bible, evolution, fundamentalism, God, intelligent design, literalism, psychology, young earth creationists
I frankly thought I had come to the conclusion that I was done with the evolution debate. Done with it because those that espouse it are largely unmoveable and reject every proof offered them.
They do this not out of stupidity ( though undoubtedly some are just that intellectually compromised) or blatant contrariness, but out of a deep psychological need.
I was over at Fran I Am‘s blog today, and found she had written about the Dover trial on intelligent design.
Oddly enough, I had been thinking about the entire subject the evening before. And well, it’s that serendipity kind of thing. You figure, God is perhaps nudging you to get back into the subject again.
I used to spend hours debating this on forums. And as I said, it falls on deaf ears for the most part, because I’m arguing facts and logic and they are arguing faith and psychopathology. Unknowingly on the last aspect of course. It gets beyond frustrating to be sure. You present hard solid evidence backed by the best scientific minds and organizations in the world, only to be met by somebody’s website/blog, written by some electrical engineer, who knows from his “scientific” training that it’s all bunk.
I finally got thoroughly tired of the entire business. Yet, somehow I found myself back in the subject once more, thinking. Odd isn’t it that something suddenly becomes obvious after leaving it alone for a few months. Let me explain.
I got to thinking, well, exactly how do these folks come to this weird conclusion? I just didn’t buy that people start from “The bible must be taken literally” and then search for anti-evolution websites. Most people aren’t that interested first of all. No I’m convinced that they accept evolution, without much thought at all, from what they got in high school, and then a conversation with a anti-evolutionist friend or pastor occurs.
They make some inane remark, and the anti-evolutionist (AE) recoils in horror, and sets about the business of setting them straight. Straight includes the false claim that either evolution is true, or the bible, not both. The AE suggests a website, or a book, and well, that’s the ball game. To the average person unskilled in science, the anti-science sounds perfectly correct and rational. Once there, they stay. After all, they are on God’s side of this, and that side has now been determined.
As I have said repeatedly here, the mind that requires evolution to be false because the bible must be true, and very literally so, is the mind that is in deep fear. It is a mind that has recoiled from the precipice of uncertainty in the world and has found sanctuary in believing that a book provides all the answers and more importantly, perfect salvation if adhered to in all its particulars. Of course, the big chink in this armor is INTERPRETATION, but we won’t go there today.
No, today I am interested in another phenomenon, related to this whole screwy mind set. Now a goodly number of AE’s are also YEC (Young Earth Creationists). That means they also hold as true that the earth was literally created in six days, and is some six thousand and some odd years old. That I would content is a logical coupling. What is not logical, I have come to realize is to hold that the earth is not young, but rather more likely what geologists and other scientists say, something to the tune of 4 billions of years old, but that evolution is a lie. That doesn’t compute.
Many of the AE’s like to proudly tell you that they don’t believe in YEC. They want to prove their intellectual balls by telling you that, the evidence is compelling for an old earth. This works okay with literalism because “for God a thousand years is as a day.” Get it? Well that sounds okay, but hey, think a bit more about that.
If God created the earth 4 billion years ago, what’s been going on here all these years? We have fossil records showing layers of ever more complicated life. Okay, so God created all those simple animals and such, and then let them go extinct? Then he did it again, and again, and again. Then he created dinosaurs. Got bored? Let them go extinct? Let that comet hit? Finally got around to humans? Perhaps he was busy elsewhere, creating you know. Perhaps God can’t multitask.
I mean, this means that God has played around with this planet for most of its existence before deciding to create human beings. What was the delay for? The YEC’ers don’t have this problem. God created it all at once, dinosaurs walked with man. Some go the distance and posit that God is a tricky son of a gun. He deliberately saturated the planet with evidence of old earth and old fossils. Those who can’t keep the faith in the book and believe what their working brains suggest, well, damned they are.
I like the second explanation better, its way more dramatic. It works as well as that old adage we have heard from the fundie right for years: “God works in mysterious ways” and “we’ll understand it all when we reach heaven.”
Sarah Palin is of the first version. She talks of folks finding human footprints next to the dinosaur footprints. They were buds you know, like the Flintstones and their pet Dino. Come to think of it, that may be where Sarah learned it in the first place.
I’m still not very sure I want to re-engage in the debate. It still won’t get very far I’m convinced. The same people, confronted with the illogic of not being a YEC and yet being a AE, will blink, unable to fathom the distinction, and will ignore what you say anyway.
Meanwhile 50% of America professes that evolution is questionable or dead wrong. The rest of the world scratches it head and wonders, “do they have actual schools in America any more?,” and I continue to want to throttle smarmy and arrogant fools who tell me “there are no transitional fossils.” I suspect it’s better to rant here and stick around people who have common sense, and the ability to follow a simple series of posits to a rational conclusion.
No, it isn’t worth the arguing. I used to debate till i was blue in the face with a work friend who was a fundamentalist Christian, and she did not deviate from her stance. Her church even gave out pamphlets telling its members how to talk to people who believe in evolution and what to say to try to convince them otherwise. They are brainwashed. And yes, it is a very secure feeling if you believe if you follow all the rules and have “faith” then you will be saved from eternal death and damnation.
It’s kind of like health nuts who think if they do everything right healthwise that they will live to a very ripe old age. Then they get hit by a bus or, like a friend of mine, get a brain tumor at age 36. Sometimes people just have to learn that some things are out of their control. Including life after death.
Randal Graves said:
I will say that having a pet dinosaur would be cool, especially if it was a T. Rex I could train to do my unholy bidding.
Maui, pretty much what I have concluded. They are flat deluded and are determined to remain that way. I hate though what they do to our science teaching in schools. We must remain vigilant on that point.
Randal, I figured you’d be all for having a T Rex for a pet. But don’t forget the adage: Don’t bite the hand that feeds ya. I figure you might have some trouble convincing Dino to obey, they tend to bite first, and ask questions later.
I am soooooo amazed by the picture of Randal that you have uncoverd! Obviously the missing link has been uncovered…….. residing in Cleveland,playing death metal and waxing poetic……
So well written Sherry. Thanks! I get frustrated with anyone who takes the writings of scripture literally. They ignore seeing the way the texts came to be written over time, and how. Not only is it difficult to talk with people about evolution — try talking to them about the “evolution” of their sacred writings!
Only the USA in the world has many thinking in non-evolution, recent creation because of Fundamentalists who (1) ignore science and (2) believe everything in the Bible needs to be believed literally.
Both are incredibly false. The next time anyone says the Earth was created in six actual days, ask them how there could have been days before the Sun and stars were created. And even early Christians knew that much of Bible writing is Figurative, To Teach. I asked a Professor of a Vatican Seminary a few years ago why the Old Testament speaks of God Killing everyone in One Village, or all children in another. He stated that That was the way things were Written, Culturally, over 2000 years ago.
Am Catholic, and have much Science background. The Church teaches evolution, and has been The Leader in establishing Science in the Western World, Centuries ago. And it turns out that Science Proves Theologic history as well as Theology filling in the blank spots in science. The false hype that Science and Religion contradict themselves began with One Book, Over a Century ago.
The Universe is evolving. Everything Physical is. Not enough know that The Big Bang Theory has been Proven during last few decades. The Discoverer of The Big Bang was early 20th Century Belgian Priest/Scientist Fr/Dr Georges LeMaitre: From ‘something smaller than an atom’ about 18 Billion Years ago ‘exploded’ the entire Universe of Billions of Stars, millions of Galaxies, AND the Laws of Mathematics, Gravity, Electric Charges, Nature, everything. Obviously, Only The Mastermind could create Everything from Nothing. Subatomic Particle is Best Science can do with Everything from Nothing.
Physical Laws don’t change, but everything Physical does change, evolve.
Search ‘Big Bang Theory’. Albert Einstein recognized Fr/Dr LeMaitre as a Brilliant Genius Scientist, considering him as Peer Level.
One may also Search the Science Only site for The Shroud of Turin: In the last 8 years, Scientists have Proven and Published that The Shroud Is the 100% Authentic (Impossible to Duplicate by man) (Photo) Negative, Generated by some form of ‘Energy rays’ from Within the Corps of The Lord Jesus. Is No Paint on it; the radiational Negative Is From the Innermost Body of Obviously The Lord. The ’14th Century’ testing cloth were the patches, and/or the chemically altering the Cloth affected by bacteria and viri (The Environment). The Cloth weave itself Is an expensive rare First Century Syrian Weave.
Science also established that we descended from Apes, not monkeys. Breaks my heart: Apes are too Serious; Monkey, Especially Chimps are great Jokers, with great sense of Humor.
It was Albert Einstein who observed that one can not understand either Science or Religion without knowing the Other. They Complement each other, complete the picture for understanding each, both.
Long live us Monkey descendants; Apes have No Humor or Life. Ask any Ape! Guess how a Monkey would respond to Our Origin! BIG JOKE!
It is tempting to reach out and dialogue with the stubborn, but it is futile, Sherry. Trust me. 😉
Belief in the Bible— or any sacred book— as inerrant truth, is a human fetish. And a doctrinal fetish will lead people to betray themselves into the clutches of ignorance, bigotry, fanaticism, superstition, intolerance, and the most atrocious of barbarous cruelties.
This truth is often complicated by that religious faith which can, and does find the God of certitude, but is mistakenly attributed to a book.
God is the source of all things and beings; God is the first truth and the last fact; thus he must also be the source of all true scientific fact. Evolution will eventually be understood as a divine technique of creation.
Belief in the Bible as Innerrant truth, Sola Scriptura, is innerantly false. Nowhere does God say He is giving us a Book; nor is that written anywhere.
However, The Greatest Wisdoms in History have been in Great Books. Unquestionably, the greatest in History is the Bible; the most widelly read book/writing/publication in world History.
It has the great Philosphical, Ethical, Moral statements, teachings of all time. All evils, Crimes are generically included in the Ten Commandments, including Perjury.
And a majority of the world do think there is Essential, Basic Truth and morality. All recognize theft, rape, etc. I don’t mean to be religious, but can’t hide reality. The Bible clearly states Where “The Truth” Is: 1 Timothy 3:15: In the Apostles, in the New Church. The Catholic Church is now about 67% of all 2 Billion Christians. Eastern, Orthodox and Roman. All have the same basic Dogmas and Essential Beliefs since the First Century. And we teach respect for Every Human, Including the handicapped. War is Always wrong, as John Paul II said a few days before his Death. Fair Pay for work, helping those in need to better themselves, etc.
Religions are often Misused, Twisted by some for their own secular reasons: Like start or initiate or conduct wars. The Irish Rebellion was not between Religions, but groups/’tribes’ Using religion as identifier labels. Similar for all ‘religious wars’. there is a major book out a few years ago called Us and Them, with a Studied examination of forces in society ‘tribalizing’ groups for specific reasons, including war. High School identity against other High Schools is a great example.
Wow, Sherry, you (and those above) do such a fine job of shading these Dark Agers, there’s nothing to add about their lunatic embrace of ignorance. But as a reformed Fundie, maybe I can add a couple to nuggets to an already rich discussion.
Yes, a lot of Fundamentalists swallow their preachers’ AE propaganda hook, line, and sinker–never stopping to consider they’re being baited by creationism as a doctrine solely to wedge them further to the Right, much like they’re fed a lot of fear about banning the death penalty, supporting gay rights, denying Israel carte blanche (despite anti-Muslim undertones), etc. But there are also plenty of Fundies–the smarter, more faith-secure ones–who glide right by such lures without biting. For them, such topics fall outside their purview; these are issues only God understands well enough to judge. When these topics come up, that’s pretty much all they’ll have to say. And ironically it’s because they’re convinced every word in the Bible is true and meant to be taken literally.
They won’t commit to a 6-day creation cycle because Moses–who wrote it up that way–also says a millennium and a day are no different in God’s eyes. (Psalm 90.4) And Peter, whom Jesus handpicked to found His church, makes a point of quoting Moses and, to cover all the bases, sneaks in a “vice-versa.” (2 Peter 3.8) So insisting on 6 days ignores the very real possibility Moses means thousands of years.
They’ll also be the first to concede Moses isn’t the most reliable teller of time anyway. After clocking various life spans at a century or better (including his own at 120), he also writes in Psalm 90 that we can expect to live 70 years–80 if we’re strong enough to last.
For these well-studied Fundies, Moses’s inconsistencies aren’t an impetus to swap Genesis for The Origin of the Species, though. All it means to them is that how we came to be and how long we’ve been around can’t be confirmed. And since it’s impossible to know for sure, it’s also impossible to rule out Darwin’s Theory with 100% confidence, if for no other reason nothing is impossible for God. If He did it in 6 days or as Darwin proposed, either way (or another one altogether) that’s how it got done and there’s no point arguing about something we’re not sure of, when there’s plenty as it is to get wrapped up in things we’ll never know for certain. So their take is it’s best to leave such brewed-up controversies alone and focus on incontrovertible passages. Same goes for the AEC approach. Moses’s omission of any suggestion that the World sat dormant for thousands of years doesn’t rule out the possibility. But neither does Scripture confirm it. When wise, well-read Fundies start noticing inconsistencies they end up seeing a big “Keep Out” sign on any door that might lead to them to error, then to sin, and then to Hell. Knowing God made us is more than enough, a concept we can only accept by faith. And since it’s impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11.6) doubting one theory over another doesn’t prove anything except it displeases God because it shows poor faith. Same goes for the dinosaur dust-up. Ms. Palen and her ilk only prove they need to spend less-to-no time on matters they can neither confirm or refute and throw all their energy behind doing everything the Bible teaches is right instead of flirting with ideas that may not be right.
Just my two cents. I hope it makes sense.
Thanks, Tim. You prove the old adage that thinking works.
Thanks Sailka and Tim, both of you have added a lot to my understanding.
What is amazing to me is that this stuff is essentially a non issue in Europe. Yet Darwin was the call to the fundamentalist right to begin the scare pogrom. It’s so useless a debate, and causes so much wasted time on an issue that is really non-existent.
ROFL Jim. I knew you would recognize Randal!
Kedda, I agree, and worse yet, they try to prove the truth of scripture by citing it. I don’t understand why anyone doesn’t understand the circularity of that!
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone, but we, and all life, are evolved from the Sea, forms of Algea. The salt content of our blood is the same as Salt Water. And my personal DNA prove am most closelly related to Chimpanzees! We got a LIFE. And we FUN EE (or try to be 🙂
Late to this – I will simply say as always, you write so beautifully and with such great passion.
That we are compelled to discuss this does say something, doesn’t it???