The need to challenge

More and more, I find myself presenting specific evidence for evolution to creationists. I have done it on For the Sake of Science, and I do it with personal acquaintances. I get the same results from both areas. Creationists have no responses. They are satisfied with believing without evidence, something otherwise known as “faith”. Honestly, these people actually are willing to believe in their inane anti-evolution versions of religion, yet when you tell them that Tiktaalik rosae was predicted to exist in rock layers dating to about 375 million years ago, what do they have to say? They question motivations (atheists just hate god and want to do anything that pleases themselves), quote scripture, and completely gloss over evidence. I’ve never heard a creationist rebuttal to any individual fossil (except maybe to the overhyped account of “Ida” – though not to the non-overhyped account). These people believe in massive coincidence because, well, doing otherwise is inconvenient.

But there are exceptions. It is with pleasure that I present one now.

Why are you not providing reliable sources of information on your website such as the Genome project? What you’re website is basically saying is that every field of science in every country on the planet is wrong. That’s quite an assessment on your part. Instead of attempting to prove evolution wrong, why not attempt to put your money where your mouth is. Here’s a recent challenge. Do this, and you’ll become quite wealthy: Challenging the Discovery Institute to Discover.

This is from a man who saw an anti-evolution billboard while driving. He visited the attached website. Naturally, he found egregious abuses of science. He exchanged a few emails with one of the people running the site, but couldn’t get any decent responses. He experienced one of the most common interactions with creationists. These people aren’t interested in the truth.

The rant made me feel better to get those things off my chest. It’s difficult to communicate with people that haven’t taken the time to simply read at least a portion of the information that’s available, when they sit there arguing against material that they haven’t taken the time to learn anything about, simply rejecting it prior to ever having spent any time even looking at it.

Importantly, it wasn’t simply the terrible responses from creationists that turned this man from a Christian to a non-believer. While he says his “eyes have been opened by the exposure of deception and misrepresentation the creationist movement exposes itself to time and time again”, he also shows that he actually gives a damn about truth.

I continued researching and reading and watching documentary films in an attempt to erode my lack of knowledge on the immensity of Evolution. I had known of the topic all of my life, but not to the depth that I was now pursuing. Up to that point, I hadn’t really paid attention to the debate that was going on around the country regarding this topic. I had no idea that people were so passionately against this. Not because I lived in a cave mind you, but just simply do to the fact that I focused my life on other areas of interest. I was also disappointed as to how we as Americans were perceived outside of the United States on the matter of Evolution. The shear immensity of the problem boggles the mind.

While researching, I was amazed to learn what we as a species have discovered through our research and efforts. I was also amazed to discover how the scientific field of Evolution affected other fields of science and even spawned new fields, and how all of these fields became interlaced and supported one another. It was incredible.

After a year and a half of self-imposed and self-paced learning, along with conversations with family and friends (a whole other story), the gnawing memory of my discussion with Julie finally got to me. At this point, I was too far gone with the knowledge of my discoveries to let it sit idly any further.

(“Julie” runs the aforementioned creationist website and is the person he originally emailed.)

I love this. The guy heard some information, looked into it, then made sure he actually had some background so he could decide accurately for himself. Naturally, evolution won out for him. Truth has a funny way of doing this.

But isn’t this always the story? I’ve read so many blog entries and forum posts where atheists/agnostics describe how they heard something absurd from a tick-in-the-skin creationist and decided to check things out for themselves. My story is similar. At a dinner with a friend, his mother (a creationist), and a few of his mother’s church friends (also creationists), I heard the church friends claim Earth was created 6,000 years ago. Well, to be fair, they actually questioned amongst each other if the number they heard was 6,000 or 7,000. I quickly looked into the issue. They were off by more than a smidge.

I suppose I have these inane folks to thank for spurring me toward the absolute beauty that is science. I just wish more people would actually look into the stupid claims of ignorant creationists who hate, disavow, avoid, dismember, and spurn science in favor of their ugly, ugly beliefs. Actual evidence is a far better tool for revealing truth, and that is beauty.