Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monkeying with Darwin

Kirk Cameron (aka “Banana Boy“), the former sit-com star and spokesman for the anti-evolution movement, is promoting a 150th anniversary edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species with a special introduction written by fellow fundie Ray Comfort that basically attempts to refute everything that follows and adds, at no additional charge, the bogus claims that Darwin inspired Hitler. They can do that — the book is in the public domain.

The plan is to hand out copies of the adulterated book on college campuses because, as Mr. Cameron asserts in a promotional film clip, colleges are overrun by atheist professors: “A recent study revealed that in the top 50 universities in our country, in the fields of psychology and biology, 61 percent of the professors described themselves as atheist or agnostic.” (The same study shows, however, that the majority of college professors are not.)

I don’t have a problem with Mr. Cameron handing out copies of the book, even though I cringe at the idea of someone going in and writing a fallacious and truth-challenged introduction. What I find insulting is that he assumes college students, who are mostly adults, are too stupid to make up their own minds, or that science cannot co-exist with religion. After all, if it’s not a problem for the Catholic Church any more (that whole thing with Galileo is behind them now, right?), then why are they so touchy? Are they so insecure about their faith in the bible that they feel threatened by the overwhelming scientific evidence that the world was not created 6,000 years ago on a Tuesday and started out with two naked people and a talking snake? (Sometime we must really have a discussion with these folks about the concept of allegory.) Science doesn’t exist to disprove religion, nor does it require you to give up your faith because the facts prove that the world is round and the sun does not revolve around it.

If Mr. Cameron and his crusaders were so confident in their beliefs, they wouldn’t go around defiling a book. Instead, they’d give away both the original On the Origin of the Species and the bible and let the students make up their own minds (vide the last scene in Inherit the Wind). What are they afraid of?