But as I sat down tonight--my first night of leisure in what seems an eternity--I read something so entirely disturbing I had to rip myself away from the leisurely pursuit of reading other blogs to post about it. Mind you, you may think it not a big deal and actually kind of a bore, but as it's my blog, I think my concerns take a bit more precedence than yours. ;)
I think it important to "know thine enemy," as it were, and after spending about two hours reading those blogs I generally enjoy and agree with (when it comes to blogs of opinion and not just daily life), I like to take some time to see what all the fundies are up in arms about. What's getting their goat lately, what's eating their cheese, what's taking the "fun" out of "fundamentalism," so to speak.
I stopped at one web site I hardly ever check on anymore, mostly because I find it's authors so totally warped and wrapped up in the dogma as to make the Pharisees of Jesus' time look like kittens who hugged too much.
Their latest "comment-getter" can be surmised as such: Teaching evolution causes people to kill people. Creationism and Genesis are the only things that can save us from ourselves. Which, to say the least, is about as dogmatic and simple-minded as it gets. I said as much (putting it as nicely as I could), but then I felt the need to come back here and say my own piece. I'm sure the author's will follow back here (and perhaps be a bit dismayed to find I'm a bit harder on them over here than I was over there) but such is life. After all, if I can't please everyone, I may as well blog about it, yes?
What really got my goat (if we are so inclined to beat a metaphor like the proverbial horse in need of an undertaker) was the following statement from the article to which they were "discussing":
The president of Creation Worldview Ministries says decades of teaching "evolution only" in public schools and universities is partly responsible for crimes such as the mass shooting earlier this week in Virginia.As you can tell, this article (and most likely this blog post by them) is a bit dated, but nonetheless speaks to the dangerous mindset of fundamentalism.
Dr. Grady McMurtry [...] says, public schools and universities have taught the theory of evolution as fact, with no opposing viewpoints — and the result, he contends, is a lack of respect for human life.
Therefore, he asserts, people should not be surprised when mass shootings occur, such as the one on the Blacksburg university campus on Monday.
It's still a bunch of hogwash. Let me explain:
As I touched on in a few earlier posts (here, here, and here, just to name a few), teaching creationism as if it were a science, let alone pretending it's some semblance of a good argument, is one of the most immoral things fundamentalists have tried to do for years. Not that trying to claim humility and humbleness while claiming you are special enough to be worth the death of a god wasn't a bad enough irony-laden position, but now to actually try to spin your fairy tale as "science that will prevent murders"? It's like they are in a one-man race toward the bottom of what it means to be stupid while appearing to be smart--and failing miserably.
To begin with, evolution is not about us being "glorified animals." It is a theory (much like gravity and flight, which I'm sure will be the next bone of contention among fundamentalist circles) which explains, quite succinctly, adequately, and truthfully, about the diversity of life upon this, the third rock from the sun. It does not speak to humanities supposed "greatness," it does not dwell on our "superiority," and is not a driving philosophy to fill the empty hours when people who wish for something just a bit more than life itself say such boorish things as "Why am I here?" and "What is my purpose in life?" As if we all have the time to give you meaning and purpose. Get a life.
Second, if anything serves to drive down meaning and purpose (again, as if living life itself weren't wonderful enough), creationism teaches nothing more than that god was bored one day, just he and his other two supposed personalities in their timeless existence, and he decided to create mud that he could play with and bring to life. And not content just to play with that life, he pretended to kill one of his personalities for the sake of "buying back" the "souls" of his Ken and Barbie dolls so that he wouldn't have to place them in the trash compactor. Splendid. I feel full of fuzzy warms already. "You mean he loves me sooooo muuuuuuch that he'll burn me forever if I don't grovel at his feet and stroke his ego? Sign me up!" If that doesn't teach you that god thinks life is disposable, nothing will. He killed his kid (or, if you prefer, he allowed his son to commit suicide [how do the Catholics explain THAT one!]) for crying out loud! And we're supposed to think he holds our lives as sacred? Seriously?
Third: To teach that evolution is nothing more than a "guess" does a serious disservice to the science community, which has proven the usefulness of evolutionary sciences in the fields of biology and medicine to provide life-saving medications and treatments. Not only has evolutionary theory kept us thriving for the last hundred years (the turning point being the polio vaccine, in my opinion), it has actually allowed humanity to be a much greater moral species--it has allowed us, using our brains and our senses, to find new ways to help one another, to save one another, to make one another's lives better! Not just to survive, but to thrive! Where people use to just sit and pray and light candles, they can now be proactive and get medicine and therapy built on the very evolutionary sciences that fundamentalists are scoffing at! Where people use to blame god's wrath or anger, we can now prevent certain conditions, heal wounds, and even bring back from death those very same people that, just even fifty years ago, would have been proclaimed as having been "called home to heaven." And people thank god? Thank a scientist! Thank a doctor, a pharmacologist, a university professor, an inquisitive mind! Thank Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and a host of others disregarded, ridiculed, and sometimes banned and killed by the church for "witchcraft" and "blaspheme." These are the people, the pioneers, of today's life-saving medicines. (And if you think these forefathers to modern scientists are unrelated to this discussion, you are worse off than I even considered!)
When it comes right down to it, however, this is really a moot point, as science never has, and possibly never will, speak to the existence of imaginary beings outside of our realms of inquiry. Believe it or not, the purpose of science is not to "attack" Christianity any more than it's purpose is to prove that jelly is, in fact, butter. The purpose of science is to ask questions, provide answers, and then keep hammering and hammering and hammering at those answers. This is the very truth of the scientific method. To continually seek new data, see how it fits into what is previously known, and change what was thought to be known based on what is now known. Science is not static (much to the chagrin of many a fundie), as they are constantly revising and updating and finding new information. Every year, in fact, there are huge arguments within the scientific community as notions are challenged, ideas are placed on the table, new data is verified, tested, and re-examined by anyone who is anyone. It is because of this method, this very morally justifiable method, that most people are even around to argue the silliness of creationism as there are today. If not for the scientific method, 90 percent of us wouldn't be here today, including myself, because we all would have sat around, staring at each other, thinking god was angry and not being able to do anything about it except more staring and praying.
Believe what you wish--science ultimately doesn't care, mostly because what you believe has little to do with anything outside of your own head. But don't you dare claim that what you believe is justifiable as an alternative to facts. Because it isn't.
Ultimately, creationism (most fundamentalist positions, actually) is very self-serving and ultimately self-defeating. The more they try to "prove" creationism by cutting out everything that doesn't fit, and then claiming that left over 1 percent is "evidence," will eventually lead to (hopefully) the eye-opening reality check for the fairy tale that it is. What's truly sad is so many hold dogma and doctrine in much higher regard than their own world and lives, and so many of them (fundies) will continue to scream, stomp their feet, and demand that they, and only they, can have the answer because of an old Hebrew text told by word of mouth for thousands of years before finally being put on paper, during captivity by the Babylonian Empire, to be read for thousands more.
To summarize: To deny and prevent the use of the evolutionary sciences will harm humanity as a whole, not only knowledge-wise, but in the very scary realm of disease, pestilence, and death--a very immoral position which places humanity in jeopardy from future problems and issues relating to virus's, bacterium, and genetically destructive mutations. Therefore, if we reduce the ability of sciences to cure, prevent, or treat human causes of suffering over "theologically important" views, an immoral and deadly position has been staked. Ergo, to support evolutionary facts and discoveries, and opposing false sciences based on theological criteria, is the right and moral thing to do.
To quote a pretty well-known Latin proverb, "Unless what we do is useful, glory is vain." Indeed, creationism holds nothing useful, not even to Christians. It will only continue to erode the very "rock solid" foundation they claim to stand on. And while many modern Christians have indeed realized that science is not a threat to their belief (and in fact, many have revised their interpretations of scripture so that they are in fact quite complimentary), whenever something is viewed as "unchanging," it will always get left behind.
And until fundamentalists realize that evolutionary sciences aren't a life philosophy, and are in fact actual truths and laws, the sooner they can give up wasting time fighting it and spend more time loving their neighbors and worshiping their god(s). Anything more would be glory for glories sake, and vanity of the highest order. Anything less would be immoral.