In a May 31, 2011 article on the Huffington Post, Michael Zimmerman goes on the offensive against Michele Bachmann’s belief in creationism. It is a familiar tirade against the “primitive notions” that the presumed “uneducated” have about the start of all things. Whenever I read articles from advocates of evolution about those who believe in creation they sooner or later resort to bullying to make their point.
Zimmerman calls intelligent design the “anti-intellectual offshoot” of creationism. He considers it a “pseudoscientific” subject and venerates a Baton Rouge, LA high school student who is fighting to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act, which Zimmerman calls, an “atrocious stealth-creationism law.” This student has challenged Bachmann to provide support for her statement “there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact … hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel prizes, believe in intelligent design.”
Bachmann is hardly the first politician to be challenged to verify the facts stated in a speech. Even if she has such evidence the issue never goes away. The vitriol from evolution advocates remains condescending, demeaning and pompous.
It has long been a ploy in the pro-evolution rhetoric to posture opponents as uneducated Neanderthals (pun intended). Consider the comments left by some readers of the Zimmerman article:
“What I find to be the most interesting, is the lack of media attention this story has garnered. This should be a dream topic for most talk show hosts; A high school student, from the ‘hurricane ravaged state of Lousiana (sic),’ speaking out against a notable (in the media anyway) politician.”
Translated: “A mere high school student is much smarter than a creation-believing politician.”
“The dogma of the religious is ‘Never confuse me with the facts!’ Wouldn’t want to have intelligence and common sense interfere with their fairy tales.”
Translated: “Religious people have no common sense, they believe in fairy tales and are unintelligent.”
“There’s a segment of the Republican base that is actually proud of its ignorance. They look at education as a bad thing, something that only liberal elites pursue. If I were an employer, I would never EVER hire anyone who still believes in creationism. That would tell me they’re delusional.”
Translated: “If you believe in creation you are ignorant, you are opposed to education, and you are unemployable.”
OK – I know this stuff has been going on for years. What strikes me is how brutal and bullying the arguments are. As I read them I tried to imagine talking this way against homosexuality.
“Even a child knows boy + boy or girl + girl is unnatural, how come those dumb adults can’t figure it out?”
“How can advocates of homosexuality be taken seriously? It is simply their disillusioned way of thinking.”
“I could never hire a homosexual, because they are out of touch with reality.”
Attacks on the character of people are as old as the hills. They have no place in any argument. Arguments against the person (argumentum ad hominem) represent last ditch efforts to make a case when presumed facts have failed to be compelling. They are out of place when it comes to talking evolution, gay rights or any matter for debate.
I do hope Rep. Bachmann produces some evidence to support what she says. More importantly, however, I do hope everyone sees that in our society matters of faith are not simply accepted as personal convictions but are placed on trial as a test of intelligence. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith is that first great miracle in any Christian’s life – the ability to believe the unverifiable. It is the willingness to accept without proof. It is taking God at His Word. To suggest it is “anti intellectual” is to mix apples and oranges. There are many wonderfully brilliant people who believe in God, sin, salvation and creation as there are also many not-so-bright people who believe in evolution. We must never be intimidated by the bullying tactics of people who want to venerate theories to the level of fact.