My husband sent me a quote:
"Who is more irrational: a man who believes in a God he doesn't see or a man who is offended by a God he doesn't believe in?" - Brad Stine
That said, yeah, this is one of those posts. If you're offended by talk of Creationism, you should probably leave now. You were warned.
I post those little warnings because I have a lot of friends from different backgrounds, and I hate to offend. But like everyone, I do have some heart-felt beliefs, some topics that are near and dear to my heart, some things that set my brain on ultra-boil. One of my hot-buttons is when I see someone who resorts to calling people who disagree with him or her "stupid" or "uneducated." In my Anthropology class, we learned that everyone has a bias. People who think they don't are not being aware of their own thinking processes.
In any branch of science, the researcher must set aside his or her bias, his or her belief, and approach the facts in front of them as objectively as possible. This is hard, but that is what science is about: questioning, testing, learning. Science works from the assumption that we don't know, we must test and learn. If we go in "knowing" the answer, we risk influencing the test results much more drastically than the quantum theory of observation would account for. In my lifetime, I've seen a number of scientific facts change as new tests show new evidence. I've learned not to get too attached. (Although I do WISH they'd solve the problem of weight loss...)
Each person thinks his/her own view is right and the view of anyone who opposes him/her is wrong. Of course, we think that if they were just exposed to the right facts, they'd change their minds. Reality is not cut and dry. Our beliefs about the world around us are influenced by much more than facts. And our belief in one area will spill over into our belief in another area.
For example: people who don't believe in God generally don't believe God had anything to do with the origins of life. I wouldn't expect them to.
I read an article the other day that infuriated me. It wasn't her belief that Evolution is science and Creationism is mythology that upset me. I've seen that before. It isn't new and certainly should not be considered newsworthy. What burned me up was when she related a discussion with her daughter:
One night at the dinner table, as she was talking about the girl’s views, another family member said, “Well, they believe in that and we believe in evolution.” Which is the exact moment I leapt into the conversation, full Kanye style, and shot that notion down. See, we live in a big world where we’re lucky if we have friends of different backgrounds and different religious and philosophical perspectives. We need to respect that. But there is a vast difference between honoring other people’s beliefs and giving them permission to have different facts.
Since when is it respectful of someone's beliefs to try to force them to agree with you? The point of the article is that America is being hindered by all of the Creationists running around ruining our science. Hm. Funny. Last time I checked, we seemed to be doing pretty good in the Science department. (Yeah, I'm a little sad about NASA's current direction, but...budget cuts would be a better target for my ire.) I've met some brilliant US scientists in my day, and some of them happened to be Creationists. I know, shocking. It is possible to practice science and believe in God at the same time.
A fact is something that can be proven or observed. The origin of the world is not something we can observe yet...not until we sort out that pesky time machine. So, we have theories about how life came to be, and we study the facts we have available to us. When I taught my children science, I showed them that Evolutionists have a set of facts they have based their theory on. I showed them that Creationists have a set of facts they have based their theory on. I told them they would have to make up their own minds. Because that's what everyone has to do. Just because a fact doesn't fit into your belief doesn't make it go away.
The author of the article believed that all facts for Creationism were false. She would happily dismiss all of the facts I have based my beliefs on as myth. Hm. Sorry. They're as real and as tangible as the facts she holds dear. But then she isn't a scientist, she's a journalist and she's basing her opinions about Creationism's harm on some interesting sources. Enough said on that.
What amazed me was a fact that she threw out: 46% of Americans believe in Creationism. WHAT? I was sure it wasn't that high. I figured her numbers were probably suspect, but I looked them up. What I found blew me away. A recent Gallup poll shows that 46% of Americans believe in Creationism. An additional 32% believe in one of the variety of mixed Evolution and Creation theories. That means that 78% of Americans believe God had a hand in creating the world. Wow.
The survey is interesting. Of people with postgraduate degrees, only 29% believed that God had no part in the origins of humanity. I'm thinking this means there are more than a few scientists running around who believe God was involved. That journalist would have us believe that America is doomed to return to the dark ages because of this.
Here is my very un-scientific opinion. In our busy, over-connected world, we need to take time and walk away from the machines, go back outside and take a walk. Breathe the air. Clear our heads of the electronic chatter and just look at the world. Observe the world. Then, if you can't see the hand of God at work, well...I tried. I still respect you, and I respect your views.
In the meantime, I will unashamedly tell you my BELIEF: the rocks cry out in praise of their maker.