Sunday, December 19, 2004

Brayton on Farah, and other thoughts:

I love this zinger that Ed Brayton delivers while discussing this article of Joseph Farah's where Farah attempts to reconcile his literal belief in the Bible with science, going so far as to admit that he believes that human beings walked the Earth with dinosaurs. Brayton writes: "But apparently Mr. Farah thinks that the Flintstones was a documentary and not a cartoon."

My readers know ID-Creationism v. Evolution isn't a primary interest of mine. But I'll note a few things nonetheless. It's no secret that there is a religious fundamentalist push behind this controversy. As Farah states in his article, "The primary reason I believe [in ID], of course, is because the Bible tells me so. That's good enough for me, because I haven't found the Bible to be wrong about anything else."

But even if it turns out that the universe were created by an intelligent designer -- and I suppose this is not only possible, but also rational to presume that if a "watch" exists, then a watchmaker created it -- that's a far cry from believing that everything in the Bible is true. And it would be a huge jump from believing in the existence of some ultimate intelligence behind all of reality on the one hand and that the Earth is only 6000 years old, that Noah's Ark contained two of every species (or "kind"), that dinosaurs walked the Earth with man, that Lot's wife really turned to salt, etc., on the other. There is no scientific evidence for any of these assertions, period. And the scientific record is replete with evidence that much of what the Bible says -- or to put it another way, the interpretation that folks like Farah derive from the Bible -- is either false or scientifically impossible.

For instance, science tells us that the Earth is well over 6000 years old by only oh a few billion or so years. How do these "young-Earthers" reply to this incontestable fact? That when God created the Earth 6000 years ago, he created it so that it would measure, via scientific instruments, billions of years already. In other words, God created the earth new with a few billions years of life in its record. I kid you not. They actually argue this with a straight face.

But let us humor these folks and assume this is true. If it is, then God purposefully tries to conceal the Truth from man. He planted evidence that would lead one to doubt that His Word is true, (if His Word is properly understood as teaching that the Earth is 6000 years old). Why is the God of the Bible trying to conceal His existence from man by planting seeds of doubt where the science will contradict what is written in the Bible? Many of the things that the Bible talks about that are scientifically impossible are "miracles," which are, by definition, God breaking the laws of science. But God performs miracles so infrequently that not a one has ever been recorded by science. Now consider that fundamentalists like Farah believe that all who don't accept that the Biblical God is true are destined to burn in Hell.

So rational men who doubt the Biblical God's existence using the rational faculties that God gives us and basing this conclusion at least in part because God himself planted seeds of doubt and effectively conceals His existence are destined to burn in Hell for their rational doubts. Real fair.

Now, God's lack of recordable interference in the affairs of men and concealment of evidence for His existence may have some ultimate underlying spiritual purpose -- for instance, God wants us to come to Earth to learn, and doesn't want us to kill ourselves to get to the other side -- but only if we reject the fundamentalist conclusions of men like Farah.

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