Saturday, June 16, 2012

What's the Matter With Creationism?

From The Nation, famed essayist Katha Pollitt opines on the intellectual affront that is creationism:

Why does it matter that almost half the country rejects the overwhelming evidence of evolution, with or without the hand of God? After all, Americans are famously ignorant of many things—like where Iran is or when World War II took place—and we are still here. One reason is that rejecting evolution expresses more than an inability to think critically; it relies on a fundamentally paranoid worldview. Think what the world would have to be like for evolution to be false. Almost every scientist on earth would have to be engaged in a fraud so complex and extensive it involved every field from archaeology, paleontology, geology and genetics to biology, chemistry and physics. And yet this massive concatenation of lies and delusion is so full of obvious holes that a pastor with a Bible-college degree or a homeschooling parent with no degree at all can see right through it. A flute discovered in southern Germany is 43,000 years old? Not bloody likely. It’s probably some old bone left over from an ancient barbecue.

More here.

I continue to not understand why it is so important for fundamentalist Christians to take on science in such a direct way. I mean, fine, believe that the world is five thousand years old if you must, but don't try to hoodwink yourselves and everybody else into thinking that your view is somehow scientifically valid. Really, it ought to be simple for these people. They believe that the Bible is the final authority on understanding the universe; science uses the scientific method in order to understand the physical universe. These are two mutually exclusive philosophies for determining the nature of reality. Don't be ashamed of your faith, but you make a fool of yourself entertaining the notion that faith is the same as observation, hypothesis, and experimentation. They're not, and it only makes sense that these two wildly different approaches would garner different results.

That is, one can be a creationist without shitting all over science and how it is perceived by the public. After all, scientists don't generally run around telling believers how to interpret the Bible. But that's what the creationists do with science, and because such attempts are so convoluted and absurd, they constantly paint themselves into a corner.

You know, the place where the kid with the dunce cap sits.