The Universe Could Soon Be 6,000 Years Old… In Texas

Yesterday, some strange stuff went down in Texas. It may not be a surprising development, especially if you have been following Phil Plait’s articles at Bad Astronomy, but it is still… strange. I don’t usually discuss creationism on Astroengine.com as I’ve always considered much of the wrangling to be an evolution/intelligent design “debate” (debate? Really? Which century are we in again?). To be honest, I’m glad I work and write in a field that can sidestep a lot of creationist bunkum. But hold up there, it’s not that simple. It would appear that some individuals in the Texan educational board have taken it upon themselves to give schools “the option” to teach, in astronomy classes, an ‘alternative’ to Big Bang theory. OK, that’s cool, what alternative scientific theory can be put forward?

That’s the problem, there isn’t a scientific alternative. Big Bang theory is solid, and with the help of WMAP we know the Big Bang occurred 13.73 billion years ago (+/-120 million years). Unfortunately, one member of the Texas Educational Board wants the state’s science classes to teach creationism alongside cosmology, meaning students will have one of the most confusing and damaging cosmology lessons I can possibly imagine.

Guess what kids, the Universe is somewhere between 6,000 to 13,730,000,000 years old. Yes, it’s looking like creationism will be taught alongside cosmology

Imagine the scene: A classroom full of children, excited to be taught the wonders of the cosmos. The teacher walks in and talks about what the children will learn during their first foray into a Universe filled with science and wonder. However, there’s a certain uneasiness in the way the science teacher runs through the curriculum, she’s approaching a part of the course every fibre of her being is telling her is wrong. But, to keep the status quo, she ploughs on, to discuss Big Bang theory… plus an ‘alternative’ theory dictated by a much publicised vote that was passed in her state back in 2009.

So, the Big Bang is a robust scientific theory that gathers evidence from a wide variety of sources,” she says boldly. “The Big Bang explains the red-shift of distant galaxies, it explains the faint echo of microwave radiation observed throughout the Universe…” she tails off, wondering whether she could get away with skipping over the next part. Unfortunately, her job dictates that she must teach it, even though she holds a degree in astrophysics and she knows what she is teaching isn’t right, if she doesn’t include it in the classroom, she will be reprimanded. The syllabus is the syllabus, she’s a teacher and she must communicate it to her students.

Although we know the Big Bang occurred 13.73 billion years ago, there’s another theory that must be considered…” feeling sad and frustrated to be in this situation, she pushes on even though she doesn’t want to, “…according to the theory of creation, all this scientific evidence was actually put there by a supreme being, God, masking the fact that the Universe, according to Genesis, was created 6,000 years ago…” she said with sadness.

The teacher then leafs through the textbook in front of her, noting the new section, just after “Big Bang Theory”. That new section is called “The Theory of Creation”. She stands in silence as her class watches, oblivious to the emotional agony their teacher was feeling. The real tragedy, however, is with the children, who will learn that creationism is an accepted scientific method, telling them that their Universe might just be a few thousand years old…
****

Although the above is pure fiction, it is the first thing that came across my mind when I was considering the ramifications of the recent Texas education board vote. If a crazy creationist amendment to the science curriculum is passed, how can science teachers deliver any kind of quality in their classes? Science is the backbone of the nation, once we start skewing what science really is, we are in for a world of hurt, for generations. I have absolutely no argument with religious opinion, but when I hear that a creationist standpoint is being forced upon a scientific subject, I feel the frustration and concern many biologists must feel when creationists argue their own brand of ‘Intelligent Design’ is being used as an ‘alternative’ theory to evolution.

The funniest thing I see being argued time and time again is “evolution is just a theory.” Well, it is a scientific theory that has undergone rigorous scientific study. Evolution, quite literally, is a fact of life. As for “the Big Bang is just a theory” argument, once again, it is a scientific theory supported by a vast number of scientific studies. The Big Bang is a fact of Universal physics. We know the Universe began as a singularity. We have no clue what was before the Big Bang, we have no idea what caused it (although, through science we might eventually understand these unknowns a little better). But one thing is for sure, it happened 13.73 billion years ago (and that’s not in dog years either) – science has proven that.

Creationism is a religious adaptation of the physical world. It has the same scientific clout as the Bible (i.e. none). Creationism is not a scientific theory, it is religious philosophy. Religion is a belief, it requires no evidence. Science is fact, it requires evidence.

Keep creationism in the religious education classes, it has no right to be in any science class. Unfortunately, it looks like this episode is the start of things to come (it also looks like Florida is entertaining creationist dogma), let’s just hope the world doesn’t sit by and let hundreds of years of scientific endeavour become eroded by a fanatical few. It is also worth noting that many people who are religious despise creationist ideals, so we are dealing with a small group of anti-science crackpots who obviously have a very loose grasp of reality. It’s just a shame a few of these people are in positions of authority, able to influence the future of school children who wont be given the chance to know better.

For more detail about the Texas education vote, check out “Texas: From saved to doomed in just 6 hours!” over at Bad Astronomy.

55 thoughts on “The Universe Could Soon Be 6,000 Years Old… In Texas”

  1. its hard to discuss it.

    my opinion is that school is meant to teach everyone in a equalitary manner so kids can use their knowledge in the future.

    religion on the other hand is choice and tradition, if parents want their kids to learn about religion, they should make the kids go to a specific place!

    school is for teaching things to everyone that’s usefull to everyone.

    i imagine how sad it’s to a hindu or buddhist family explain that they live in a place where, because the majority believe in something, the innocent minority must suck up and let them do it.

    to me its like trying to covert people at any cost… just slowly…

  2. We need to start bombarding Creationist school boards with demands for equal consideration of *all* “alternative theories”. Let us insist on phlogiston being taught alongside the kinetic theory of heat, and Aristotle's four humors alongside real physiology. Then ring in all of the other creation tales from Norse, African, Asian and Native American tradition. Note that this won't work unless someone actually spends the money to file the lawsuits. When that mess finally settles, there is one final shot: get the school boards and the courts into the argument over which translation of the Holy Babble is the True one. The Young Earth religiots assume (with a capital “ass”) that King James's board of scholars had a direct line to God, but they made a *bunch* of translation errors, which real Bible scholars are happy to point out. Sometimes, the most effective resistance is to turn the handle the way it goes, then _another_ turn.

  3. This happened in Kansas, but there was no way to really enforce it. Teachers who didn't want to teach it didn't, and it was struck down a week or two later. That doesn't mean that it's not harmless, oh no, a mandate on that we teach creationism alongside science is the definition of a corruption of politics and lawmaking, but I don't see the hypothetical scenario of your article happening. Most science teachers would stick to their principles and refuse to teach a story that has no scientific backing.

  4. Why do a lot of people get it wrong, when they try to explain creation.The Creator (God), didn't create the universe 6000 years ago, but the human race 6000 years ago.He created the universe, millions of years before he prepared the Earth to be habitable.I belive in the Bible, in a Creator and see the Big Bang as the way the Creator used to make the physical universe.I find it very logic that He started the creation of the physical universe one place, and let it expand, just like He created one paradisiacal garden on Earth, with the intention to let expand to fill all over the Earth, and He created one man and let him “expand” (reproduce) to fill the earth.

    1. That's not totally correct is it?Young Earth Creationism teaches that “…the Heavens, Earth and life on Earth were created by direct acts of God during a short period, sometime between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago.” [ref]Nowhere is there a mention about it taking God “millions of years” to prepare the Universe for human habitation.It would appear that a certain Arizona State Senator didn't get your memo either: “Arizona State Senator: ‘This Earth’s Been Here 6,000 Years…’

  5. Junk-food faith for a fat head nationThe US, a nation overwhelmingly god-fearing also overwhelmingly rejects science. Millions of my fellow citizens lack a critical intelligence to reject the Fundie Fare they put into their minds.The country is an aberration among developed nations in its affinity for religious enthusiasms and in its failure to accept now elementary basic truths like evolution via natural selection. (Check the Pew surveys on Religion and Society. http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_category.aspx…)Consumption of junk-food faith leads directly to mental constipation, gastric self-righteousness and ego flatulence among fundies. Surely their prayer has been answered:Super size me Jesus! Amen.the anti_supernaturalist

  6. As a Christian and a Texan, I approached this post with much trepidation, expecting the usual stereotyped views and offensive statements, but you managed to go through the entire article without mention of us crazy suth'rn cowboys chewing tobacco and riding about on our longhorns, shooting up immigrants and scientists with our gun-bibles and bible-guns. Thank you very much for that.

    1. Lol! That's quite okay 🙂 I see this as more of an international issue to be honest, it's just that in the USA individual states can pass their own laws, thereby highlighting the issue.Cheers, Ian

  7. “It has the same scientific clout as the Bible (i.e. none).”That's not exactly true. The Bible has more science in it than the theories of Intelligent Design and Creationism. If you examine Genesis closely, it seems to parallel both the evolution of the universe and the evolution of life on Earth. Much of the rest of the Old Testament contains tons of well-proven battle strategy and urban engineering. In other words, science.

    1. But there is no science in the Bible. Some aspects of Genesis my resemble modern science (although I'm not sure how, but then again, I haven't read the Bible since I was a child), but that is where the similarities end. Evolution wasn't understood until the mid-19th Century, so any likenesses with the text of a book that is based on teachings from 2000 years ago are purely anecdotal. It is not science, it is religion, a difference people seem to be having a difficulty with recently.Battle strategy and urban engineering as mentioned in the bible are merely descriptions of different philosophies used back at that time. To think the Bible could be used as a scientific text to reproduce the scientific endeavour back then is heavily flawed.

    2. If you examine Genesis closely, it seems to parallel both the evolution of the universe and the evolution of life on Earth.Not in the slightest.Here's the time line of creation in Genesis:day1: lightday2: earthday 3: water and plantsday 4: sun, moon and starsday 5: all animalsday 6: humansand here's the scientific time line…13.5 gya: big bang13.0 gya: stars (aka, light)4.5 gya: earth, moon and water600 mya: aquatic animals400 mya: land animals60 mya: avian animals2.5 mya: hominidsand finally, about 100,000 years ago, we get modern humans.So um, no. Genesis doesn't parallel the evolution of the universe or life on Earth without some very liberal interpretation of the first and second chapters.

    3. If you examine Genesis closely, it seems to parallel both the evolution of the universe and the evolution of life on Earth

      No it doesn't. Genesis states that plants were created before the sun. Anyone that's learned about photosynthesis in middle school science class can immediately see how that can't work. That's before considering the fact that it's completely opposite to everything we know about planetary formation (ie. stars form first, debris orbiting said star collects to form planets).Both the evolution of the universe and life on Earth are definitely not paralelled by the story in Genesis (I think the only thing it did get right was that animals existed before man).

  8. We are a nation of choices. The bedrock concept of our founding fathers was not merely freedom of religious choice, but freedom of personal action. Choice is what drives our daily lives. Your imaginary teacher makes the sad choice between continued employment and disseminating information counter to everything to which she has dedicated her life: choosing intelligent argument and valid evidence over Sunday school pabulum. However,those who “believe” have a power that those who believe something else do not. Belief, absolutist belief, give them the power to choose the path their dogmas dictates over any other option presented, no matter what that option may be; including more often than not, the actual truth.Logic and evidence are not the first weapons needed to defend against this passionate heartfelt denial of the revealed facts. Science has to develop that inner clear-eyed passion as well. Sitting around smugly agreeing with each other, nodding knowingly as each incidence of willful stupidity and dogmatic excess is uncovered, isn't helping that fictional Texas teacher, or the real ones who are next. Until every such educator can feel confident of as much backup at the local school board meetings as the other side was able to generate with one mention in the local church bulletin, scientific education remains at risk. Know thine enemy; emulate him. Believe! Testify! The truth will set you free.

  9. If all schools were private, not government owned and operated, this would not be an issue.Government could issue education vouchers and religious people could send their children to religious schools and the rest of us could choose schools that teach normal subjects.

    1. There are already lots of private schools where fundamentalists can send their kids to make sure that they don't get exposed to anything real or factual about science. It's not the schools and how they're run that's the issue, it's the mindset. This proselytizing will continue as long as there are people who disagree with the fundamentalists' tenets.

  10. Well, as a Texan, I'll say this is BS and this type of thing deserves no respect. However, having gone thru the school system here, I can tell you there is a lot of stuff not supported by science or history taught in the class room. The creationists are usually stopped however, I was taught evolution and intelligent design wasn't mentioned. The real problem seems to be economics. I suspect this is because people/governments can profit from distorting it.”If all schools were private, not government owned and operated, this would not be an issue. Government could issue education vouchers and religious people could send their children to religious schools and the rest of us could choose schools that teach normal subjects.”Actually I highly doubt the religious would send their kids to schools that don't teach evolution. I grew up in Midland, Texas (90%+ republican), even the private schools taught evolution. Some people say the religious are stupid. In reality, they propose things like this, knowing it will be rejected, so they can claim that the government is oppressing them and win votes.

  11. How much longer can this nonsense really go on? I mean we are living in the future, it's the 21st century for Christs sake! LOL -just had to throw that in there…

  12. The universe is photoshopped, I can tell as it has pixels & from seeing many photoshops in my time. I also once saw a goat walking backwards, it's name was Pete which it told me. Did I not mention it was also a talking goat?Anyway, its all shopped, the cake is not a lie, only pixels.

  13. I agree with almost everything you say, and am thankful that you mention that many religious people dislike creationist ideals.I'm not sure if I'd go as far as “The Big Bang is a fact of Universal physics.”I am not a cosmologist, and don't claim to even keep up with it as a sideline, but it seems to me that I was hearing some talk of 'branes a while back, in at least the popular press, as a scientific theory. I do know some physicists who hold that String Theory is a philosophy, not a science, due to the (current, at least) lack of testable predictions, and perhaps you hold 'branes to be in the same category. And then there's the (to me) recent theory that everything is a hologram, and that the math all works. I wouldn't know.Perhaps you feel you do know – it's your field, not mine.But I have scientific training, and feel uncomfortable with stating it as a fact.

    1. I see your point, but the Big Bang is the best description we have that fits a broad range of scientific evidence. As time goes on, we'll refine our methods and make new discoveries, but we really do know that the universe began 13.73 billion years ago, and to the best of our understanding, the universe came from a single event. These are all facts.However, there are a huge number of unknowns, such as what caused the Big Bang? And what were the conditions just before the Big Bang? I too read a few papers a while back about brane theory and perhaps that might help in answering some these questions.I recently had a debate about Einstein's theory of general relativity. That theory turns out to be a very robust way of describing the volume of space that surrounds us (although it might need adjustment over larger distances), it is a fact of the nature of space-time. It is a theory that is used every day.This is why “it's just a theory” argument doesn't hold, and this is why I state the Big Bang as a fact. It is a robust theory, with a huge amount of verified evidence.

  14. If church and state are seperated in Texas,as they are everywhere else,how can they teach creationism in schools ? I 'thought creationism was based on wether or not you believe God (insert your God or Gods of choice here ),created the universe and everything in it,in seven days.Maybe there is more than “Steers and Queers”,in Texas.But I doubt it.

  15. It should be noted that even The Vatican does not accept this. Since Vatican II, if I recall correctly, evolution has been accepted as scientific truth. They reserve mankind as a special case of creation. Realize how far out these anti-evolutionists are from the norm of Christianity.

  16. Big Bang Theory is just that- a THEORY. Do not proclaim it as”we know the Big Bang occurred 13.73 billion years ago”

    1. “The universe was created by an organized team of hamsters, who could talk and had superpowers” is a theory too, it's my special rodent theory of the origin of the universe.Now compare my cosmic hamster theory with the Big Bang theory. Which do you propose is more likely? Oh yes, that's right; that Big Bang theory is backed up by a wide variety of sources and a vast amount of scientific evidence. This evidence points to the fact that all the stuff in the universe came from a common point, an event described as the Big Bang.Also, through some incredible scientific endeavour, space-based observatories have now gained the most precise measurement on the age of the universe — 13.73 billion years.So yes, I will proclaim “…we know the Big Bang occurred 13.73 billion years ago…” because, guess what? The Big Bang occurred 13.73 billion years ago.Whatever your thoughts about the word “theory,” I don't think you think you know what a scientific theory really means. Special relativity and general relativity are theories too, but wouldn't you say Einstein had a pretty good grasp of how the universe works when he arrived at these theories? The same with the Big Bang, it is the best description that we have to describe the universe we live in.

  17. Bad example of “what might happen.” Nobody with an astrophysics degree would be teaching this type of a class. Plus, since when did a teacher walk in after the kids were already sitting down, just waiting to hear the lesson? (let alone excited to be in school) good story – but maybe you could make it a little more reality?

  18. On September 14, 1972, the following letter written by Wernher von Braun was read to the California State Board of Education by Dr. John Ford.Dear Mr. Grose:In response to your inquiry about my personal views concerning the “Case for DESIGN” as a viable scientific theory for the origin of the universe, life and man, I am pleased to make the following observations.For me, the idea of a creation is not conceivable without invoking the necessity of design. One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be design and purpose behind it all. In the world around us, we can behold the obvious manifestations of an ordered, structured plan or design. We can see the will of the species to live and propagate. And we are humbled by the powerful forces at work on a galactic scale, and the purposeful orderliness of nature that endows a tiny and ungainly seed with the ability to develop into a beautiful flower. The better we understand the intricacies of the universe and all it harbors, the more reason we have found to marvel at the inherent design upon which it is based.While the admission of a design for the universe ultimately raises the question of a Designer (a subject outside of science), the scientific method does not allow us to exclude data which lead to the conclusion that the universe, life and man are based on design. To be forced to believe only one conclusion – that everything in the universe happened by chance – would violate the very objectivity of science itself. Certainly there are those who argue that the universe evolved out of a random process, but what random process could produce the brain of a man or the system of the human eye?Some people say that science has been unable to prove the existence of a Designer. They admit that many of the miracles in the world around us are hard to understand, and they do not deny that the universe, as modern science sees it, is indeed a far more wondrous thing than the creation medieval man could perceive. But they still maintain that since science has provided us with so many answers, the day will soon arrive when we will be able to understand even the creation of the fundamental laws of nature with a Divine Intent. They challenge science to prove the existence of God. But, must we really light a candle to see the sun?Many men who are intelligent and of good faith say they cannot visualize an electron? The electron is materially inconceivable and yet, it is so perfectly known through its effects that we us it to illuminate our cities, guide our airliners through the night skies and take the most accurate measurements. What strange rationale makes some physicists accept the inconceivable electron as real while refusing to accept the reality of a Designer on the ground that they cannot conceive Him? I am afraid that, although they really do not understand the electron either, they are ready to accept it because they managed to produce a rather clumsy mechanical model of it borrowed from rather limited experience in other fields, but they would not know how to begin building a model of God.I have discussed the aspect of a Designer at some length because it might be that the primary resistance to acknowledging the “Case for DESIGN” as a viable scientific alternative to the current “Case for CHANCE” lies in the inconceivability, in some scientists' minds, of a Designer. The inconceivability of some ultimate issue (which will always lie outside scientific resolution) should not be allowed to rule out any theory that explains the interrelationship of observed data and is useful for prediction.We in NASA were often asked what the real reason was for the amazing string of successes we had with our Apollo flights to the Moon. I think the only honest answer we could give was that we tried to never overlook anything. It is in that same sense of scientific honesty that I endorse the presentation of alternative theories for the origin of the universe, life and man in the science classroom. It would be an error to overlook the possibility that the universe was planned rather than happening by chance.With kindest regards.Sincerely,(signed) Wernher von Braun

  19. Augh, why do people always associate creationism with a young earth/universe? It's perfectly acceptable (and grammatically correct) to interpret the verses in genesis to be a VERY long time. That includes the glaring omission of the fact that genesis says that God re-formed the earth (Ex. the earth BECAME void vs. the earth WAS void) so who knows how long it may have been around even if they do insist on a literal 6 24hour period of creation.

  20. As a pastafarian I would have to insist that the gospel of the flying spaghetti monster be taught as well. Every pastafarian know the universe was created by the fling spaghetti monster. And it is through its graces we have everything. We are especially thankful for pirates, beer volcanoes, strippers and pasta. But to be serious the gospel of the lying spaghetti monster is just as plausible and stands up to the same rigorous tests of faith to be taught side by side with creationism.

  21. Hehe, great debate – as can be expected ;-)I'd like to suggest you read some books from Ervin Laszlo and be amazed about how science (quantum physics, consciousness research) and religion and philosophy are getting closer each year.

  22. Think of it as intellectual Darwinism – those kids too stupid or hoodwinked to question what is obviously a religious belief will be destined to go no further in any form of scientific thought.

  23. The ramifications of this are horrible. Texas has such a large population that textbook makers will be forced to include the “creationism” BS in books that are sold to school districts nationwide, instead of producing “Texas-only” books. If we move away from science we're asking for a second dark ages.

  24. The thing that I see wrong with the above is that I think a lot of teachers would have the conflict teaching the Big Bang theory if it were framed against the creation myth. I would imagine that a great deal of teachers in Texas believe that the universe is 6,000 years old. In the South it is considered heresy to question the status quo and the status quo is a Christian world view. The line”I don’t usually discuss creationism on Astroengine.com as I’ve always considered much of the wrangling to be an evolution/intelligent design “debate” reminds me of the poem “First They Came…”

  25. The thing that I see wrong with the above is that I think a lot of teachers would have the conflict teaching the Big Bang theory if it were framed against the creation myth. I would imagine that a great deal of teachers in Texas believe that the universe is 6,000 years old. In the South it is considered heresy to question the status quo and the status quo is a Christian world view. The line”I don’t usually discuss creationism on Astroengine.com as I’ve always considered much of the wrangling to be an evolution/intelligent design “debate” reminds me of the poem “First They Came…”

  26. It is disturbing to me that you feel the big bang theory is the “Real” truth!! That is so laughable! What isn't laughable is that you think it is what should be taught in schools-to my children!!! That absolutely appauls me!!!!

  27. I can't believe you guys just assume so much. You know there is actually a REAL SCIENCE behind creationism. And evolution is ad-hoc as well as most of the Big Bang. Just go to creationevedence.org and reasons.org These guys are real scientests. If you could study objectivly and keep your opinions in check, be honest and see the truth for what it is, I think your opinion will change as well as your attitude.

  28. Here is a few things to think about before laughing your head off. Where did the theory of the Big Bang come from originally? Do you really think you are intelligent enough to say without a doubt that IT is FACT due to a lack of another idea? 13 Billion years is a length of time… did you know that the very concept of time changes depending on the location in the universe relying on gravitational intensity?First the man who first thought up the Big Bang theory was in fact A CHRISTIAN!!Georges Lemaître…look it up..

  29. The “Big Bang Theory” is just that a theory and not based on fact anymore than “Creationism” What make you think in our humaness we can explain what happend 13.7 billion years ago when we can feed the hungry, stay out of wars, create life, etc. What a joke that so many take as fact all of the theories use to explain how the universe came about. It a great method to get grant money to further research, however, one day soon just before we become extinct we will learn the truth.

  30. Oh for f#!* sake. Some ideas are falsifiable. Others are not. Un-falsifiable ideas are NOT part of science because they cannot be tested.Since there's not much difference between science and learning itself, I would say that unfalsifiable ideas are a hindrance to learning in general.Religion survives BECAUSE it is unfalsifiable, and then wants to claim that its ideas are on par with scientific ones. Hogwash. Ask a devout person what data would convince them that there is no god. You will find that they cannot conceive of any such data. You can tell them that THIS is why their ideas have no place in science. But they probably won't understand.And if YOU don't understand this post, go read up: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/popper_falsification.htmlEven if you don't buy the idea of falsifiability, at the heart of learning and science is the constant attempt to find ideas that do a BETTER job at describing and predicting measurements than the ideas you have at the moment. Religions have been in existence since the dawn of man and have nothing to show for it. Look at how effective science has been in the last one hundred years. There IS a reason.

  31. I always wondered why it is so hard for people to accept or even talk about a sort of fusion of the two theories. If God is such a supreme all powerful being, why couldn’t he have made the universe via the big bang and prepare the world for humans via evolution. Though my personal beliefs say that we couldn’t be DIRECT descendants, evolution-wise, from the early primates, due to the need to be directly sealed to God (meaning that we need to be part of his family, being literal children of God sent, by our choice, to be tested on Earth). Why couldn’t God have brought the world up to the point where he knew the Earth was ready for human beings and then put us on the Earth. Thought about in that way, it only discounts a little of the scientific proof on our being descended from apes, but allows for the religious angle to have credit as well. Now teaching religious theories in school that I don’t completely agree with, but I think that creationism or the theories of “intelligent-design” should at least be mentioned and touched on so that if students run into those theories in the future they aren’t so completely set on one theory or the other that it causes contention and doesn’t allow for discussion. Open communication with understanding on both sides that both opinions are valid in that they are a person’s choice, is not only the way to further mankind’s understanding of the universe but also mankind’s understanding of itself and it would be a shame if being so obstinate crippled mankind’s progression scientifically or spiritually. Just my thoughts on the matter =)

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