A columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer is quite irate about the fact that we squelched the zoo/creation museum deal. If you read his article, you’ll discover a theme.
The live Nativity at the Creation Museum will have an actual, living, cud-chewing camel. Frightening.
There will also be goats and sheep. Terrifying.
Cuddly lambs might seem harmless to the average visitor, but some people are scared witless by the possibility that some innocent, devout secularist could accidentally wander onto the grounds of the Creation Museum and get exposed to radioactive Christianity or other dangerous ideas that should be outlawed.
The writer, Peter Bronson, hammers on this idea over and over — that scientists are afraid of creationists. By imputing a false motive to our actions, he goes farther and farther astray into never-never land, building up this astonishingly elaborate house of cards.
He does get one part halfway correct, though. He quotes another article on the Enquirer:
“Asking me to ‘tolerate’ this kind of worldview is akin to asking me to ‘tolerate’ illiteracy. Both are problems of education and intelligence. Creationist thought is … naïve, it is anti-intellectual, and it harkens back to pre-enlightenment thinking. I don’t have any tolerance for that.”
Got that? Creationists are stupid, illiterate, naïve and backward.
Naïve and backward is quite correct; they are promoting bad old ideas that have long been disproven. I do not think creationists are stupid — creationism is a deficit that you can overcome — and most are literate to some degree. If only Mr Bronson actually understood what he wrote, because it explains so much more than his “fear” thesis. We react as we do to the proposals of creationists because they are wrong. We aren’t afraid of such absurdities at all, it’s more of an intellectual commitment to addressing falsehoods.
Once again, though, the creationists have caught me brandishing my cyber pistol.
“It’s a little sad that the zoo would cave in to a cyber war,” Ham said. He believes most of the protests came from people who don’t live anywhere near Cincinnati – instigated by P.Z. Myers of Minnesota, a “godless liberal” blogger-atheist who has made a hobby of spiteful attacks on Christians, Christmas and the Creation Museum.
“They’re the ones who are being intolerant,” Ham said. “We’re not afraid of creationists going to the Zoo and seeing their messages about evolution. People have to stand on their own beliefs. It’s not up to us to say you can’t go to this place or that place.
And a fine, entertaining hobby it is, too.
And they make it so easy when they mischaracterize everything so grossly. Did anyone say people can’t go to the Creation Museum? Did anyone block the ability of the Creation Museum to sell tickets? Is anyone afraid of the Big Dumb Ham? Why, no. All that happened is that they were told they can’t borrow the good name of a legitimate educational and scientific institution when they are shilling for their museum. That’s it.
It makes me wonder: If the science is so unshakeable, what are they afraid of? Why wouldn’t they welcome a debate? Why not encourage open-minded exploration? Isn’t that what scientific inquiry is all about?
Again, abandon that premise. We are not afraid. The real issue is that this is a settled scientific question, long resolved and with growing evidential support, and there is little point in continuing the discussion.
Anyone who has had kids knows this situation: when they discover the word “why”, they learn that it is a tool for starting an unending conversation. Give ’em an answer, and they just say “why” again; explain that, and it’s “why” again; the game keeps going until the adult gives up in exasperation. We all know that the kid is not trying to think or get a complete answer — he just wants attention. We can answer for a while with patience, but at some point we have to stop and insist that the child exhibit a little more honest curiousity to trigger more answers.
Creationists passed the point of honest inquiry long ago. I would suggest to Mr Bronson that he go through his little essay and try replacing every instance of the word “afraid” with “exasperated” and he might see his way through to a little more truth.
Or maybe not. The rest of his essay reveals that honesty is not a word he’s interested in.
The obvious adult answer to the protesters is simple: If you don’t like it, don’t go. Buy your ticket to the zoo and enjoy the Festival of Lights. Your experience will not be contaminated by the opportunity to see the Creation Museum’s live Nativity. There is no proven scientific risk of catching contagious Christianity from merely touching a ticket.
But it seems like the only thing Americans have really perfected in the past 30 years is the art of being mortally offended by ridiculous trivialities. So here we go again. Some insecure secularists get scared by ideas they fear, and off we go – another brick wall of political correctness must be built to shield feeble minds from taboo thoughts and theories.
I suppose next they will try to ban Santa Claus because all that stuff about reindeer pulling his sleigh pulled across the sky has not been peer-reviewed in a scientific journal.
Christ would probably be outlawed too by the Secular Police, but his name’s on the holiday.
I repeat: nobody said you can’t go to the Creation Museum. Nobody is worried that you’ll catch Christianity from a poorly done pseudo-museum. Nobody is threatening to ban Santa Claus or Christianity, either. But these baseless accusations are just so useful to inflame the martyr gland of the poor Christian majority. I have to feel sorry for them — their sense of self-worth seems to reside in a belief that they are persecuted for their beliefs, and it’s just so hard to maintain when you’re a dominant majority trying to force-feed religious absurdities on people with educations.