I was recently snorkeling off an island in the Caribbean sea, Curacao, and I saw a flatfish. I was excited because I had read about this evolutionary marvel over at Pharyngula. The flatfish is extremely well camouflaged and I only saw it because it was swimming. When it stops swimming if you take your eye off of it for more than a few seconds you will lose sight of it. The flatfish is a great example of the novelty, beauty and intricacy of the evolutionary process. To see the fish body form adapt in such an interesting way is beautiful. The flatfish has both eyes on one side of the body, the top, the interesting part is the top of his body is actually one side of his body. So one eye migrates over the symmetrical center of the body to the other side during the development of the juvenile flatfish.
I shared my story of the encounter with the flatfish with a local friend of mine and he told me that in Papiamentu, the local language of the island, the term for the flatfish meant "God's Trash". I forget the actual local word but I remember the meaning.
Recently, one of my debate strategies when discussing religion is to highlight what I perceive as a major difference in world view between atheists and theists. When someone or a culture has a belief in a Creator God who can create and destroy the Earth at his will then the Earth is not precious. Something that is truly precious, if lost, cannot be replaced. However, if there is no God then the Earth is precious! If we allowed the Earth to be destroyed we will have lost the one unique place in the universe that is ideally suited for our form of life. Atheism makes me an Environmentalist! It makes me care for the Earth in a much more profound way than Creationism ever could!
My story above highlights how a culture that is heavily influenced by religion can have it's thinking altered to the point where a life form, such as the flatfish, can be viewed as God's Trash. An organism that is viewed as out of favor with God. From my perspective I don't understand why God would create trash? Moreover, if God can create trash then he can clean it up and many religious people feel that we can pollute the Earth because God will clean up the mess since God will protect us. This is the view of Evangelical Christians, many of whom believe End Days will come in their lifetime.
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