of evidentiary means, so I lean towards what Natural History, what actual science tells me. And that is why I cannot understand why anyone with an IQ above 65 denies evolution.

None of the life on the planet makes any sense being here, but for randomness. There is just way too much evidence for and from the flow chart. And there is just so much variety seemingly for no good reason but for the idea that randomness in species will flow like water spilled on a table, meaning, where ever it can.

And there have been so many failures along the way that one must conclude randomness is the power behind it all. How could a divine hand make that many mistakes, millions and millions of failed species, consistently?

Lastly, even if Homo Sapiens are the top of the food chain, but for the likely occurrence of that unpleasant catastrophic event, with the giant 'stroid smashing into the Yucatan? Well, the mammals on this planet, today, could be living in fear of Velociraptors.

Personally, I am glad they were wiped out. Humans are wicked enough creatures. I hate to see what an evolved descendant of those terrible lizards would be like, in this age, had they survived. One thing is for sure. Humans would not be the most wicked, destructive species on the planet, for what that is worth, I am guessing.


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