Evolution Before Darwin

1598 Words7 Pages
It is not an astounding observation to say that there exists (or existed at one point in time) thousands, possibly millions, of stories on Earth. Stories that our innocent young selves were subjected to in elementary school that have influenced the way we see ourselves and those around us, more so than we would like to admit. Stories that our parents have read to us late at night willing us with their words of cats in hats and cows jumping over the moon to shut our eyelids and drift off to sleep, and stories that come and visit us in our dreams, usually only for a moment, leaving behind traces of its scent the next morning. We are a species who thrive on this thing called 'story', much the same way a bee thrives on honey or a poet thrives on words. As we continue to generate new stories and, by doing so, generate new meanings of the world, it is hard not to feel as if one is sinking deep into a quicksand of life, unable to make sense of all the sense, mainly because there is too much it. Just when you think you're going to choke on all of the suffocating information regarding the origin of the world, of species, and of culture – too many stories – something clicks and you find yourself breathing fresh air once again. I stopped sinking once I learned not to fight against the sand, but instead, to become friends with it.

Much the same way Darwin based his theory of evolution on patterns that he had observed on the Galapagos Islands, I base the arguments presented in this paper on patterns that I have observed in ancient creation myths regarding the creation of the world. What once felt like a random bombardment of infinite stories, now feels like a handful of calculable stories told by an infinite number of story tellers. Darwin'...

... middle of paper ...

...but nonetheless alluring. However, for the sake of simplicity (and sanity) I find the cross-cultural exchange approach to be the more convincing.

Dennett argues that all achievements of the human culture, such as language, religion, and science, are themselves artifacts of the same fundamental process that developed bacteria. No meme is an island (Dennett, 144). And I agree wholeheartedly. No meme is died with its creator, but is modified and revised, and resurfaces now and again usually in the most unlikely of places.

Works Cited:

Dennett, Daniel C. Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Simon & Schuster, New York. 1995

Murtagh, Lindsey. Common Elements in Creation Myths. Available on-line at

http://www.cs.williams.edu/~lindsey/myths/myths.html. Visited on 3/17/2004

Sproul, Barbara C. Primal Myths: Creating the World. Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., USA. 1979
Open Document