The ongoing conversation known as western culture depends upon a small collection of distinguished books that are repeatedly cited by people who haven’t actually read them.
Two of the most prominent members of that dubious list are The Holy Bible and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. It should come as a great surprise to no one that they are also at the center of some of the most vicious ideological debates ever to be waged on Facebook, CNN, and HBO.
Somehow I’ve managed to get through over five decades of pretty good livin’ without ever thinking about natural selection. In fact, the only time the subject comes up is when the people who live inside my TV are going apeshit because some other people want their schools to teach creationism in addition to evolution, under the pretence of promoting critical thinking.
Apparently, the greatest threat to American excellence is not the stagnant inner-city illiteracy rate, but the fact that some people’s children are being asked to absorb and think about too much information.
Which raises the inevitable question: Who gives a shit?
Is America currently experiencing a desperate shortage of paleontologists? Are warehouses across the country threatening to burst from a massive backlog of unexamined fossils?
At the risk of sounding obvious – a risk that seems to plummet with every passing day – this debate has almost nothing to do with religion or education and everything to do with people who can’t mind their own fucking business.
Contrary to what you may have heard, debates between science and religion are easily resolved once you understand that the term “belief” has at least two very different meanings. Scientific beliefs, for example, must be justified by a chain of reasons or causes. Religious beliefs are the exact opposite: they require conviction in the complete absence of reasons. Any discussion that entangles the two is like taking someone to court to determine whether or not they’re actually in love with you.
What the muppets on HBO and CNN are really arguing for, whether they realize it or not, is something far more toxic than anything found in the Garden of Eden.
See, the secularists don’t want to eliminate God from public life as much as they want to replace him with an omnipotent and ubiquitous state that will provide for one and all from its virtually bottomless capacity to provide. Because it has been provided with the unquestionable wisdom of the mob and its political representatives, this state-god should also have the power to dictate every aspect of your life, from how you, the individual, spend your money and raise your family, to how you quench your thirst.
The real issue in the creationist/evolution debate isn’t whether the local school board wants to include a couple of bible stories in the curriculum. It must be said, however, that having a passing familiarity with a book that is inextricably entwined with our history, morals, and legal system probably isn’t a bad thing (and if parents don’t agree with everything their children are learning at school, they can always put down the remote for a couple of hours and set them straight). The real question is why we are so quick to hand over control of our children’s education to higher and higher levels of government.
Human beings have evolved, not just by passing on our genes, but by transmitting all the ideas, culture, and wisdom that have made us who we are. When we assume that someone else knows better than we do what’s best for us (and our children), we might as well be a bunch of ignorant monkeys, throwing shit at each other, and waiting for the zookeepers to tell us what to do.