The web is full of links and information regarding Ray Comfort’s “Special Introduction” to the Origin of Species passed out on University Campuses all across America on November 18, 2009, Darwin’s 150th anniversary of the original publication (Darwin born February 12, 1809 and Origin was published November 24, 1859). Here are a couple highlights, several noted links, and VIA comments on this endeavor.
CNN Report: http://us.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2009/11/20/costello.cameron.evolution.cnn.
The National Center for Science Education.
Talk Origins Index to Creationists Claims.
National Science Foundation’s launch of the Evolution of Evolution site.
The Complete Works of Darwin online..
Journals and Articles – from the NCSE listing
- US News Debate: Ray Comfort
- US News Debate: Eugenie Scott
- US News Debate: Ray Comfort Responds
- US News Debate: Eugenie Scott Responds
- Evolution: Education and Outreach
- The Origin of Whales and the Power of Independent Evidence
- List of Evolution Lessons
Additional Links – from the NCSE listing
- Understanding Evolution (UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology)
- PBS Evolution series
- Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial (NOVA)
- National Association of Biology Teachers position statement on evolution
- National Science Teachers Association position statement on evolution
- National Academy of Sciences
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Voices for Evolution
- How to Debate a Creationist
Books – from the NCSE listing
- Evolution vs. Creationism, 2nd Edition, by Eugenie C. Scott: University of California Press, 2009
- Living with Darwin, by Philip Kitcher, Oxford University Press, 2007
- Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution, 3rd edition, by Edward J. Larson, Oxford University Press, 2003
- The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America, by Lauri Lebo, New Press, 2008
- Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Kenneth Miller, Viking, 2008
- Why Evolution is True, by Jerry Coyne, Viking, 2009
- The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, by Richard Dawkins, Free Press, 2009
- Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters, by Donald R. Prothero, Columbia University Press, 2007
- The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution, by Carl Zimmer, Roberts and Company, 2009
- Darwin’s Origin of Species, by Janet Browne, Grove Press, 2008
- The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, by Charles Darwin, edited by Nora Barlow, W. W. Norton, 1993
- On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition, by Charles Darwin, edited by David Quammen, Sterling, 2008
- Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, W.w. Norton, 1994
— VIA —
The continued rhetoric and propaganda of Creationists is unfortunate on multiple levels and I am becoming more frustrated and disillusioned with my “brothers and sisters” in the “creationism” camp. While I love them, and believe they are striving to love and honor God, I am flabbergasted as to how they continue to perpetuate these ideas and materials. Though there is an adherence to the “Scriptures” of Genesis, their understanding, perspectives, and a priori assumptions are baffling to those who believe that there is the possibility of reasonable and logical discourse.
There are literally hundreds (perhaps thousands) of rebuttals to the arguments, all listed above, in various formats. So, as I have thought about this post (thinking about the bad theology, the lack of listening, the poor logic, the deceitfulness of the approach, the dismissive attitudes, the lack of humility, the uneducated proponents, etc.), I have sought to reflect on the question of “why?”
Why do Comfort and Cameron continue this approach? Why do they believe what they believe of Genesis and the conclusions of possibly interpreting it differently? Why the passion behind the propaganda? Where does this come from, and what fuels and inflames it? Why are young-earth creationists so unwilling to accept the commonly held “evidence?” Why are people so selective in their worldview understandings? Why are people so unwilling to lay down their deeply held beliefs in light of better reason?
I do not have the audacity to suggest I will be able to answer these questions in this post, however, I would like to offer a few reflections that may help us all to understand, not just the argumentation, but the psyche behind this kind of culture war.
1. A FUNDAMENTAL FOUNDATION OF FUNDAMENTALISM IS THE FEELING OF FEAR. Those who hold so vehemently to dogmatic positions, if you listen carefully, feel threatened, as if something is being taken away from them, their identity, their traditions, their understanding, etc. There is a constant sense of being “under attack.” You can see it clearly in Cameron’s introductory video, and you can hear it in virtually all of the arguments put forth. While this may be broad-brushing a bit, fundamentalism = fear. This is true, for the religious or the non-religious.
2. FUNDAMENTALISM MARRIES OPINION WITH TRUTH. The essence of dogma is the danger of marrying one’s understanding with the absolute truth. Once that matrimony takes place, to question your opinion is to question the absolute truth about God. And in accord with good Biblical teaching, the “two have become one flesh” so as to make it impossible to divorce what you think is true with truth itself. Perhaps this is a very hasty marriage, one that only juveniles make in the heat and passion of eros. I suggest this is idolatry at its base identity, the valuing of one’s own understanding above a humble and other-valuing engagement with the truth.
On that note, I find it fascinating that scientists are the first to admit that an idea could change if evidence points in a different direction, while religious fundamentalists are the last to admit that their hermeneutic could be wrong if shown a more viable way to interpret theology and/or the Scriptures.
To all of this, Jesus answers in love and worship. Love is in essence the opposite of fear (1 John 4:18), and true worship is to value God above all things, including our own thoughts, our own ways, our own concepts and ideas.