Sunday, May 27, 2007

6 days for 60 percent

In the context of a story about the opening of a new fundamentalist Christian museum, America’s ABC News reported that a survey they conducted found that an astounding sixty percent of Americans believe that god created the world in six days. There’s no mention of how those 220 million + Americans reconcile this belief with scientific fact.

The museum, however, has no such problems. To them, their god created everything, and on day six made Adam, cows, and dinosaurs all at the same time. They say that scientific evidence proves their view, um, somehow.

I know this is no surprise, but this story annoys me in many ways. First, their rejection of reason and intellect and science in order to promote a particular religious belief annoys me. The arrogance of these fundamentalists annoys me even more.

Back when I was a Christian, we were taught that there was nothing incompatible between evolution and the story of divine creation. This was a common belief among mainstream Protestants, most of whom pointed out that there’s nothing in the bible that says that those six days were 24 hours each, and not millions of years. It’s another example of how fundamentalists have co-opted the whole discussion and made their view the only debated perspective on evolution v. creation (which shouldn’t be a “debate” at all, but that’s anther matter).

The fundamentalists also never miss an opportunity to attack ordinary Americans, whom they always call—gasp!—secular. Apparently, accepting the fact of evolution leads inevitably to abortion and pornography (or is it the other way around?). A spokesperson for the financial backers of the museum said that only “secular scientists” would say that dinosaurs and humans didn’t live at the same time. Clearly, for them Christian scientists who back science aren’t real Christians.

They’re also not moral, according to the group, because they have no reason to be. Despite the fact common morality makes sense for a lot of reasons having nothing to do with religion, apparently only fundamentalists are really moral.

This sort of anti-intellectualism is annoying, but when it extends to denying scientific fact it’s downright dangerous. American kids are going to have to compete in a global economy, and no one’s doing them any favours by promoting stories that not even all religious people believe.

So, apparently the bumper sticker really is correct: “Fundamentalism stops a thinking mind.”

1 comment:

lost in france said...

"This sort of anti-intellectualism is annoying" -- of course but the dumbing-down of American voters helps some political candidates get elected.

I was amused to see a clip on today's French television news about this....