I've been blogging on and off for a long time, and there is a familiar pattern. I write a lot in bursts about things that interest me. Sometimes there's a general theme to my posts, other times they are more random. But for whatever reasons I find myself enthused about writing and blogging for a while. And then I stop. Something else comes up in life. New girlfriend. A new job. Other distractions. And then after a while I get bitten by the bug again and I feel the need to post. That's what happened in January when I came back to blogging after a long break. But then, in February, I found the blogging well had dried up and I moved to other things.
It's amusing to look back at what got me blogging - or indeed as writing as PTET in the first place. Like a zillion naive skeptics, I wanted to explore and challenge my beliefs, to learn new things, and to try and work out just how so many people could be so inexplicably stupid as to not believe what I believe. If only I explained it to them slowly and patiently, I thought, I'd be able to convince them of the error of their ways. I'd make them think. And hey, I never thought I would stop anyone being a Christian or believing in God. But I did think that if only people could be made to see just how ridiculous creationism was, how it was illogical, how it was based on lie after lie, that people might think enough about their beliefs to question them. Sheesh, I thought, people can be Christians and Bible-believers all they want - but surely I can help people realize that much of what is said in the name of Fundamentalist Christianity is just patently untrue.
How wrong I was. For months and even years, I posted the same arguments again and again in blog entries and in correspondence with erstwhile Christians who wrote either to argue with what I'd said or to convert me. The same arguments again and again, endlessly repeated.
The Bible was historical. It contained remarkable prophesies which spoke to it's "truth". Jesus was the most attested-to historical figure of all time. Science backed it. Genesis in particular was incredibly and overwhelmingly confirmed by scientific understanding. All that crap.
Nothing I said in response to these arguments seemed to have the slightest effect. My correspondents would dodge and weave and avoid reading or checking anything I wrote in response.
Evolution was an atheistic construct dreamed up by amoral degenerates who wished to avoid moral accountability. If I mentioned that most Christian scientists accepted standard evolutionary theory, I was told that these people were not real Christians. If I asked whether my respondents would go out and murder and steal and rape if they stopped believing in god, the responses would comically range from outright evasion of the question to statements of such breathtaking stupidity that all chance of further dialogue ground to a halt.
So why do I write? Why should I blog? I don't want to write into the ether. I don't want to preach to the skeptical choir. There's nothing to be gained from me worrying about the very large number of eminently sensible and rational Christians and other believers who are entirely comfortable with the limits of their faith and who accept evolution and don't have to rely on the "truth" of the Bible to support their beliefs.
It is maddening to see just how immune True believers are to any arguments or evidence which contradicts them.
But hey, they see me the same way. To a fundamentalist or evangelical, it is the non-believer who is intransigent, illogical, evasive, dishonest, stupid... All these things. Skeptics come up with the same arguments which have been "refuted" time and time again on Apologetics websites, or in Christian books, etc., etc...
So what then? I've tried until I am blue in the face to show that Fundamentalism and Intelligent Design Creationism are patently wrong... I point at every turn the Christians who do accept evolution; to the origins and basis of morality outside of religion, all that.
But it gets me nowhere.
Maybe they are right. Maybe the entire world of science is an atheistic conspiracy to suppress the obvious existence of God. Maybe evolution is impossible, and the only reasonable explanation is an all-powerful, loving God. Maybe that God can only be explained by their religious beliefs. Their religious beliefs and no-one else's, of course. Maybe homosexuality and abortion are always wrong. Maybe there is no morality without God? Maybe we know all these things because God and/or the Bible say so. Or is none of that relevant? Is it really all about the science?
Then I remember words like these from Answers In Genesis:
"...when the interpretation of scientific data contradicts the true history of the world as revealed in the Bible, then it’s the interpretation of the data that is at fault. It’s important to remember that we have limited data, and new discoveries have often overturned previous ‘hard facts’..."And these, from William Dembski:
"At the same time that research in the Bible Code has taken off, research in a seemingly unrelated field has taken off as well, namely, biological design. These two fields are in fact closely related. Indeed, the same highly improbable, independently given patterns that appear as the equidistant letter sequences in the Bible Code appear in biology as functionally integrated ("irreducibly complex") biological systems, of the sort Michael Behe discussed in Darwin’s Black Box"Yup. All science so far.