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Evolution and Those Evil Christians

I think this is just something I have to get off my chest, but I find the Theory of Evolution is a bit silly.

This comes of course, from working where I work. We sell educational media, and naturally, when you sell courses in both comparative religion and in biology/anthropology, well, you get some people arguing a bit.

The whole way of thinking about it started when I got a call yesterday from a guy who claimed that our use of the terms BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) instead of BC and AD was directly anti-Christian. I suppose I can see how that might be a concern, but it presumes a lot. It presumes that we are directly trying to remove belief in Christ. It presumes our motives and our methods, neither of which this man had a remote clue about. My company doesn’t use BC and AD because those terms are Christian-centric, true, but not because the owner or executives are “anti-Christian.” It’s because the academic world has seen the reality that this world of six billion people is not Christian in the majority, and enforcing that worldview on people in a secular context is ridiculous and, well, rude. When you’re giving a lecture on ancient Egypt, it hardly makes sense to speak about the time in reference to a figure from a religion that hadn’t started yet.

It does make sense to speak about it in terms of how long ago it was, however, but since you can’t refer to the current date constantly (else it gets confusing when you read it twenty years later and are unfamiliar with the copyright date), you might as well stick with the common dating system. This allows us to use the same numbers, but make it something less religiously charged.

This particular man refused to allow me to explain anything like this, and went into great depths of irrational behavior. (Now, I know a large number of you people who resent the attitude you feel many Christians have are snickering a bit and cheering me on… don’t worry, you’ll get yours in a minute). He proceeded to sarcastically tell me how we should eliminate all the excellent courses we have on Christianity because that would offend non-Christians. Naturally, I see that as an argument that we don’t have anti-Christian policies, since we support education about Christianity pretty heavily. So you can see how unreasonable this man was being.

But my point is not that he was irrational because he was a crazy Christian. He was irrational because he was a crazy Christian. But his irrationality had nothing to do with his religion. Let me demonstrate.

It always stupefies me how blindly the theory of evolution is accepted as a “fact.” It has been said (specifically by Stephen Jay Gould) that “There are no signs on the Galapagos that proclaim: ‘evolution at work.’ Evolution is an inescapable inference, not a raw datum.” Which, to me, sounds like the same sort of behavior that “scientific” people make against religious persons trying to condemn the theory of evolution. I’ll paraphrase so you get my meaning: “We don’t have enough evidence to prove our theory, but we don’t need it, it’s just true.”

Sound suspiciously like rejected a theory of science because your book of scripture is interpreted in a way that condemns it? Yeah, I thought so. Sorry, if you’re going to be scientific, you’re going to have to do better than that. Science holds that the theory is not valid unless there is raw data to hold it up. Otherwise, it’s just a potential explanation for a series of fossils, not a truth that requires us to cling to it. This especially holds true if you’re charging Christians with “fanaticism” or irrationality on the basis of their rejection of science.

More to the point, a co-worker of mine was talking about how astonishing it was that so many Christians accept the story of Adam and Eve, as presented in Genesis, as literal truth. She didn’t say anything specifically to insult them, but she made it clear that it was incomprehensible that so many of her classmates could be so dense as to find the theory of evolution to be unbelievable (my words, not hers).

So exactly why is it that such comments make a Christian a buffoon? I don’t know. Frankly it mystifies me. Is it because they believe differently? (Difference is a great source of buffoonery in our culture, because it’s such a good reason to make fun of people).

And why is it so important to people who aren’t Christians that a theory, that quite frankly has some very innate logical problems with it as well as a lack of convincing evidence, must be taught, even though it contradicts the religious beliefs of so many people?

Like I said, it’s exactly the same sort of proselytic, in-your-face, offensive sort of preaching that I daily see condemned by atheists, agnostics, and the like who genuinely seem to think that sharing your ideas is an evil practice (which is even more silly, since they don’t believe in any deity). It would probably be more accurate to say that this sharing of ideas is annoying to them, which from their point of view is an even greater sin.

The first amendment covers freedom of belief and speech that extends far beyond your right to not believe in a god. It also extends to those who do believe in a god; furthermore, it extends to those who want to share their belief. Disagreement and contradiction is protected too. You don’t like it, well, tough rocks, pal. He has a right to talk about his beliefs just as surely as you have a right to dislike what his beliefs are.

To me, it’s ridiculous to believe that one species changes from its essential form into another, regardless of how long that takes. I feel that belongs more in comic books and science fiction stories (note: I like comic books and science fiction stories, but I don’t hold them as directly representing the world I actually live in). However, that doesn’t mean I think you’re an idiot for feeling differently. It just means we disagree.

In return, will you please abstain from mocking me for believing other than you?

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