Hope for the Aftermath of the Creation “Museum” Fundraiser Debate
Like many others, I am not thrilled about tonight’s Ham vs Nye debate. Others have expressed reasons far better than I can, the most cogent, in my opinion, being that no matter what happens, Ken Ham has won by being able to pocket all the money to support his “museum” and any other Answers in Genesis projects to obfuscate and lie in the name of godly education. This is a bad thing, but it’s not the end of all hope. The children lied to are not necessarily doomed to a life of ignorance here.
I am a recovered fundamentalist. The recovery part is no failure of the church to indoctrinate me (though perhaps it was a failure by my parents, who encouraged me to read whatever I wanted in opposition to the church party line of only consuming media that edifies, whatever the hell that means.) Indeed, I was brainwashed in the most approved creationist fashion: I had classes where I was asked to select the body part I was most amazed at and then got to participate in ridicule of people who thought such an amazingly complex thing could possibly have come about randomly. I think I also got to shake watch parts together in a paper bag and conclude there was no way for this to result in a complete watch. Then, of course, there was the tracing lineages in the Bible to conclude the earth is only a few thousand years old, with mention of how carbon dating is only accurate to I think 5k-7k years, and other radiocarbon dating methods were conveniently ignored so that I could be told there was no way for those faceless evil people the scientists to say that rock formations were millions of years old.
As I grew up and kept hearing shitty apologetics, something strange happened. I started thinking about the apologetics I was supposed to parrot. The weaknesses of the arguments for creationism started to bother me. I started challenging creationist apologia in Sunday School. Note that this was not me having any atheistic feelings (that came later), it was me wanting to be proud of my faith. I wanted what I believed to be defensible with reason and facts, which quest helped me realize how indefensible those beliefs really were (also, how unimportant my reasonings were in Sunday School, because as a non-penis-haver, I was not really worth listening to, but that’s a different angst).
Of course, it would still have been better (and far more emotionally healthy) for me to have been taught actual science and critical thinking in the first place, and just avoided all the religious tyranny of thought, but one must make the best of the situation at hand. There is a study suggesting that increased exposure to terrible art reduces, rather than increases, peoples’ tolerance for it. If this can be extrapolated to exposure to terrible logic, as was true in my case, then no matter how much time and money is spent on brainwashing believers, it is ultimately a losing prospect.
Featured Image from Answersingenesis.org