What's interesting is that we can see the implications of this in religious contexts. For example, the stories in Genesis can function almost like a time capsule, revealing the sort of questions people wondered about a few thousand years ago:
- How did the world begin?
- How did the animals get their names?
- Why do people wear clothing?
- Why do snakes crawl along the ground and (seemingly) eat dust?
- Why is childbirth so painful?
- Why does a colorful arc sometimes appear in the sky?
- Why do people speak different languages?
|Thanks for not drowning us all |
a second time, God.
It's easy to see where these stories came from. For example, it would have been natural to wonder how that multicolored shape got up in the sky, and there certainly wouldn't have been any way to explain it at the time. Rainbows also have an otherworldly feel about them, especially since they have no definite physical location. How would ancient people interpret this peculiar phenomenon? Someone created a story about how and why it came to be—clearly, a very powerful being must have placed it there—and suddenly they had an answer. This explanation plugged an uncomfortable gap in their knowledge, so it caught on and eventually became universally accepted as truth.
The answers the Bible gives to these questions can be satisfying, but the problem is that every last one of them is wrong. In fact, the entire approach we've seen here—to fill the explanatory void with some completely unfounded agent-centric conclusion—is fundamentally flawed. What we should do when we encounter something we can't explain is say "I don't know," and begin investigating until we can develop a theory based on hard evidence.