What is there about discovering our collective roots? We aren't talking about compiling family trees; that's the sort of thing which has an immediate effect on us, seeing exactly where we came from, and who our grandparents and great-grandparents were and what their homelands looked like and so forth. Yet when we extrapolate beyond that, when we grope at issues such as evolution and the formation of the Universe, well, what are we really in search of?
This isn't to disparage such endeavors as academic exercises. If there are things to be discovered which may help us in the here and now, if even there are things whose discovery would cause us to appreciate the wonders of the earth and space around us, that's cool. But our fear isn't about any of that. Or fear is that too many of the folks who seek such things aren't seeking them for the sake of real and useful knowledge. We wonder if they are in fact following along a trail which will do nothing less than make humanity less special than it is.
Not that we seek an arrogant humanity either, as may happen should we being to think ourselves too special, too 'all that'. It strikes us that either extreme may be, well, a sin of some kind. We should want to know and understand who we are, with either approach.
Still, the one seems less critical. We are talking about the one which addresses more the flesh and bones humanity, the scientific approach which sees only empiricism. Aren't the abstractions, the philosophical ideals of who and what we are, and what we ought to be, more important?
Does the formation of planets, the study of evolution, nay, even the Big Bang, actually deal in those questions? The purveyors of science say yes. But we don't see how. To be sure, they appear to believe that if we should come to understand the start of the Universe, the developments within evolution, that we shall then understand creation and can dispense with tired concepts such as God. They are quite unwilling to consider whether such things may require a God of some sort. But why?
The only conclusion we can see is that it would take away from their being God. That's truly sad. Too many scientists or, at least, the pop scientists such as Stephen Hawking or Carl Sagan, try to make us believe that creation is wonderful without a Creator. But what does that leave us with? Exactly this: two human beings, neither of whom can possibly be, in a scientific sense, any better than any given one of us. Because if all we are are products of an evolutionary environment, if we are wholly accidental and not guided by anything, then why are they and their thoughts so important? Their very own knowledge and 'understanding' is only incidental. If it's only incidental, as any knowledge thus must be, then it is valueless.
And that simply doesn't make sense. We don't mean scientific sense. We mean philosophic sense. Science is only, and will never be more than, flesh and blood and rock for it knows not what. Scientific knowledge will always be nothing more than rote. That doesn't mean it isn't important. But it does mean that science is only a tool for our use, and nothing more. It means science can only tell us what will happen with certain chemical reactions under such and such conditions. Yet it will never tell us why they must happen.
If all we are is material, atoms inadvertently coming together by nothing more than accident, then we are no better than inanimate objects. What good is a thought which we cannot help but think? But when we can judge, ah, our freedom becomes obvious. We can choose the right or the wrong, whether scientific or philosophic. We are more than muscle and sinew and electric reactions in the brain. We are human. And we can think for ourselves.
In that light, we find meaning. It is a much brighter light indeed.