Anthropology Essay

1135 words - 5 pages

For centuries man has questioned his existence. To determine his identity and place in nature, more specifically, man has continually attempted to uncover his past in the hopes of tracing his origins. Although these attempts resulted in the formation of numerous hypotheses, our inability to physically prove what truly happened has produced conflict between the supporters of these various beliefs. With theories involving everything from extraterrestrials (colonialism) to colossal animals (Iroquois legends), the debate of human origins may seem too extensive to handle. Yet despite this factor, only one battle truly stands out in the midst of this issue: the conflict created between scientific reasoning and religious values. A conflict that has affected not only scientists and religious individuals alike, but has even influenced public education through the use of censorship (numerous anti-evolution laws). A conflict that may never be resolved: Creationism Vs. Evolution.Creationism is based on religious faith. More specifically, creationists base their understanding of mankind's origins on their literal interpretation of a sacred text referred to as "The Holy Bible". According to the first chapters of the Bible, the entire universe came into existence by the action of an almighty being named "God". Between 5,000 to 10,000 years ago (as described in the Old Testament), this almighty being conceived the earth from nothing in a time-ordered sequence. In a total of six days, God proceeded to create night, day, heaven and earth. He added water to the earth, grass and trees to the land, stars to the sky, and living creatures to the combination. He finished by creating man in his image, and allowed him dominance over all other creatures. From this perspective, Creationists see God as an absolute power, and consider him the only force responsible for man's existence. Although it may seem irrational of them to found all of their beliefs on one book, Creationists view the Bible as the word of God, and therefore do not question its authority.Science, on the other hand, opposes Creationism by providing a different explanation. According to science, human life was not created by an almighty being, but by an extensive natural process known as evolution. In a general sense, evolution is the gradual change of an organism over many generations which, ultimately, may result in the formation of whole new species. With the contribution of numerous scientists, several concepts have been formulated to explain this gradual change logically. Natural selection, first of all, is based on survival of the fittest: only the organisms best adapted to their environment will survive and eventually reproduce, causing future generations of those organisms to bear the same traits. In other words, since the unqualified organisms of a specie will gradually disappear, genetic change will occur among the resulting population. However, genetic variation is not purely caused by...

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