Religion is inherently a little ridiculous.
I don’t mean that in a bad way, believe it or not. It’s just that, when observed under even a cursory amount of critical thought, all of these stories become ludicrous. It’s not any one religion, it’s all of them. They’re all silly. Again, I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’m GLAD that they’re silly. Mythology is supposed to be stories that you live your life around, stories that explain how one should act and behave. It’s a good thing.
Believe me, I’m a storyteller. Stories MATTER, far more than most people realize. A people’s stories can tell you things about their culture you might never imagine. And just because a story is silly doesn’t diminish it in any way, in my opinion. Whether it’s Buddha sitting under a tree, Paul on the road to Damascus, Heracles slaying the Hydra, Kali dancing on the supposed (but totally faking!) corpse of Shiva, Odin building the world out of the corpse of a giant, Inanna being stripped as she walks through the underworld, Noah getting buggered by his son, Batman punching the living hell out of the Joker- stories fucking matter, and in religious mythology even more so. “Why is this story being told” is the first thing you should ask yourself when critically evaluating a story, and religion brings that question even more to the forefront. We tell these stories to teach each other how to live. To teach each other what matters to us, as a people. TO TEACH.
But then again, a storyteller must know their place. And more importantly, they must realize that there are other things that are important, too. Like actual, legitimate knowledge. Science. FACTS. A good and wise storyteller never takes themselves too seriously, and values the intelligence of others. Specifically, scientists. The people who are figuring out shit that no other creature in three and a half billion years has worked out on this planet.
Really let that number sink in. Because the men and women who are figuring out how all of this, all of existence, came into place? Fucking unsung heroes, who each and every one of us take for granted. They’re so integral to our modern, first world lifestyle that we don’t ever think of them, and they don’t usually even ask us too. They’ve got to figure out how fucking gravity works (magnets?), they’ve got better things to do that have us shower them with praise. Even though we ALWAYS should be showering them with it.
… Which is why bullshit like this pisses me off so much.
Maybe I’m just too tired- after the usual Thanksgiving weekend mess- and my resolve is down. This is hardly different than Senator Rubio’s “I don’t know how old theEarth is” nonsense from a week earlier. But for whatever reason, this story infuriated me this morning. The notion that this is what is being taught in schools around this country is hardly new information to me. For many people, ridiculous dogma trumps actual science in the arena of “who has the right to be right”. But that doesn’t change the fact that these people are wrong.
Best estimates put the universe beginning roughly 13.7 billion years ago, but new data may end up adjusting that number quite a bit. Regardless, 4.568 billion years ago, our own solar system formed, with the Earth forming roughly 100,000 years after the sun. A proto-planet, roughly the size of Mars soon (cosmologically speaking) struck the Earth, the collision resulted in the moon. About a billion years after it was formed, chemical molecule chains formed the earliest single celled organisms. Plants, animals, bacteria, fungi- all of descend from these earliest cells. Evolution (as a concept) is not a matter actual scientists debate, and while yes, it is a theory, so is gravity. When a scientist says he has a theory, that doesn’t mean it’s some shit he just pulled out of his ass. Know your terminology.
The Bible is not a textbook. Hell it’s not even a book, it’s a compilation of somewhat related books. The Earth was not created in six days, nor does the sun revolve around it, regardless of what is said in the Bible. People and non-avian dinosaurs have never interacted directly, because they were extinct for 65 million years before our monkey ancestors started having sex facing each other.
As They Might Be Giants put it, science is real. And creationism isn’t. They are not competing theories, because creationism isn’t a theory, it’s a religious belief that in no way is based on actual, repeatable evidence. Plenty of people can reconcile their religious beliefs with actual science, because they recognize that mythic storytelling is not meant to be literal, but allegorical. If you feel that your religious faith is threatened by evolution, then perhaps you need to reexamine why you believe in whatever it is that you claim to believe in. Stop letting your self-doubt breed other people’s ignorance.
And I’m sorry to be bitchy about this, but when 46% ofAmericans say they believe in creationism- despite all evidence- what’s a guy to do? You can only feel sorry for offending willingly ignorant people for so long. If you live in a first world country and you really insist that the Earth is six thousand years old, despite the fact that you could Google that shit from your friggin’ cellphone? Too bad. I’m not going to apologize for offending such idiocy.
What I find most ironic about this is a purely personal: This coming weekend I was planning on getting a new tattoo with a few friends. I haven’t gotten one in a few years, and it’s a birthday party thing, and I decided weeks ago that this was a good time to get a new one. I’m still finishing up the design, but it’s going to be an Apatosaurus in the classic dinosaur death pose, which I’m sort of framing around an infinity symbol. When I started working on it I mostly just thought it would be a neat trick and look kind of cool; I’m already on the record as saying that Apatosaurus is thegreatest dinosaur ever. Now, though, I see it as more of an emboldened statement. Dinosaurs were real, science is real, and it always has been. This is how the universe came together in all its breath-taking wonders and horrors. Math and chemistry and an incredible amount of time shaped everything around us. A jerk with a beard is not “God”, and if “God” is real or not depends entirely upon how you define the term. It’s also irrelevant, because maybe “God” really just means “SCIENCE”. I doubt the people who made these “science” books ever considered that.