Last week Tom Ashbrook’s On Point* devoted a fascinating hour to Time Travel with guest James Gleick. You think you know what time is, until you really think about it. A good way to define it is “man’s measurement of eternity”. Somebody else declared “Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from all happening at once”. Or, let me ask you, when is “Now”? Perhaps you just smiled and thought out loud “This is Now!” The problem though, is as soon as you’ve said it, that was then and this is now.
Modern science does not exactly believe in time travel, but neither can they completely rule it out. One of two conditions is the likely reality with respect to time. Condition 1 is that while the past is gone, our actions impact the future as it is yet to happen. Condition 2 is that time is a block simultaneously containing the past, the present, and the future and we pass through this to our inevitable fates. Time travel could not be possible in Condition 1, but might be in 2.
The presence of a higher being further complicates things for true believers: does God travel along with us as we exercise free will, or is She capable of seeing or even being in the past and future at once?
As a kid, maybe 9 or 10, I struggled to reconcile the first page of Genesis with the science Mr. Wizard taught me to love. Eventually I seized upon my own theory: God’s days are much longer than those of men. If so, maybe he’s still resting on this, his 7th day. This might go far toward explaining man’s long history of cruelty to other men without noticeable interference from above.
This summer we spotted several billboards about The Creation Museum, which is near Cincinnati. They are eye-catching, showing pterodactyls flying over curious children, or a T-Rex eating leaves (without even a possum in them). I wanted to see it, but we ran out of time and it wasn’t exactly on our route. The Google found their website faster than you can say “this is now”. It’s $40 a head. I would not have paid that. But I did read about it. It is a museum dedicated to the science of Creationism, that is, the literal interpretation of Genesis. Creationists put the age of the earth and all the stars at about 6,000 years. The earth was made to look much older than it really is, for reasons unknown.
I know the world is run by C students, but Creationism won’t get you into Harvard, or earn you a science degree even from the U of Louisiana – Monroe. Critics have observed that this museum is actually a mega-church amusement park. Even so, they sell a lot of tickets, and reportedly people come out marveling at science for the very first time. A Gallup poll taken in 2014 discovered that 42% of Americans believe in the Creationist view of human origins. A Pew poll said many of the rest believe in some form and degree of evolution. I believe I’ll have a drink.
(*) http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510053/on-point-with-tom-ashbrook (Thanks to reader K. D.!)