Of all the problems that face those of us living on Earth, the question of how humanity got here is one of the least pressing. However we began, since we are here humanity did begin and that is the only relevant part of the story. And the fact that we are here is the only fact that we can be reasonably sure of. I say “reasonably sure” we exist because there are those who say we don’t and while I don’t agree with them neither can I prove them wrong. I agree with Descartes, “Cogito, ergo sum; I think, therefore I am.”
Anyway, I assume that humanity exists and is a form of life. It makes some sense for humanity to base its actions on the one thing it knows for sure, that it exists.
And all estimates of the starting point of our species have this in common: it was a long time ago. And since it happened such a long time ago it lacks local relevance. It seems to me that we should be focusing on how we live this life now and in the immediate future in the light of what we know about our recorded past.
So what is one to make of this life? A young woman told me that the meaning of life was to have as much fun as you can.
I took exception to the word “fun” which is a frivolous word. People who climb Mt. Everest or dog sled to the North Pole do it out of choice but “fun” doesn’t seem an appropriate adjective.
Living on this planet is not easy. If Earth were the size of an onion we would be mites living on rafts of onion skin that float on molten magma. There are wars, hurricanes, earthquakes, famines, droughts, floods and volcanoes to keep us busy. And disease, I can’t leave disease out.
I group wars with natural disasters because like, say earthquakes, they kill and injure indiscriminately. The NFL or Ultimate Fighting are unlike war in that participation is voluntary. There is no collateral damage at The Super Bowl; unless you count hangovers and accidents on the drive back home.
From as far back as “The Epic of Gilgamesh” and “Genesis” the basic nature of humanity hasn’t changed all that much, if it all. Humanity is the way it is, so deal with it. I don’t really care how humanity became human some thousands of years ago, I care about what has happened since.
So I think there are more relevant subjects than evolution, creationism or intelligent design to be taught in high schools. Perhaps that time in biology class would be better spent on the Krebs Citric Acid Cycle. Or more time in history on the American Revolution.
If humanity put its mind to it and didn’t get distracted by the question of our origin, it could produce enough food to feed everybody. If those who would be king, so to speak, would rule with the well-being of their minions as the point of being a ruler and not the support of a particular creation theory, there would be a sharp decrease in the homeless.
If humanity could keep its eye on the ball instead of the distant past, it could do away with war and let people risk their lives in ways that involve only willing participants. I find it interesting that humanity could eliminate wars if it really wanted to but seems to lack that desire. Oh, well.
Thus Spake The Old Fogy remembering that dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. (Horace)