Monday, January 24, 2005

Further Thoughts on the Previous Post

Kathy the Cake Eater had a response to my previous post, which gave me the opportunity to expand a bit on my thinking. What follows is a variant on my comment at her blog.

I'm pretty neutral on the whole Creation v. Evolution debate. I promised myself long ago to never bring it up in an internet discussion. I'm a veteran of many and various message boards, and I know that evolution is one topic that causes otherwise normal people to lose all ability to engage in reasonable debate.

My objections to the articles I linked to in Time, The New York Times, and the Washington Post are not an objection to the theory of evolution being presented in the classroom. Rather, I object to the little freak-out they're having about those darned fundies and their backward beliefs.

You can see it clearly in the articles linked. They fall all over themselves to insist that "no one could possibly object to discussing the gaps in Darwin's theory" and then they proceed to object to them because (gasp!) those darned fundies are behind this stealth campaign to . . . what? To remind people that the theory of evolution is a theory? Well it is.

The Cobb County sticker had nothing to do with religion. It was an attempt at compromise. And yet to Judge Cooper the sticker is proof of creeping fundamentalism. In fact, any challenge to the Holy Writ of Evolution -- even a secular one -- suddenly becomes an argument for creationism, even in situations where creationism never enters the picture.

I agree that outside of evolution, there just aren't many other options for life's origins. But prior to Darwin, there weren't any options other than creationism. To shut the door on the subject and say that we only have two choices -- Evolution or Creationism -- and that to question one is to automatically support the other -- that kind of thinking is anti-science. True scientists will look at the gaps in the theories and question them. That's what Michael Behe did when he developed his Intelligent Design model, and for his trouble he was labeled a creationist, which he most certainly was not.

So what causes this fear? Why do otherwise smart people suddenly get stupid when it comes to evolution? Why do they object to calling evolution a "theory"? (The New York Times' point -- that we shouldn't call it a theory because people don't know the scientific meaning of "theory" -- is one of the most ridiculous arguments I've heard.)

My problem with the articles I linked to is not because I'm a creationist. My faith is based on the person of Jesus, not on whether the Genesis account is literal. My problem goes beyond the creation/evolution debate. The mainstream media is so freaked out by people of faith, that they feel it necessary to warn everyone that "The Fundies are Coming! The Fundies are Coming!"

I think this attitude is evident in this editorial that Sal at Stand Up and Walk linked to as well. The editorial by William Raspberry carries the provocative title "Religion vs. Unity" as if the two are mutually exclusive. The jist is that those darned Christians simply cannot compromise, and as a result will divide the country. (And it's all because they elected George Bush, of course.)

Is this the new McCarthyism? Do you now or have you ever believed in Jesus?


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