Investing in fundamentalist ‘science’…

darwin truth

 

My friend Graham posted something on FB the other day about the Creation Museum, a vast expensive building and education center to spread the truth about Creationism and the heresy of evolution.

There are some photographs here that give you a rather tongue in cheek take on some of the exhibits.

For those of you who thought that Creationism of this kind is a fringe, even lunatic belief- think again. The museum is huge, must have cost a fortune, and is the centre of a thriving industry of teaching materials (mostly home schooling) for the religious right in the USA.

They teach that the world is 6 thousand years old. All evidence to the contrary (which can not be true or the Bible would have said something different) is debunked, countered with sometimes bizarre logic. Dinosaurs died in the flood- which also explains fossils. Eroded gorges like the grand canyon were made because of the receding flood waters. It must be true because it has been declared to be so by creation ‘scientists’.

If you want to know more about what Creationist would have us know about science, and the truth that can be found in the Biblical account, then check out this debate. It is rather long, so skip about a bit;

Does this matter? Michaela contends that it does not- she does not care how old the earth is, or what people chose to believe about it. In one sense I agree with her. The American mid west with its enclosed rigid enculturised religion stands for so much that I find problematic, so I should not be surprised that they put up multi million dollar museums to tell us that the world is flat (to be fair I am not sure they do think the world is flat- which is interesting in itself, as they seem to have ignored that part of the Bible’s description of how things are.)

On another level it does matter however- it relates to Bible-worship. If you elevate the words of a book (or your interpretation of the words of a book) above everything else – above science, above good sense, above grace, above what we know about the way Jesus behaved – then you will end up with this;

bible, dinosaurs

 

Image from here.

Of course it is, because the Bible is full of dinosaurs…

For the record, I believe that the world was created. How this happened, and how it still is being worked out in expanding creativity is the business of science.

The meaning of it all is the business of faith.

Because science can tell us an amazing story, but can never tell us why. It can never tell us about supernovas and the thousands of years their light takes to reach us, but it can not tell us much about why, out of all the million eyes watching, ours are the only ones (we know of) that are able to consciously reflect on the beauty of what we are seeing.

Climate change, science, and religion…

The news is full of the news about scientists supposedly manipulating statistics in relation to global warming.

In case you missed it, the University of East Anglia has a Climate Research Unit, and some kind soul got hold of hundreds of e-mails that staff had been sending to each other over the last few years, and made them available on t’internet.

Should you be interested enough in to take a journey into banal academia- they are all here.

The timing of this release of information, immediately prior to the Copenhagen conference on climate change which begins next week. I am sure that the intention of whoever leaked the information was to undermine the scientific case for climate change. Most people believe that this is possibly one of the most important conferences in modern history- there is simply so much at stake.

Most of us are simply not that informed. We hear competing scientific voices, and note that a political consensus is gathering speed, and feel periodically concerned for the future. We in the west are guilty about our car use, our power hungry lifestyles and our central heating, but this does not really result in many real changes to our way of life- beyond the odd energy saving bulb.

Then there are the conspiracy theorists- t’internet is full of them. Of how ‘climate change’ is really a tool to spread fear and alarm amongst the populace, and so divert attention from the evil plans of the Cabal that are really running the world according to their own self interests.

We need the scientists. And we need them to be clear, and give clear summaries in words that we can understand. Most scientists are simply not that good at doing this. There is, however, a good summary of the arguments, and the most recent science via the good old BBC- here.

Science is never fully neutral of course. It always has a line of enquiry, influenced by all sorts of things, and all sorts of value based issues. The myth of ‘pure science’ has been killed for most of we post-moderns. It really should be no surprise that the people at East Anglia University were trying to make sure that we saw things from their point of view.

There is also the questions of what motivates those people who lobby on behalf of a skeptical stance on climate change? Whose interests are being served by this lobby? Oil companies? Industries who are reliant on production systems that will no longer be profitable if forced to examine green house gas emissions in detail?

Like many of us, I think that the way of living that we are caught up in is not sustainable. Not just because of its cost to our planet, but also because of its socio-political impact, and the consequences for the worlds poorest people, in the worlds poorest countries- who tend to be the most vulnerable to climate change. We need our leaders to LEAD, and we need to hold them accountable.

These debates have found their way into faith groups.

It is great to see groups like Tear fund and Christian Aid making it clear that they see it part of the life of Christians to look after all of creation.

However, there is another side to Christian’s engagement with this issue. Evangelicals in the USA will tend to be skeptical (unlike Evangelicals in the UK for example.) Check out the ‘We get it’ campaign– which appears to suggest that the policies to reduce global warming will result in more deaths for the worlds poor, in terms of food price rises and energy shortages. Hmmm some interesting twists of logic going on in that one!

The motivation for these fixed positions, which are labelled ‘Biblical’ of course, puzzles me. Is it just that if you call yourself a ‘Conservative Evangelical’ you just naturally do not want anything to change? Is is about self interest- the American way of life? Or is it the association with big business? Or is it a reluctance to trust science- through which all sorts of evils like evolutionary theory and abortion have entered the world?

Perhaps things are starting to change however-

So friends- for the sake of future generations, lets watch and pray about the Copenhagen conference. We have much to gain, but also much to lose…