Friday, September 09, 2005

THE SUFFOCATING VEIL OF CREATIONISM: Speaking out against the dark force for the (n+1)th time...

It is clear that creationism or/and intelligent design are nonsense. It is clear that there is not an iota of truth in what creationists say. It is more than clear that they have not, and that they cannot, provide a smidgeon of positive evidence for their exhortations. It is easily seen that all they do is point out so-called 'deficiencies' in evolution, deficiencies that simply have to do with some of the details in the process which would be resolved over time, but not with the process itself from any perspective whatsoever. It is obvious that they are blatantly shameless in seeking the support of power hungry politicians, who themselves are the epitome of greed and ignorance.

So why, why do so many people worship these bigots of pseudo intellectual rubbish and join their ranks? Because they want to. Because somewhere, inside them, there’s an inner need for solace, a solace that they can never get from the crude and hard to learn methods of scientific wisdom and rationality. Thus they assume that life should be easy and should provide them with cut and dried, off the shelf answers, no matter that those answers don’t actually help to solve any practical problem of theirs at all. Instead of pursuing hard-earned objective knowledge for the betterment of humanity, gathered through constant inquiry, skepticism, and rewarding hard work, they would like to surround themselves with a shell of beliefs, no matter how far removed from reality those beliefs are, and even if those beliefs cause serious trouble for other human beings. People who are zealously religious can be the most selfish human beings that ever walked on the face of this planet (This is not a generalization at all, but looking at the avalanche of torment caused by fanatic religious beliefs in the world makes it easier for me to rest my case)

Actually, all this may have even been ok, if all it did was provide them with personal peace. After all, the simple truth that there are a variety of people in this world in every sense should help everyone to coexist with everyone else, and peace is one of the cardinal qualties that we yearn for. But when the instruments of personal peace claim to represent truth and try to usurp rock-solid and validated knowledge systems in the world, when they start wavering from their personal framework; that is when they start to serve as insidious tools of ignorance and ultimately, violence. Religion, more than anything, should be a matter of personal choice. And just like other personal choices like smoking, dressing preferences, and the choice to express homosexuality, it should stay within personal boundaries. Otherwise it manifests itself as fundamentalist Islam or Christianity. Fundamentalism is religion gone so perversely berserk, that it is religion no more. Religion is simply what I believe. And what I believe should stay with me. To try to make it someone else’s belief is to undermine the very definition of personal faith, and by that token, most religious people ironically have abused religion many more times over since the dawn of humanity, than have non-religious people.

From this perspective, the warped minds that try to promote creationism are no different from the fundamentalist terrorists who embark on Jihads and promote the most damaging, violent, and absurd of ideals under the name of radicalism and religion. If the world has united against fundamentalist religion, it should also unite against ‘scientific’ creationism. The only difference is that the creationists don’t wield planes and nuclear weapons. But they wield something that is worse; the ability to destroy and infect the spread of education and rationality, which are the only constant virtues that can guarantee progress. And while nuclear weapons or anthrax strains are easily recognizable elements of terror, the instruments of ignorance wielded by creationists run deep and promise a subtle but permanently disfiguring fissure running through our very definitions of progress and enlightenment, that can easily tear the entire superstructure of sanity apart.

The so-called debate between evolution and creationism has so engrossed everyone’s attention, that many people for starters do believe that it is a scientific debate in the first place. It’s not. It’s a political debate. That’s the first fact about it that should be made clear in everyone’s minds. Even a review on Amazon of a hot-off-the-press book about the ‘debate’ between creationism and evolution surmises that this debate is one that has “no easy resolution--it is a complex topic with profound scientific, religious, educational, and legal implications”. I agree about the religious, educational, and legal implications of the debate, or rather debacle, and it is a great pity that teachers or lawyers should have to spend their time on resolving such an absurd conflict. But ‘profound scientific implications’? NO! The only profound scientific implication is that of evolution itself. The simple but great and all-encompassing truth that we have evolved, itself is a matter of profound import. To believe that the debate has profound scientific implications is to insult science at its most basic level. Creationism can never have any scientific implication, trivial or profound. It’s not our problem if evolution creates a problem for religious people, only because someone said something in an apparently holy book many years ago. Evolution is a fact, and it’s a fact that is as irrefutable as anything else. It is a fact that does not claim any glory and it is a fact that does not have the remotest intention of insulting any religion. Period. There is no keeping an “open mind” about the veracity of this particular fact, and not keeping an open mind about it emphatically does not make one ‘unscientific’. We are prepared to keep an open mind about the details of evolution, but not about the fact itself.

In the end, I should just get a doctor’s prescription that forbids me to argue with creationists, on the grounds of good health (especially high blood pressure), just like the eloquent and valuable Richard Dawkins. But then again I think, maybe I should just ask him for a pill, so that I can stand against these agents of obfscation, and join with others in burning the veil of ignorance so that it never casts its pall on humanity and its progress.


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