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Well, friends, I just read a site that walks one through the new $27 million Creation Museum. It looks incredibly fancy. But, really, come on. Are there many museums out there based so much on ignorance and blindness?

This museum has every right to exist, of course. We all have the right to say what we want. But here’s a good question posed by The New York Times :

Given the museum’s unwavering insistence on belief in the literal truth of biblical accounts, it is strange that so much energy is put into demonstrating their scientific coherence with discussions of erosion or interstellar space. Are such justifications required to convince the skeptical or reassure the believer?

I just got done reading Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, and the details the poor guy has to slog through to disprove—er, sorry, counter—religion are tiring and incredibly painful. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good read, but the fact that it had to be written at all is what’s so unfortunate. To have to argue against something so silly seems a waste of time.

Making things even sillier, here now are the creationists, once again altering their interpretations of the Bible and science to, among other amusing concoctions, include the dinosaurs in a 6,000-year Christian time line. The Creation Museum literally puts the dinosaurs with Adam and Eve. “Adam and apes share the same birthday. The first man walked with dinosaurs and named them all! God’s Word is true, or evolution is true. No millions of years. There’s no room for compromise.

Belligerent religion has become something of a nuisance in America lately, especially since the election of Bushy baby and that thing on 9/11. I think what’s happening now is a last, desperate grasp to hold on to something that, in today’s light, is so ridiculous and still unproven. Moderate religious people can hold onto science and still make room for their belief in God, but the flailing, glassy-eyed, bad-haired Christian extremists who do what they can to hold onto their moldy Bible and its antiquated teachings are running out of room to wiggle.

Let’s walk down a quick path through the past. Just for a moment.

We are back in the mists of ancient time, and humans are fairly ignorant about a great many things in this universe. There is no direct evidence of how the Earth and humans came about, so why not come up with something? Human invention fills in the gaps where our knowledge is lacking.

Christianity and the other one-god beliefs become an inevitable later chapter in the evolution (yes, evolution) of religions. So you have your one god, and he created the entire universe and, while you are making up the story, he created mankind in his image. Fine. Evidence of your god’s divine skills in creation are everywhere. How else to explain the caterpillar who so magically and inexplicably turns itself into a butterfly!

As you marvel at the creation all around you, this little mammal of a thing called science emerges. It’s timid and unsure at first, but within a certain amount of time, it can show how the caterpillar turns into a butterfly. No problem for you, however! It simply underscores the wonder of your god’s skill and imagination.

The world is filled with tiny mysteries that, as science grows, become less mysterious. Still glorious, perhaps, but not mysterious. Yet, still, it is very easy to keep an unwavering faith in your god because, you see, each little step shows his brilliance.

Science, however, grows exponentially, making incredible strides. It builds upon itself, each discovery being made upon the foundation of others. It is self-healing, evolving (yes!), and changing as observable states become more entrenched in its volumes of fact. With the smaller mysteries solved, the larger ones come next, and then the larger ones, and the larger ones…

And suddenly, boom. You find yourself in an age where many of those gigantic, unsolvable questions of the universe that your religion was created to answer begin to unravel under the gaze of science. It is proven (not suggested, but proven) that the Earth is much, much older than that clever book of yours suggests. The evolution of creatures on Earth has been discovered, and fossils demonstrate that it’s been going on a long time. More and more of your book is shown to be lacking in support of what others have observed.

At this point, the moderate religious person begins to simply accept most of the truths of science, writing your book off as allegory or symbolism. But because the existence of god himself is, by intelligent human design, impossible to prove or disprove, they can still take comfort in knowing that he still had a hand in all this.

Oh, but this will not do for you! Oh, my, no! You hug close the wisdom of your book, and believe in it with all your heart and head. As the “facts” in your book slough off into the trough of fiction, you can no longer simply do what the weak-faithed moderates do. No. The only thing left for you is denial. Deception. Acceptance of the fanciful and preposterous. The caterpillar is now the entire universe itself, and as science drills deeper into the truths of this universe, further expanding the borders of concepts the human mind can grasp, you have only one choice. Lie to yourself. Oh, and lie to others. Die a revered modern missionary.

That’s where we are now, back in the present.

There will forever be humans who believe in a god of some kind, and the concept is malleable, changeable, and adaptable—traits that will assure that the evolution of religion continues without dying. Unlike the evolution of science, which expands and improves as it builds upon itself, Christianity (and other religions, too, I suppose) stays the same as it folds in on itself, changing only as much as its narrow rules allow. It becomes inbred.

The fundamentalists, being deniers of evolution and, as time marches on, actual observable fact, have to fight. Their brand of belief is dying, and they are doing what all dying things do: struggle.

During this struggle, the rules of common sense are going wayside. Any tactic will be acceptable: lying, misquoting, ignoring pieces of arguments, and enthusiastically supporting only those tidbits of the world of science that fit into the biblical world view.

The Creation Museum is bold. Daring. That it can put the unsupported and unprovable “facts” from the Bible next to scientific “lies” that have been unquestionably proven and re-proven again and again is ballsy. It fits right in with the Intelligent Design crusade to get creationism taught in public schools. It’s all bullshit, but boy, is it marketed well.

Thousands of years of Christianity can not so easily be wiped away. The branches of Christianity that will not stray from the old ways are going to die and fade. But like an exploding star, the fundamentalists will make a big noise, engulfing new minds and capturing needy hearts, before ultimately fading away into the fringe.


Robb Expounded Thusly:

I was going to blog about this as well, but…well…I had other things to do. But this whole story really bugs the hell out of me.

I can’t stand Kent Hovind. What an idiot. But at least he’s being true to his “faith.” I don’t understand moderate Christians (or moderates of any religion). Is the Bible the literal word of God or not? It says it is. If you think that some of it is not literal but rather just anecdotal, then why bother with the idea that it’s divine at all? And if the bible is not divine, why bother with it really at all other than on the superficial bible-as-literature level? Plus, if the book is not the literal word of God and just some stuff that a bunch of guys wrote a long time ago, why put so much stock in its contents?

Oh, I just don’t get it.

Friday, June 1st, 2007 • 8:05am • Permalink

Robb Expounded Thusly:

Okay, one more thing. Why the hell do creationists try to use science to discredit evolution? Why do they put stock in some science but not other science? “Scientists are right about cell structure and genetic mapping, but damn, they really fucked up that whole evolution thing! The bible says so!”

Maybe it’s because that’s how they’re used to making arguments? Fight science with “science,” Defend the bible with the bible…?

Bad logic.

Friday, June 1st, 2007 • 8:11am • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

I was thinking this morning, as I was parking my car at work, that I have not had many discussions with religious friends regarding their actual beliefs. The last time I had any real, hours-long, lasting discussion with someone who was religious was in college. Once the more recent discussions have reached the point of me asking, “So why do you believe?” the person suddenly starts feeling attacked and gets angry. Then I get blamed for being angry myself.

I guess Matt and I had a few discussions on religion, come to think of it, but we never did get anywhere with it. Not that there’s anywhere to get. But no matter how calm I am in asking my questions or challenging someone’s faith, I end up being the one to blame. As Dawkins says in his book, there is some strange cultural taboo against challenging religion. We must respect it. This while atheism and science get no respect at all from many religious folks. (Remember this?)

None of it makes sense to me. Logic, even the most basic kind, presses against religion. Emotions and feelings and beliefs are difficult to pair with logic, I understand, and since the former are what much of religion is based on, I can see where people would rather embrace those feelings of being loved by a god than asking the truly tough questions and risk losing that comfort.

Gosh, is there anyone out there reading who’d like to say something? I know, I don’t blog all month, and I’m thinking I still have any readers! John was good with discussing it a while back…

Friday, June 1st, 2007 • 11:45am • Permalink

Mom Expounded Thusly:

Well! I knew giving you this book would be interesting! Told you you’d like it! I do agree that is insane to have to “disprove” all the biblical “lessons”. Believing in their God disolves people of responsibility of the events in their lives. After all, “God was in my corner and I won!”, “It was God’s will”, blah, blah, blah. I truly believe it is the only way some people can survive. Especially when tragic events unfold in their lives. Life is actually a series of events, some tragic and some wonderful. Look at the water buffalo in the video. Was it God’s will that the lion or the croc ate the baby – or that the baby should get away? Hmmmmm.
So glad I read your blog tonight!

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007 • 8:43pm • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Yay! Some comments!

Two things I wanted to mention:

First, when I say this is the last throes of fundamentalist Christianity (I think I got my grammar wrong there), I don’t mean it’ll vanish in a decade, or a couple decades, or anything like that. No, I mean it’s waning, on its way out. Barring any shocking tragedies that plunge the world into chaos and bring the zelots back to full power and influence. I think it may even be a undred years or more before this brand of Christianity is devoid of influence.

Second, my mom did give me that book as a present. On EASTER! Hilarious, no?

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007 • 6:44pm • Permalink

Matt Expounded Thusly:

So much to say. So little time.

Never lackin the energy, commitment, and fervor to hate on Christians, i’m guessing you dont have much to give when it comes to listening. I mean, truly listening with a momentarily suspension of your own judgement. I mean – to sum up our previous conversations with phrases like “never did get anywhere,” “no matter how calm I challenge” and “I end up the one to blame” hardly seems fair.

Steve, not all faith, not all christians, not all experiences with “God,” and not all personal religious choices can be summarized/dehumanized, with your broad subliminally condescending brush strokes. The same, I imagine, would apply to your past conversations with your religious friends – all who, implied by you, could never once handle your challenges.

I’m imagining you in a court room – YOU CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH!

Are you THAT arrogant and/or THAT well-lived and/or THAT fair that you seriously believe your own seemingly conclusive assessment that people have faith simply because they are afraid to ask the tough questions and do not want to risk losing that comfort???

Really now? really?

Or perhaps its just easier for YOU as well to ignore the tough questions and discount other people’s valid personal journey and just continue steadfast on your team mantra. LETS GO ATHIESM, LETS GO.

Anyway, like I said. so much to say. so little time. but I just wanted to respond to your arrogance here. If you’d like to have a refresher conversation on how and why some people, like myself, continue to have faith, you let me know. I promise to appropriately tag the hard questions as they I ask them so you wont convieniently ignore when, at least, referring to my own faith that I have unabashedly shared with you.

Geesh. Fanatics. Instead of seeking or listening, its just all about opposing.

As Sam would say… luvyameanit.

Monday, June 4th, 2007 • 7:56am • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Okay, I should have added a third and fourth thing to my comments last night.

Third, I’m mostly talking about fanatics here. Fundamentalists. The religious people who are making the world utter hell for everyone else, including the majorioty of religious people who keep religion personal or share it with others in their churches. Now, some of those people may enjoy a good walk through the Creation Museum. But the Creation Museum is such a horribly ignorant take on science and the history of the earth and the animals on it, I can only hope moderate religious people look askance at the place. As I mentioned, it’s the moderate religious people who, to the horror of the fundamentalists, have re-interpreted the Bible to be less than literal. I understand how a person with a moderate take on religion can fully accept the findings of science in their worldview. After all, God, the perfect human invention, can always be said to have “created” anything we discover in the future. Gravitons and gravity waves? Not dealt with in the Bible (I’m guessing—if I’m wrong on that, I’d love to know). But of course, it’s very easy to simply say that God created them both.

Fourth, Matt and I did have some heated discussions, and he took what I said in my comment as personal though it was written with others in mind as well. Probably bad writing. I’m sorry for that.

Of all people since college, Matt was the most patient, and I did get a deeper sense, from his perspective, on belief. But he still got angry with me when I’d press a question that could only be argued, so far as I’ve found, with faith. As I said, it’s those kinds of questions that never really, from Matt or anyone else, get answered. Patty, with whom I had the conversation in college I talked about, was the only one who would go through her views with me regarding her very deeply-held religion. She would raise her voice, I would raise mine, but then we were able to keep talking through it. It got frustrating, but we never claimed the other was selfish or arrogant, and I got some helpful insight from her that informs me on this topic even today. In fact, we came to the conclusion that we both believe in a soul, we just define it deferentially, and we both believe it lives on in different ways. (I’ll have to talk about that another time.)

Sadly, John and Van, when I’d talk with them about their religion (yes, they are both exes), were just as “arrogant” in their religious beliefs as they thought I was in my non-belief. John told me once, while we were lying in bed one night, that he was very sad because he knew I was going to hell. That is supreme arrogance, and had I been as arrogant, I would have laid into him right there, maybe even just left. Neither he nor Van could ever explain to me why they believed in God or how the Bible or many of the teachings of their religion (Catholicism in both cases) can be believed in the face of modern discoveries. They would get too emotional and, like I said, blame me for their sudden emotional distress. I can not apologize for pressing a difficult conversation.

Matt, I wish you had chosen to discuss or counter some of the points I made. I hate to say it, but by using the word “arrogant,” saying I hate Christians, and that I do not listen, you sound like a religious person who can only call atheists “arrogant” and not offer any useful arguments. And I know that’s not who you are. I use strong words, and I do get carried away when I ponder the mysteries of religion and absolute converts, but I am always willing to listen. What has always happened to me is that the religious person has a point where they, for whatever reason, can go no further in the discussion. I listen, and I ask (maybe very difficult) questions, and the more difficult the question and the less of an answer I get on those questions, the more I ask. Because someone, somewhere, must have a personal belief that can be demonstrated through discussion and debate.

And finally, Matt, any hard questions I’ve been asked I have either been able to answer, or I have had the honesty (I hope!) to say, “I don’t know.” Maybe I haven’t done that. But I strive to. And if a hard question is asked of me for which I don’t have an answer, I have yet to have anyone make an argument for God that makes me go, “Oh, yeah, you know, that makes sense!” I’d love to hear such an argument. That is not the same as a religious fanatic. As they say, there have

So go ahead and try discussing that here, now. That’s what the Forum is for, really.

Monday, June 4th, 2007 • 11:15am • Permalink

Steve Expounded Thusly:

Matt and I had a nearly day-long IM session yesterday discussing our religious issues. He assured me the above comment of his was meant in the spirit of debate, not to sound like a mean guy. I hope to post highlights of that chat later. (Yeah, right.)

In the meantime, here’s a fun tidbit on the Creation Museum from The Onion.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 • 8:21am • Permalink

The Wren Forum » Intelligent Design On the Move! Expounded Thusly:

[…] got into all this again thanks to a very good Ars Technica article describing how, after a defeat in the courts, […]

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007 • 2:51pm • Permalink • This is a Pingback


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