Thursday, November 20, 2008

Those Dreaded 'Christianists' and Horrible Creationists

Recently, at the university where my ministry is located, there was a little outburst of that smoldering flame that is ‘creation vs. evolution.’ For some time now, certain scientists have tried to ‘run out of the neighborhood’ anyone who brings even a hint of an intelligent designer into the discussion of origins.

I have been amazed over the years at how vehemently the idea of any intelligence behind the observed order in living things is often rejected. It is as though a deeply-held faith in some is challenged by such an idea.

Christendom has often been lambasted for sometimes insisting on a certain orthodoxy of belief. Yet some in the community of scientists seem to insist on their own version of orthodoxy with a zeal that makes many Christian believers seem tame in comparison.

I once witnessed a discussion between a man with a Ph. D. in biology from Florida State University and a (former) NKU science faculty member. At one point in the discussion the fellow from Florida State suggested that he was not certain of the age of the universe.

At that point the NKU science faculty member stood up and said, "If you do not think the universe is at least four billion years old, we have nothing further to discuss!" and curtly dismissed the fellow from Florida State.

It is this kind of cavalier dogmatism (which is unfortunately not rare as it should be among scientists) that some of us find puzzling, distressing, and not quite in harmony with the spirit of free and open inquiry.

Not long ago a psychology professor here tried to put his two-cents worth into this discussion. He asserted that faith and science need not be at odds. He then claimed that the assumption that creationists are few and ignorant is false. Finally, he pointed out that faith is not (contrary to popular opinion) ‘believing that for which there is no evidence.’

(This is a short summary. Read the whole article here.)

Whether you agree or not, these are certainly relevant points worth making.

Along, then, came this brilliant response:

Are you KIDDING me??? Carbon dating is (a) science that (b) proves that the earth is more than 6,000 years old. Period. No ifs, ands, buts. Any reasonable search demonstrates that those who reject this proven theory are Christianists, not Christians. Seems to me as if this joker of a faculty member is a Christianist, not a Christian. Really sad that NKU students are being taught by some fool who puts religious dogma ahead of science. Science and faith are NOT mutually exclusive, but apparently "NKU" and "integrity” are, given that NKU employs such a fool. [edited slightly to improve readability]

Here, on public display, is a small part of the problem in this discussion. The psychology professor said nothing about the age of the earth, so the carbon dating business is simply not to the point.

‘Christianist’ is a hip, relatively new term coined to denote those who think Christianity is ‘superior’ to other religions - in other words, those who think the claims of Christianity are true. (Heaven forbid that Christianity be true!)

So, in other words, according to this respondent, a Christian should not think Christianity is true. As strange as that is, I won’t explore it just now.

Finally, the respondent calls the psychology professor a ‘joker’ and a ‘fool.’ Yes, such thoughtful labels make an irrefutable argument.

Here is an example of an open mind, a denizen, I presume, of modern academia. Call your opponent a couple of bad names, and, case closed.

We can only hope that, whoever this respondent is, he does not claim to be a scientist. Scientists are surely a much better bunch than that.

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