Have you ever been in a group conversation where everyone is of a single mind about just how much of an idiot some “other” person or group is? It’s usually a pretty good feeling – a group of people sharing a common gripe about some social pariah with outmoded thinking. Unless, of course, that social pariah with outmoded thinking … is you.
Maybe a year or so ago, I began noticing memes, articles, and the like popping on my social media feeds which seemed to be poking fun at Creationism. (For examples, search google images for “creationism”. Try not to double over laughing, I guess.) Then I realized that it wasn’t just poking fun. The articles and memes were sometimes mean, accusatory, and villifying.
According to what I was reading, and apparently agreed upon by many in my social networks, I was a backward thinking, science hating, idiot because I believe that the world was created.
Then “The Cruelty of Creationism” by Mark Joseph Stearn was published in the science section of Slate on February 10, 2014, and I wasn’t just stupid any longer. I was part of a “cult of creationism” that can’t help but to proselytize. What I believe is “fantasy” and my mind is imprisoned in a “dungeon” with a “suffocating and oppressive worldview”. If that weren’t enough, I’m not content to live in that “mental prison” alone. I am also “brainwashing” my son, forbidding any kind of intellectual inquiry, spurning logic and cognition and forcing upon him a life of “mindless piety”. My beliefs are “absurd” and “anti-human” and to hold them is to “reject… most of the Enlightenment and pretty much all intellectual development since.”
At this point, I know that anyone who knows me is absolutely shocked at just how well Mr. Stearn nailed me.
Look, I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t a long-running “Creationism vs. Evolution” battle going on out there. Both sides have said their share of unwarranted nastiness and neither truly has the moral highground. Mr. Stearn threw a set of wide-sweeping punches, without, it seems, dedicating even a moment to considering the existence of a Creationist other than the extreme caricature about whom he was driven to pen his warning. And I’m sure that some Creationist has likewise needlessly assailed another’s morality because of their acceptance of Evolution.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’m not saying that the debate shouldn’t continue. I actually think that there is value in competing theories that challenge us all to examine the origin of this planet and our own lives. But I also think that the debate has gotten out of hand. Perhaps it’s just a 30-something in the age of memes talking, but when did ad hominem arguments, no matter how expertly snarky, become persuasive?
As theories go, I don’t think that evolution is a bad one. I acknowledge that it does a pretty good job of explaining what we can see and what we know about our world.
But it’s not what I believe. Not because I think gravity is a hoax. Not because I failed biology. Not because I refuse to think independently and rationally for myself. But because the knowledge that I and everything around me was purposefully created out of love is central to my faith. The evidence that evolution interprets as support for a single, common point of origin, I interpret as support for a single, common originator. It’s like the signature of an artist or coder or writer that can be found in every piece, no matter how large or small.
And that’s not a basis upon which to ridicule me or anyone else.
Disagree with me? That’s cool. I will not take offense or call names as long as you agree to do the same. Now lets go grab a drink and laugh at those idiot
Republicans capitalists Michigan fans.