Saturday, August 11, 2007

Creationism

Advocates of evolution combat creationism all wrong. People who believe in creationism believe in it as a matter of faith, not as a reasoned conclusion, and there is no way that hammering them with facts is going to change that faith. Any fact that contradicts creationism can be handily disposed of by the existence of an omnipotent god: dinosaurs didn't exist, they just appear to because the fossils were placed in the ground by God to test the faith of believers. Discounting the scientific evidence for dinosaurs becomes an confirmation of faith. The only way to counter faith is with faith, or at least a plausible story; evolutionists tend to rely on lists of facts, which will only convince those people who were already questioning the creationist story.

The funny thing is that belief in science is a faith, too, the faith that the world can be best explained by deductive reasoning and experimentation. Science has been a very useful and productive paradigm, but there is still a leap of faith needed at the beginning. For people who have made a different leap, it is easy to use the things that science hasn't explained yet to discredit science as a whole: What came before the Big Bang? Why do we feel so strongly that we exist beyond our physical bodies? And some science advocates are as fundamentalist as the religious types they oppose, declaring that science is the only way to explain the world and that anyone who doesn't believe in it is damned to hell - well, terminally ignorant and irrational, anyway. At that point, science becomes just another religion.

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