Monday, December 15, 2014

David Christian: The history of the world in 18 minutes

Actually, this is more like the history of our universe in 18 minutes. Fascinating, isn't it?

David Christian is the creator of the "Big History" project, currently being adapted for use in American high schools. (My thanks to Jim Harris for the link.)

I haven't watched the Big History videos - just not enough time for everything - but this video is thought-provoking, isn't it? With a vast universe and an inconceivable length of time, rare events can happen. To us, they might seem magical, but that's because our own experience is very limited in time and space.

If an omniscient, omnipotent god created everything, that amount of time and space would be completely unnecessary (not to mention that, if a universe requires a creator, so does the creator - but that's a different issue).

All of life on Earth is equivalent to the scum on one grain of sand in the largest desert you can imagine. That desert wasn't created for the microbes living in the scum. That would be ridiculous. Those microbes might think so, if they could think at all, but there's no way in hell that would be "intelligent design."

No, the vast size of the universe - in both space and time - explains how exceedingly rare events can happen naturally - occasionally, somewhere. That length of time and that amount of space is hard for human beings to grasp, since it's so outside the reality of our ordinary lives. But it's still true.

When primitive human beings were imagining explanations for the questions they had about the universe, this wasn't the explanation they came up with. No, that has taken science. Sadly, plenty of people still prefer the myths they were taught from infancy.

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