Response to Creationist 15

15. “Because science by definition is a “theory” – not testable, observable nor repeatable” why do you object to creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?”

My first reaction to 15 was an overwhelming urge to throw a dictionary in her face.

Now I’ve taken some time to consider the 22 creationists and the roots of their flawed beliefs, I think I’m able to formulate a more considered, effective response.

Make sure the dictionary is a hardback.

It’s one thing to confuse evolution for a theory and to underestimate the mathematical rigour of real science. It’s quite another to begin your argument with (and, presumably, to base your entire view of science and of the world on) a definition which is precisely the opposite of the actual definition.

I’m willing to make allowances for the idiotic teens who think they know it all. That’s just what teens are like. One hopes that (paraphrasing Mark Twain) at least some of the younger creationists will, when they reach the age of twenty-one, be astonished at how much scientists have learned in the intervening years.

But for someone like 15 to have reached middle age and be able to hold up that sign is unforgivable.

What can we deduce about her? Certainly that she was never on her school’s debating team. Otherwise she’d know that quoting the dictionary definition of the topic is the most clich├ęd way possible to begin your argument. And that if you insist on doing it, you should at the very least actually look up that definition.

Do I really have to treat 15 with some kind of respect and attempt at understanding? Her question is the equivalent of me saying, “Because religion by definition is a “fiction” – making no attempt to describe the world, its origins or how we should behave – why do you object to me dismissing it out of hand?” 15 would splutter in disbelief and, quite rightly, accuse me of completely misrepresenting her doctrines, and carrying out a willfully ignorant hatchet job without having even a basic understanding of them. And I would be ashamed to admit she was right.

I don’t care how poor her high school science education was. I don’t care how charismatic and convincing her preachers were, or that she’s a hostage to the topsy-turvy ideas of their creationist propaganda. And I don’t care how pervasive the reinforcement of these views is among the society she’s a part of. I wouldn’t dare walk into a religious debate and start mis-quoting Biblical passages and claiming that they say the opposite of what they actually say, and I would have not a little sympathy with the other side if one of them threw a Bible in my face in response.

Actually, that’s quite a good idea for trolling creationist debates. Anyone want to give it a go?

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