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The Satisfaction of Beating the Village Idiot

Posted on 2014.02.05 at 21:10
Mental Status: sicksick
I hate to tell this to everyone in the middle of high fiving one another, but Ken Ham, the owner of the Creation Museum in Kentucky, is a fringe guy.  He’s the village idiot of the Christian community…. Yes, we have them.  Everyone does.  He is so fringe that he is denounced by Pat Robertson.  How far out do you have to be to have that happen and for it to make sense?

We do this today, we do this SO much today.  We take fringe people from the side we disagree with (or don’t like) and we put them on a stand and say “everyone that disagrees with us is just like THIS person”, when they are pretty far from representative.  We have to feel good so much that we do this all the time.  We go get the 1950’s equivalent of the owner of the “Mystery Hole” in order to make what we believe feel BETTER.  The left does this, the right does this, people of faith do this, atheists do this, every group trying to make a point is doing this.  That is something that has come about with the internet age, because it is easier to find a fringe person to go up against now more than ever.

You want Bill Nye up against someone?  How about C.S.Lewis or Heisenberg?  Not the guy that made meth, but the REAL Doctor Werner Heisenberg, the scientist that expanded our understanding of Quantum Mechanics.  Both of them were pretty devout Christians that would defend their faith publically.  It was not a contradiction for them to be men of reason and at the same time men of faith.

Not that they would defend the ideas of Ken Ham.  That is looney tunes.  And before you get all excited and tell me how you are opposing the voices of ignorance, please get a sense of history.  Do you think this country is more religious or less religious than 50 years ago? 100 years ago?  Which direction do you think this subject matter is marching?  And your concern for these remote rural areas is touching, but is this the biggest thing these areas need help with?  Trust me, the most important subjects a young kid can get is math and reading.  With those firm foundations and a love for learning…. They are going to bring in everything else and they will learn right.  I went to a public high school and Mr. Rafa did spend 10 minutes talking about creationism.  Well, maybe he mentioned it over 10 seconds.  It didn’t slow down my classmate who became a world class heart surgeon.  It didn’t stop the guy that went to Yale and works for Goldman Sachs.  It didn’t stop the dozen engineers we made or the two dozen others that went into medical fields.  It didn’t stop the handful of scientists that we created either.

Ken Ham got a platform that he never would have gotten otherwise.  He’ll probably pick up more followers.  Not because he’s right, he’s dead wrong.  Not because he was eloquent, he wasn’t.  He’ll get followers because there is generally something revolting about people celebrating taking down the village idiot.  And in this interconnected social networking age, it is easier to pick up people who just want to be contrary for heck of it.


dancer at 2014-02-06 17:07 (UTC) (Link)
More and more I'm glad that I have less and less time for the internet nowadays. :)
saber_rider at 2014-02-06 22:06 (UTC) (Link)
According to Gallup polls, amongst those that don't go to church regularly, 25% believe that god created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years. Amongst those who go weekly, that number jumps to 67%. It's kinda hard to think of at least 25% or more to be a "fringe" part of Christianity. Accounting for demographics, that's something like one of eight people in the US believe in a literal creation, or more. I give a lot of credit to people of faith who make it clear that their common faith with radicals doesn't stop them from denouncing their radical ideas. If the majority of people of faith were willing to draw a line regarding such ideas, I'd have a much better view of religion. However, there's plenty of people who even if they don't agree with the ideas believe they should be given respect, simply because they are religious in nature. This makes religion at the very least complicit in the spreading of misinformation. Nobody really cares about what the village idiot is saying, but nobody should support his ideas as valuable contributions.

The telling part of Ham's dialog is that nothing would convince him otherwise. It's his faith. But from the outside view, he happens to believe one part of the bible more than other, non-fringe Christians do. When asked a similar question, many people of faith will respond the same way. Nothing will convince them their faith is wrong, because it's their faith. You're certainly right that there's plenty of misrepresentation going on. But in this case a lot of it is to point out how faith quickly leads to absurdity. I've met plenty of people of faith who believe that religion is a matter that's really only between them and their god, and perhaps those that hold similar beliefs. But when a person's expect their faith to be relevant to anybody else, it doesn't matter if it's a fringe belief like creationism or a mainstream belief like (for example) the divinity of christ. They're all equally unsupported, irrational beliefs.
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