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Is There Any Reason For Alarm?

May 18th, 2005 | by Dr. Forbush |

It makes me wonder what people are thinking every time I read about a school board or parents group challenging the teaching of evolution. I wonder about the emotion that this issue provokes. I can understand that if you are a religious person with set beliefs you might not want to believe in evolution. I can understand that if you are Fundamentalist and you believe that the Bible is the only truth you can believe in. I can argue with you about that, by presenting evidence which points out what we observe as scientists. To a scientist evolution is the result of many observations. It is much like uncovering a picture a little at a time. But, instead of completely removing each piece each piece is being made clearer. There could still be some fogged pieces in the way, but the picture is clear none-the-less. There is something that we call evolution that enabled life on earth to evolve from mere chemicals to human beings.

The cause of that evolution is not known, and not observed.

Science is the culmination of observations being held together with a theory. The theory is the picture that is gradually uncovered piece by piece. With evolution we know and understand much of the theory, and it is getting clearer all the time because of the work that is continually being done.

Today I heard D. James Kennedy being interviewed by Terri Gross on Fresh Air. D. James Kennedy is another Right Wing Christian preacher with a TV ministry called "The Coral Ridge Hour," which is carried by more than 500 TV stations. He also broadcasts two daily radio programs. So, he is at home around the microphone and he tells millions of people what he believes God wants them to do. When a preacher tells people what God wants them to do, that preacher has an awesome responsibility to not make any mistakes because so many people have their trust in him.

So, when you hear a preacher make the statement that evolution is the cause of every major genocide in the 20th century you can guess that there will be many people who not only believe what he says, but believe it is the truth that God gave us. And, who can argue with eliminating the cause of every major genocide in the 20th century, especially if God doesn’t like it.

I couldn’t believe my ears, so I went to the Fresh Air website and I downloaded the program. And I listened to it again. And, I have the exact question right here   for you to hear. so you can download it and listen to it every time you think that the religious right doesn’t mean any harm.

What D. James Kennedy is saying here is that he doesn’t even care if evolution is the true observation of life on earth. The truth doesn’t matter because evolution is evil in itself. He is finished trying to disprove evolution. If you just hate something you don’t need to disprove it. Instead you just label it as evil and make it the object of your disdain. In fact, he doesn’t just label; it as evil, but he is trying it not to Hitler or Stalin or Mao or Marx or any known evil of the twentieth century. No, he is identifying it to every genocide of the twentieth century. I am sure that he would like to tie in all the genocides of the 18th and 17th centuries as well, but evolution hasn’t been around long enough. The right thinks that the left is bad when we point out that Bush is behaving like mini-Hitler. But, Kennedy doesn’t stop at Hitler he goes on to Stalin and Mao and More.

Surely someone on the right can recognize this danger to our country before it’s too late.

Crossposted at Dr. Forbush Thinks

evolution, religion, and politics

  1. 5 Responses to “Is There Any Reason For Alarm?”

  2. By Whymrhymer on May 19, 2005 | Reply

    I certainly agree with you on this one and get the feeling that, eventually, the Republican Party will either have to disown the Falwells, the Dobsons and their ilk or suffer some big losses at the polls.

  3. By JollyRoger on May 19, 2005 | Reply

    Welcome to Jesusistan, where faith has no use for fact.

    One wonders if the portion of the country that is Jesusistan will be turning out any scientists at all in 20 years’ time.

  4. By Craig R. Harmon on May 19, 2005 | Reply

    Dr.,

    I think that Dr. Kennedy’s position is a little more complex than you make it out to be. As he explains, it is secularism that he blames for the evils that you mention…particularly when he discusses how, according to the Declaration of Independence, rights are endowed by the Creator. Creator-endowed rights are “unalienable”, he argues, i. e., they cannot be rescinded. Take the Creator out of the picture, he says, and you’re left with rights coming from the State…whatever State that is. His point is that what the State giveth in the way of rights, the State can take away. The result can be the evils mentioned.

    Now, I think that Dr. Kennedy’s position ignores a possibility: namely the argument for unalienable rights rooted in nature, rather than in God. I have read fairly strong arguments that, even absent God, rights are those things that people, by nature, possess. For example, people have minds whith which to reason and voices and language to state their ideas. In the “from nature” argument, because people have these abilities, it is wrong to infringe upon that right. Therefore, States are just as wrong to abrogate a person’s right to speak her or his mind whether one regards that right as endowed from above or from the nature of human beings. I don’t probably present the argument well because, well, I happen to believe that rights are endowed from above, so I haven’t had to thoroughly reason out such a secular position but that doesn’t mean that a purely secular argument for unalienable human rights cannot be made along these or some other lines.

    So, I don’t think that Dr. Kennedy’s analysis is correct, necessarely, but it is not really evolution that he ties to these ills, evolution is just a symptom of the underlying cause. It is really secularism, the philosophical underpinnings of evolution, not really evolution, itself, that the good Doctor is blaming for all of those ills.

  5. By Dr. Forbush on May 19, 2005 | Reply

    Craig,

    Did you even listen to the audio. The question and answer are very clear. I didn’t exagerate any of what I told you Dr. Kennedy said.

  6. By Liberal Jarhead on Jun 13, 2006 | Reply

    It’s very strange for anyone to argue that secularism is behind all, or even any, genocides.  How many times have we seen genocides inspired by religious fanaticism?  Certainly not all genocides - some have been the result of cold-blooded political calculations, like those committed by the Mongols, or of bigotry that was ethnic rather than religious in its basis, like the Turks’ attempt to wipe out the Armenians.  But religion (or some people’s versions of it) has been behind an awful lot of mass killing, and I don’t know of any that was motivated by secularism.  If there’s an example of which I’m ignorant I want to know about it, because understanding history is important to me.

    One of the common patterns of fanatical forms of religion is mistaking disagreement for enmity and/or evil.  It seems to stem from a root assumption that there is one right way to think and one right interpretation for any issue, and that to hold a different view is wrong not only in the sense of being mistaken but also of committing a sin.  The second assumption in the chain is that someone who commits a sin is a bad person.  Once you buy into these two ideas, it becomes self-evident that whenever you and someone else disagree, one of you has to be evil, and very few people think of themselves as evil, so they assume the other person must be.

    If you challenge those root assumptions and believe instead that there may be many right ways to think and many questions have more than one answer, so people can disagree without either of them being wrong; then go on to conclude that because people are complicated and no one is perfect, even if someone says, believes, or does something that is indeed wrong, it doesn’t make him/her evil, but rather mistaken; then you can’t be a fundamentalist, because your whole worldview becomes unworkable.

    If more people gave themselves permission to be mistaken and to change their minds, the need to be right wouldn’t be such a big deal, and they wouldn’t be fundamentalists.  Because that whole way of being is driven by fear.  Because one fears being wrong and therefore damned, thinking independently seems like too big a risk, and anyone who offers certainty appears to be a lifesaver.  It’s really a headlong retreat from responsibility and adulthood, an attempt to remain a child who only has to do what Daddy says to be a good boy or girl and go to Heaven.

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