I had an aha moment this evening. I was having a glass of wine and some happy hour food at our favorite neighborhood spot, 3 Doors Down, and was reading the online NY Times (eating alone at a restaurant strategy - bring something to read). A fascinating article was about the NASA Mars Rover that has recently drilled into a Mars rock and completed a chemical analysis of the rock dust. The findings were a number of chemicals that are able to support life, and NASA scientists conclude that the Mars environment several billion years ago could have supported simple life forms. This is not the same as saying that life existed on Mars, but it is still a very important finding.
The thought then struck me: belief in "intelligent design" is a cop-out; it is a bypass around intellectual curiosity and discovery. If one believes that the entire universe was designed and created by some superior force, e.g. god, then exploration, curiosity, research and discovery are all a waste of time. I cannot, and will not accept this!
The Mars missions are explorations of the unknown, and every tiny bit of knowledge gained about Mars is a valuable step in the human quest for knowledge. If we forsake these intellectual journeys, well, then we are no different from simple microbes, and we might as well spend our lives stupidly whirling about in some primordial soup.
Part of what makes humans human is our curiosity and, more than that, our thirst for knowledge and truth. How marvelous is it that humans can manufacture a machine, shoot it into space, land it on another planet, remotely drive it around, drill into a rock, and analyze the drilling dust in an on-board chemical laboratory? I mean - fantastic! How boring life must be for those who simply say "god made everything - end of discussion!"
We cannot give up on intellectualism, a characteristic we all have. WE are the intelligence in our world, and it's time we accepted it and used it to whatever lengths we can take it. It is time for we humans to stop acting like mindless animals and evolve (yes, evolve) into the thoughtful, compassionate, intellectually curious beings that we have the equipment (the human brain) to be.
Go NASA; drill baby drill!