WE first encountered Jim Gaines, a reporter for the Bowling Green Daily News, when we posted Creationist Wisdom — Example 64, about two letters-to-the-editor that were written in response to one of his columns. Jim had dared to criticize the Creation Museum, constructed by Ken Ham. The “museum” is a creationist abomination built on greed, ignorance, and gullibility.
That newspaper had better gear up for a deluge of mail, because Jim has done it again. We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Jim’s newest column: Creating a stir by supporting science. The bold font was added by us:
For criticizing Ken Ham, I am accused of “attacking Christianity and all who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God.”
I must apologize. I did not realize that Ken Ham was numbered among the prophets, or that his cartoonish interpretation of the Bible was accepted as, well, gospel by the 2 billion or so Christians on the planet. If that was true, however, one would think his attendance numbers would be a bit higher. Where else can you go see a prophet nowadays?
But Jim doesn’t stop with gentle mockery. He picks up a veritable flame-thrower and marches right into the center of the pitchfork-wielding mob. Let’s read on:
Seriously, though, I’m very tired of seeing crackpots like Ham hide behind respectable Christians, claiming that they’re all being persecuted because one person making ludicrous assertions also claims to be a Christian.
Doing so begs the question: What does it mean to be a Christian? Most people assume that the definition is obvious. But anyone can claim to be a Christian, and many very strange people do. Sun Mung-Moon does. The Holocaust Museum shooter does.
Go easy, Jim. Most of the people who read your column are harmless, but one never knows …
Jim ignores our warnings. He even turns up the volume as his column continues:
And so does Fred Phelps, the ranting lunatic who pickets soldiers’ funerals because he thinks we don’t stone enough gay people to death. In fact, Phelps runs his own church, Westboro Baptist in Topeka, Kan.; just like Ken Ham, he claims to be doing God’s work.
Would anyone like to tell me that anyone who denounces Phelps’ hysterical bigotry is also “attacking Christianity?” Yet Phelps and Ham are actually doing the same thing, trying to hide their absurdities in the Bible’s aura of sanctity. They both quote biblical verses in their own defense. Phelps is rejected by the larger Christian community because his idiocies are more publicly offensive than Ham’s, but their method is the same.
Now you’ve done it, Jim! For us, this will merely generate more material for our blog. But for you — the crazies know who you are and where you work.
If someone says to me, “I’m a Christian, which means I think we should all be kind to one another, as Jesus taught,” then I reply, “That’s fine. In fact, that’s admirable.”
But if they say, “I’m a Christian, which requires me to believe that Jesus rode around Galilee on a pet dinosaur,” my reply is, “That’s ridiculous.”
We often try to make the same point when we contrast private faith in un-evidenced things (which doesn’t trouble us), with the creationists’ fanatical demand that we must all be taught to believe in disproven things. Jim just made the same point, and he did it better. Moving along:
Evolution is scientifically accepted because it has withstood 150 years of that criticism, and only grown stronger as more research has been done.
When the blatant inconsistencies in Ham’s museum are pointed out, the standard cop-out is to write them off as miracles. It was all God’s handiwork, after all; so it can’t be expected to match what’s now understood of natural laws. But the point of the Creation Museum is to argue that the Genesis story is real science, and conforms to scientific standards. You can’t have it both ways. It can’t be a law-violating miracle and perfectly logical at the same time.
That’s why creationism is not science, and hence doesn’t belong in science classes.
The newspaper’s website has a “comments” feature below the column. We’re early, and so far we don’t see any comments. If you support what Jim is doing, why not click over there and give him a word of encouragement?
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