Where did mankind come from? Where is it going?
These two intriguing questions are the central points discussed in a new book entitled “Origin”, which is the latest novel by New York Times best-selling author Dan Brown.
The main character in the book didn’t believe Bible’s declaration in Genesis that God created everything in six days. This will likely provoke the Catholic Church into prohibiting the faithful from reading this latest magnum opus of Dan Brown. Several years ago, the Church imposed such ban on Brown’s book, “Da Vinci Code.”
Three other books authored by Brown – “Angels and Demons”, “Lost Symbols,” and “Inferno” – had also raised questions over the creationist theory and exposed alleged corruption in the Catholic Church.
Although I like to consider myself as a devout Catholic, I did not heed the Church’s advice on Brown’s books. I have just read “Origin.” I read “Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons” a few years ago.
The ban was imposed because of fear that by reading the books, Catholics may lose or weaken their faith. In my case, though, despite my reading three of Brown’s books, I still maintain a strong faith in God because I don’t forget even for a second that the books are fiction, and the ideas, arguments, hypotheses and notions expressed therein are just products of the author’s fertile imagination.
I admit, though, that some points in Brown’s books have factual basis. For example, in “Origin,” in answering the question “where is the human species going,” Brown postulates that in the not-so-distant-future, man will no longer be 100 percent human as some of our vital organs will be aided by machines to make them function well.
With the amazing progress in nanotechnology, microscopic cameras can be injected into the body, and as the blood circulates, the tiny cameras can take photos of defective organs. Examining the photos, a doctor can make an accurate diagnosis of the patient.
Microchips can also be implanted in the brain to enhance memory and improve cognition. Two persons with the same kind of microchips in their brain would know what is on the mind of each other even if they are not talking to each other.
Brown noted that in the last four or five decades, technology has advanced at a dizzying speed, and as a result, what were impossible years ago are now possible. He foresees that with the great advances in computer science, man will create a robot with high artificial intelligence that can think and act like a wise person.
In “Origin,” atheist Edmond Kirsch, the main character, is a topnotch scientist who invented “Winston,” a supercomputer that can answer difficult mathematical questions instantly, can create contingency plans, can make suggestions, can talk (with a British accent) to anyone in various languages, can serve as a docent at a museum, can transfer money from one bank to another, etc.
Fast-forward to 2068: Man will be part human and part machine.
On the question where did humans come from, Kirsch embraced the evolution theory of Charles Darwin who had postulated that the human species evolved from a single cell to ape, to human erectos.
But where did this single cell come from? Darwin theorized that the first single cell came into existence as a result of chemical reactions in what he called “primordial soup.” Bombarded by constant lightning, the chemicals gradually produced the single cell in the course of hundreds of thousands of years.
Primordial soup? It seems similar to the scenario described in Genesis before God commanded, “Let there be light…”
The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. He said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
After God created fish, birds and animals, He created “mankind in his own image…” It took God six days to create everything.
But Darwin would like us to believe that mankind came about after “ages of ages” of evolution.
In “Origin,” Dan Brown warned us about a machine-dominated world. If a machine with high artificial intelligence wants to eliminate a man for one reason or another, it would do so without hesitation because it has no heart, and as such it is incapable of human emotions.
In the end, “Winston” plotted and carried out the murder of Edmond Kirsch, its own creator. It thought the killing of Kirsch is good for Kirsch himself.