Everyone’s going home for Christmas today, but unfortunately I won’t be leaving till Monday. Out of my whole building, where 122 people normally live, I know of only 4 who will still be here after 8pm tonight, and they’re not people I know particularly well. So this is gonna be a pretty boring 2 days, I think. Don’t be surprised if I make several posts, especially since there’s quite a lot of relevant stuff happening at the moment.
First off, here’s a story in the Independent about a stabbing in Ausralia. It caught my eye because it involved both Scottish and English backpackers, and because the headline says it happened “after a creationism row”. Take a minute to read it, it’s not long.
There are a few different ways of taking this story. On the one hand I think the author has greatly overstated the significance of the “creationism row”; the judge says it was accidental and the jury obviously agrees or he’d be guilty of murder, so I don’t think it should have been a feature of the headline. So this shouldn’t be read in a pejorative sense towards creationists. I’m sure the vast majority of them are peace loving, non-violent people, however deluded they might be.
However, it shows how heated such debates can be. Anyone who’s read any of my blog posts will find it quite ironic that I’m saying this, but we have to take into account that many people take their mistaken theories of origin very personally, so it’s important to be diplomatic. We’re not going to show people the error of their ways by offending them, but by reasoned debate. That isn’t to say that we should tip-toe around the issue. Creationist theories are not just a philosophical worldview, they encroach on the terroritory of science and ignore fact. Anyone who propagates such views should have them challenged, just like anyone trying to propagate a new scientific theory would expect to have it challenged.
I’ve been thinking recently about what kind of approach to take. Don’t get me wrong, many creationists have ludicrous theories and I think they should be shown up to be a ridiculous as they are, but it’s not going to help our cause to keep harping on and making fun of the same things like the talking snake in Genesis or the Allah/chewing gum thing (comment me for more details on THAT amazing piece of literature). In some respects that makes Humanists seem more closed-minded, as stupid as that is.
But on the other hand, I quite like offending fools. And being frank about things is the best way to make sure people understand, and it’s more my style.