Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Wonders of Life (BBC): a personal perspective


Earth rise as seen from Apollo 8
In my post Professor Cox’s limited world view I criticised the first episode of the BBC series Wonders of Life for presenting what I can only conclude was Cox’s world view, one of philosophical materialism (a form of atheism) as science. To avoid irritating people like me, who think they are more than a bag of chemicals, all he had to do was admit that the present neo-Darwinist view of evolution is not the only attempt to explain the reality of which we are part and that it is full of holes and contradictions.


Happily for me and I believe many others,  the subsequent 4 episodes did not try to move us in this direction, although uncomfortable subjects like cosmic fine tuning and epigenetics in evolution  (see this youtube video) were conveniently ignored.

In the last episode he finished up with a recording of an Apollo 8 astronaut reading from the book of Genesis as the spacecraft circled the Moon in 1968. I remember witnessing this on TV as an agnostic in my early adulthood and feeling there was something moving about the whole situation. Inability to understand the Holy Bible without invoking God's help prevented me from becoming a confirmed Christian until only 3 years ago but, looking back, the Apollo 8 event certainly gave me a push in the right direction.

Another push came in 1975 as I was flying back to England after visiting my brother in San Francisco. A delicately structured wisp of cloud was caught by the rising sun and it stirred up an epiphany, a feeling that this moment was charged with significance. Some intelligence had conspired to give me this experience at this time and it had to be God.



The third push was a book I read in 1992. It was one purporting to be on evolutionary science and I was particularly interested to obtain a clear explanation of how new species appear in nature. Instead I got an assertion that this simply happened under certain conditions and had something to do with genetic mutations. The main point was a diatribe on the pointlessness of existence. This seemed totally fallacious and I knew it could not be true. (The book was River Out of Eden by Richard Dawkins.)


 It still took another 25 years of reflection and historical probing, a touch of mysticism and the discovery of how to approach prayer and the reading of the Bible, to get me into a church. It was a long hard road but I thank God for both the destination and the journey.


Author 2077 AD
Reach me at