Playing with language

It’s become quite popular, especially since the release of The God Delusion, for the proponents of religion to throw certain terms on to their secular counterparts. Take for example this excerpt from a recent interview with Richard Dawkins.

So, ironically, you have an evangelistic zeal about this.

As a science teacher, it is an important thing. “Evangelistic” would be an unfortunate word, if it suggested loyalty to some sort of book. It’s loyalty in my case to scientific evidence.

“Zeal” I’m happy to live with.

The zest with which those of religious persuasions thrust terms on to atheists that are generally reserved for their own world views is getting out of hand. The above excerpt is just one example. Pay attention and you’ll see far more. Atheists and humanists are “devoted” and evolution is a “religion”.

These terms can generally be discarded because 1) they tend to just be rhetoric, 2) they tend to come from people who believe in dinosaurs around the time of the agricultural revolution, and 3) they’re blatantly wrong and ill-thought. We should, however, pay some attention because they’re also delightfully ironic.

Evolution is called religious belief. People say “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”. Blah, blah, blah. That’s fine rhetoric, but it’s also fine humor. What is the point in calling evolution “religious” or using terms related to faith when speaking of atheism? It’s to indicate that these things have little to no basis; those who use these terms are being derisive – that’s the whole point. Faith in evolution is a bad thing because it is merely faith. It has no substance behind it. Of course, that’s patently stupid. Evolution is nothing but evidenced. But these creationists/less-honest-creationists-who-hide-behind-the-lie-of-intelligent-design are correct about one thing: faith is a bad thing. It should be derided. It serves little purpose but to delude people.

I suppose I’m fine with Bible-thumpers calling me a man of faith. I just hope they begin to realize that by doing so they are undermining the very basis for their beliefs in magic and skyfairies.