Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Creationism is a Form of Insanity?

Why is it that when talking about religion, a person can make claims that in any other topic would be considered literally insane?

Consider these three people...
"The army says my husband was killed in Iraq, but that would be awful so I know it's not true."

"Our company spent all its money, but that can't be right because we'd go out of business, so let's keep spending."

"The doctor says my baby died, but I don't believe it because I love her too much."
Sad and absurd, right? Anyone who said these things would be headed for psychiatric help. So consider this article by Joe Sobran, who is trying to "prove" that Darwin's theory of evolution is wrong. Sobran starts by lambasting Dan Brown for the historical errors in his book, The Davinci Code, and then morphs that argument into an anti-Darwinism rant. And here's the heart of his logic:
"Children must be taught that nature has no purpose, beyond 'survival of the fittest' – though even survival is, strictly speaking, an accident rather than a purpose. We owe our existence, our humanity itself, not to anything intelligent, but to the chance mutations of stupid matter. This is the dogma of Darwinism, which passes for 'religious neutrality'..."
Mr. Sobran makes it clear that this unpleasant fact, all by itself, makes Darwinism unacceptable. How can it be that there is no purpose to life, no reason for our existence?

In other words, Mr. Sobran refuses to believe in evolution because it is unpleasant.

If Joe Sobran was a lone philosopher, it would be no big deal. But the fact is, the "I don't like it so it must not be true" argument is one of the most important and widely used arguments of Christian apologists debating against evolution and science. And it's utterly insane.

I can understand how Mr. Sobran, and all who believe in Creationism (or its variant, Intelligent Design) might be disappointed to find out there really is no purpose to the universe, to this galaxy, solar system, planet, or the life on it. I can see how disappointed they would be to discover that life really has no divine purpose, that it's all just random chance.

But that's exactly like the three examples we started with. Mr. Sobran is rejecting Darwinism simply because he doesn't want it to be true.

Atheists accept and embrace the truth, and move on from there. The idea of clinging to a falsehood merely because it is comforting is repellent. When you embrace the truth, that life really did come about by random chance, then you can get on with the task of making it meaningful. You can accept that our time here is limited, that happiness and love are worth cherishing and fostering, and figure out how to live your life in a way that brings more happiness and love into the world.

If Mr. Sobran's beliefs were about anything other than religion, we'd be helping him find a good psychiatrist. So why is it that religion gets a free pass on this one? Why are Mr. Sobran and millions of other creationists able to pull off this rather stunning logical fallacy, while the same behavior on any other topic would get you a ticket to the looney bin?

1 comment:

  1. Do we atheists not believe in God just because we don't like it? I don't think so. We don't believe in it because it contradicts with facts and reason.


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