Belief


     I find it interesting that so many people can have such widely differing beliefs about so many different things. Seemingly equally intelligent, educated individuals can study the same subject and many times come to different, even diametrically opposing views. Why? How? Is there more than one truth? Are both views really provable, as often claimed? Or is it that the evidence is not as conclusive as purported and in fact can be interpreted in a variety of ways? If that interpretation were then used to further interpret other evidence, the differences could compound into quite different views, each built more on faith in the interpretations than the actual hard facts at hand.
    So, then, what is provable? It would seem that only things that can be proven mathmatically are inarguable. For instance; many thought that man could build a machine that would fly. He could and did. In this case the math wasn't understood until after the fact, but it was there! Now it can not only be proven, but the math has been expanded to take man even into space. However, even though in this case the proof came before the math, it was only so because it was mathmatically provable.
    For things not mathmatically provable (though in time we may find that everything is), a person can only gather what hard evidence there is and piece it together. Without mathmatical proof, that piecing together is only conjecture or faith. Conjecture being supposition or guesswork, faith being defined in the dictionary as "a firm belief in something for which there is no proof", although the biblical definition is in part, "the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld".
    The photos on these pages are ones that I have taken. In doing so, I have used many different resources to learn about the wildlife and their habits and habitat. In doing so I have heard and read much that I find unsubstantiated by fact, even though it is most often presented as if it were. These musings then are my thoughts related to a difference in belief about the how and why of what I see.
Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee female


     This is a female Spotted Towhee. The male is much brighter and has more contrasting color, you could say he is prettier. The reason the sexes differ is one where beliefs vary. Some feel it is a product of evolution, others feel it is by design.
    At this point I should should explain that when I say evolution I'm refering to a theory put forth by Charles Darwin in the 1800's and refined and expanded on since. When I say design I mean by a creator such as described in the Hebrew book of Genesis. This also has been refined, elaborated and expanded on by some to a point almost beyond belief. I will only be refering to that original account.
    Back to this bird, then. She is quite well colored to blend into the background while brooding and caring for the young. Her mate on the other hand is well adapted to draw an intruder away from them.
Eastern Gray Squirrel

Eastern Gray Squirrel


     These are probably the smartest critter in the yard. Eventually they seem to overcome almost any obstacle between themselves and food. They learn through trial and error and perseverence. What they can't do is sit in one location and reason out a way to get the food. Or make a conscious effort to cultivate and/or preserve it. Only humans do that.
    Why is that? Why is the method used by the squirrel common to so many species while only humans have developed the quality of reason? Or justice? Or love? Simple questions, but does a question have to be complex to have relevance?
> Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow


     Complex! Presently biological sciences catagorize all living organisms into five kingdoms. These are further divided within a complex naming structure down to a level of species. There are an estimated 13,000,000 different species with approximately 1,700,000 of these named. There are also sub-species or races as well as hybrids, offspring of two different named parents. Each change of classification is related to differences or similarities of organisms.
    In the previously mentioned book of Genesis it defines three kingdoms; plant, animal and man. The plant and animal are further divided in that they would reproduce according to "kind". A simple structure that allows for all the diversity we find in the scientific descriptions as well as that one not found in any other earthly form except man. Some refer to this as an ability for abstract thought. Whatever it is called, it gives man alone, out of those 13 million or so species on earth, the ability to wonder about his origin and contemplate his design.
    The bird here is a Fox Sparrow, Passerella iliaca. Some say a it is a subspecies, altivagans, while others say it is a hybrid between two other subspecies.
A Cackling Goose and a Canada Goose

Cackling Goose and a Canada Goose


     What then is "it's kind"? From the text we would think it to be within the ability to reproduce. This would allow for a great deal of cross-breeding or hybridization within a kind. If a variation within a kind was beneficial, that variety would survive and produce, hence an adaptation. But a fish wouldn't become a lizard nor a lizard a bird.
    The two birds pictured here are well within their kind. Yet, for whatever reason, they have diverged enough to be considered different species, although until very recently they were considered different races of the same species.
    I have to add; even though I say adapt and diverge, there is really no solid evidence of this having happened. It is however theoretically possible.
Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow


     As I was sitting in a lawn chair photographing some of the birds in my backyard wildlife area, this Chipping Sparrow dropped in. Just returned from wintering in the south, he was the first I'd seen since last fall. Migration. Such an awesome trip for a such a small thing. How does he do it? Instinct! Where did that come from?
     In books on birds and bird behavior it is considered a developed behavior as a result of evolutionary change. If so, how is it passed on? As I understand it the DNA, which has been so much in the news because of it's use to determine genetic inheritance, shows no evidence of such learned behavior.
    But somehow many species, some without ever knowing their parents, are able to migrate, or do other things, just as done by generations of their kind before them. I ask again, where did that come from? Did it really just happen, or is it a product of design?
A cloud reflecting the sunrise

Cloudfire


     Global warming. the strongest warning yet has just been issued by a body of some 2000 scientists from all over the world. Some say that even if meaningful action is taken immediately, the earth stands to lose upwards of 25% of existing species. at this point nobody has chosen to speculate on what the loss will be if too little or inappropriate action is taken.
     In other words, if we are here through evolution, we had better pretty quickly evolve better ways of governing what we do or we may very well go the way of the dinosaurs. On the other hand, if we were put here by design, maybe we were never designed to govern ourselves to start with.
     At this point it must be obvious that while I can and do muse on, or contemplate, these questions, I too have a belief. I can't prove it's true. It requires faith in certain things. Only the designer can, and hopefully will soon, prove it.
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