We could not expect Moses or other biblical figures to see the universe the same way we do today, The Rev. Michael Dowd, a guest speaker, told about 45 gathered Thursday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durango.
Scientific discoveries, and the invention of the microscope and telescope, have altered the way humans perceive the world.
Weve only known about plate tectonics since 1964, said Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution. The Apostle Paul didnt know anything about this.
Dowd has spent the last nine years as an itinerant cosmologist, talking about his journey from substance abuse to fundamentalist Christian pastor to his discovery of the Gospel According to Science. Thursday marked his third Durango appearance in as many years.
Evidential reality transcends belief or disbelief, he said. God is reality personified. To think of him as a person diminishes his divinity.
His talk was sprinkled with quotes by everyone from science fiction writer Philip K. Dick Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it doesnt go away and Microsoft founder Bill Gates to the Apostle Paul and scientists such as Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman.
Carl Sagan said that science, at least in part, is informed worship, he said. Facts are Gods native tongue.
Another thing we need to understand is that we have instincts, just as all animals do. Disregarding their influence can lead to major behavioral problems.
Lets talk about stress eating, he said. Youve had a hard day, and you open the freezer and take out the ice cream. Hmm, no bowl needed, you think. In humanitys early days, when we were stressed out, we would eat because we might need those calories to survive. Were still eating when were stressed today, even though those extra calories are actually harming us.
Understanding why humans overeat when given access to sugar, salt and fat, foodstuffs that used to be rare and now make up a large portion of our food, may help people stop overeating.
I call that mismatched instincts surrounded by supernormal stimuli, he said. Our deepest instincts are to eat, survive, reproduce.
Add the instinct to eat and survive to a world full of refined, processed foods the supernormal stimuli and you get the obesity problem of today, Dowd said. Refined drugs, liquor, Internet porn and a number of todays addictions can also be traced to these supernormal stimuli.
Understanding this might help us show more compassion and care for each other and ourselves, he said.
The Apostle Paul didnt understand the biology, Dowd said, but he understood the conflict between our beliefs and our actions. He wrote about it in Romans 7:15-25. I am a slave to sin ...
Dowd thinks its important for young people, whose brains dont develop the center for good judgment until their mid-20s, to understand this conflict.
Sending our teenagers out into the world without an understanding of mismatched instincts surrounded by supernormal stimuli, Dowd said, is like sending out teenagers 20,000 years ago and not telling them anything about sabertooth cats.