On matters of faith

Morning storm clouds. The light bit at edges, accentuating the few colors that poked through the gray dawn gloom. A brisk wind swirled from the northwest, a breeze out of Chocolat.

A cherry tree dumped its blossoms like a snow squall, surrounding me with impossible pink light. The heavy rain drops followed seconds later, soaking the pink petals so thick they hid the grass.

Even in the middle of it, I try to remember, and I cannot. Remembering anything other than those things that will keep us alive is a human conceit. Turns out I'm human.

Change is coming. As it has. As it will.


I am teaching about evolution, descent with modification. It is going better than most years have.

I spent a few moments talking about Charles Lyell and the concept of uniformitarianism, the idea that whatever natural laws apply here, today, apply anywhere and anytime. I dropped a small chunk of wood as I spoke. It fell each time, as expected, landing loudly on the desk.

This is where science relies on faith.

And it does. The kids relax just a tad. All year long I've assured them that we know less than we think, that the world is a wonderful place despite this, and that science requires, at a very basic level, faith.

Not the kind of faith many of them have been taught, but faith nonetheless. 8 months after we first met each other, things are starting to fall into place.

Of course the piece of wood will fall, each and every time, and we know this only because it always has. This may seem trivial, but it's the soul of reality, whatever "reality" means.

Were humans as inevitable as the fall of the block of wood I dropped over and over again? I leave it to the students to ponder. I'm not particularly interested in the question--we're here, and that's enough for me.

But they are, which is why I pose it. Their universe swirl around each of their own existences, and I just called it into question.

It's my hope that by June, they will know as little as I do.

Decision time....

Blog Archive