Friday, February 7, 2014

Creationism vs Science - Opinion

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis1, who earned his Bachelor of Applied Science with an emphasis in environmental Biology at Queensland Institute of Technology, and a diploma in Education from the University of Queensland, Australia, founder of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, a privately owned museum charging $30 admission, recently debated “Science Guy” Bill Nye, a graduate of Cornell with a Bachelors of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, – and an unsuccessful competitor on Dancing With the Stars – and drew a world-wide audience. They debated the origins of earth and our life upon it. The debate was creationism, a belief based on the Bible, versus evolution which is based on science and observation.

Unfortunately, many viewers failed to understand the debate, simply waiting for confirmation of their preconceived beliefs. According to their respective supporters, both Nye and Ham delivered the definitive answer. Sorry, but I disagree. I watched the debate on and re-watched it on and decided Bill Nye graciously pulled his punches, while Ham delivered the inadvertent knock-out punch. I'm not sure why Nye failed to drive the nail home, so to speak, other than concern for his opponents feelings, a trait inherent in people who are truly concerned with civility in a confrontational environment, but Ham accidentally did it for him by delivering a simplistic, unequivocal oath, a denial of learning. Ham inadvertently turned off his own lights.

Personally, I believe Nye did not do our country any service by allowing a man who believes the earth is only 6000 years old to credibly debate him in an International forum in the first place. Even staunch conservative media supporters such as Fox News have recently reported the Bible may in fact, not be factual.2 Not many people, regardless of their devotion to the Bible, believe the Earth is only 6000 years old as does Ken Ham. The Bible, written by over 60 authors three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ, five hundred years before the invention of paper, and altered by kings and Popes many times over since to fit their individual needs, has never been high on my list of historically accurate documents. I consider it more a collection of parables, much like Aesop's fable. In the Bible, Exodus 21, not only is slavery condoned, but the procedure to sell your daughter is outlined for you. The discussion and competition of biblical interpretation has been going on for years, although I seriously don't understand why.

Do I insult those I disagree with when discussing religion? Probably, but not intentionally, although at times I'm tempted to comment on people who believe in superstitions as a replacement for science. Faith to me may be an intrinsic part of a person's character, but not a mandatory component. I do not judge those who do not believe in a superior being as deficient in character. After all, I don't believe it either. Those people who want to convert me to their religious beliefs fail to understand that not only do I not believe in God, their God, but in any God, period. I do not believe mythology has any place in my life.

When these people “discuss” the origins of life, they are not discussing the same subject as I am. They are simply repeating dogma they have been taught by rote since childhood without regard to evidence. Their beliefs have been drilled into them since the very beginnings of their memory and any thought, any evidence that contradicts their established world is heresy. Heresy is an incredibly religious word. Without religion, there would be no heresy. Without heresy, there would be more doubt, curiosity, discovery, invention, exploration, education, and advancement of knowledge. With heresy, we have witches burned at the stake.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and the same rights extend to voicing that opinion. With that right comes the need to intellectually defend your position should it be challenged. I don't mean by name calling and personal insults the way it's done on American television. If you don't have anything but faith, then faith is your answer, and that should see you through. Faith will be your core belief and it will see you through all your emotional needs.  I know a deep personal belief in something other than atoms and molecules is needed to sustain human despair through times of emotional upheaval. You do need to know, however, what that faith is dependent on. Remember, faith is the suspension of intellectual process, the acceptance and belief of someone else's promise. To me, when you put your life in someones else's word, you are lost. If you can not decide for yourself what your soul is or what it means in this physical, conscious world, you will be forced to accept the dogma, the residual superstitions of our past religious structures.

Ham unfortunately discredited the entire debate by stating unequivocally he would not change his mind regardless of facts because he is a Christian, while Nye said he would consider evidence. That, in a single sentence summed up the entire "debate."

Your faith may be dependent on the solemn word of your mother. Perhaps your whole family prays together using the same psalms and hymns, the very guidelines and instructions used by your grandparents, and their parents before them. Just remember if you go back far enough, the world was flat and whales ate people. To believe the world is flat in today's society would take an awful lot of faith. Many people, however, still believe whales not only eat people, but let them build fires deep inside their huge, cavernous bellies. That thought alone should be a wake-up call.

We are also guaranteed freedom from any religion dictating how we believe. That includes any, and all, religions. We are a diverse country, insulated from the rest of the world by our religious beliefs, as is any country that holds their religious dogma to be superior to the laws of man.

Being taught a religion is a very personal process, dependent mostly on our upbringing and love and trust in our parents. Our parents, who loved and trusted their parents, ad infinitum. Unfortunately, while the Greeks figured out the earth isn't flat some five hundred years before Christ, God didn't bother to tell his followers. Or, if he did, he waited over 1200 years to do so.

That was the point Bill Nye failed to make.

1According to Wikipedia: Answers in Genesis (AiG) is a non-profit Christian apologetics ministry with a particular focus on supporting young Earth creationism and a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis.[2] The organization has offices in the United Kingdom and the United States. It had offices in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, but in 2006 these seceded to form Creation Ministries International.


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