How did life begin from a scientific perspective?I want to learn the difference between the religious and scientific view of how the world was created.

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is a considerable difference between the biblical account of the origin of the world and that of modern science. According to Genesis the world was created by God around six thousand years ago. According to modern science the universe began with the Big Bang around 13½ billion years ago. To describe what took place from the Big Bang up to now is beyond my capabilities, but I highly recommend one book which did that to my satisfaction. The book is The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, who is a biologist and a Darwinian. Without getting into a lot of heavy reading, you can spend many interesting hours watching documentaries on DVDs which cover the origin of the universe, the origin of the solar system and the earth, the origin of life on earth (about 3 ½ billion years ago, I think), and the evolution of life up to and including the origin of our homo sapiens species about 130,000 years ago. There is a big series about evolution. There are many documentaries about the universe, including one or two by Stephen Hawking. There are several good documentaries and docu-dramas about Charles Darwin. There are many different documentaries about the origins of mankind and our ancestors’ struggles to survive. And there is much more. Most of these documentaries are not only interesting and enlightening, but visually appealing. The documentaries about Darwin typically take you to the Galapagos Islands, where he began to formulate his theory about the origins of species through natural selection. You can probably borrow these DVDs from your library (as I have done). Libraries like to acquire scientific documentaries because they are educational, unlike a lot of the romance and shoot-em-up dramas that most people prefer.

You are to be congratulated on wanting to understand the difference between mythology and scientific knowledge. I can’t recommend anything more highly than Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene. He is a brilliant man who has the ability to discuss a complex subject in an unpretentious, lucid, and convincing way.