False Dichotomy

false dichotomy (plural false dichotomies)

  1. A situation in which two alternative points of views are presented as the only options, whereas others are available. (source)

I live in a type of border town — between the north and the south.  Technically, making it across the Ohio River to Cincinnati equated to freedom for slaves and we were a Union state in the war, but we have our fair share of people who share traits most commonly associated with the south.

Just a mere 35 minutes away (per google maps) from my front door is the Creation Museum, where you can go learn about the dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark. Last night museum founder Ken Ham and Bill Nye (the science guy) debated creationism vs evolution.  At first I wanted to go, but then realized that I didn’t want to give that joke of a museum a dime of my money.  Plus, even my 13-year-old daughter understood how it would be when she asked me what the debate would even be about since you’d have Bill Nye talking about evolution and Ken Ham rebutting it all by saying no, it’s not in the Bible.

What else is there to say?

From all reports, she nailed it.

I reject the idea that you have to make a choice between science and religion.  There are strident fundamentalists on both the side of science and of religion who believe they are mutually exclusive, but only the fundamentalists of Ken Ham’s persuasion want to interfere with education.

The two are not opposites. In fact they aren’t even really related at all, except in the minds of people who want to try to make it so.

My kids go to Catholic school and so did I. Never did any of us learn that our creation myth was anything other than that. Never did we learn that evolution is a liberal atheist plot to lead children astray.  That is truly crazed, paranoid thinking aimed at separating you from your money or trying to get your vote.

For the record, a myth doesn’t have to be literally true to be true.  That’s their job, to point to larger truths and Jesus employed this same technique. When he said that if your eyeball causes you to sin, you should pluck it out, I don’t think he anticipated or desired a wave of self-mutilation.

I don’t know why people tend to cling to the most basic and literal translation of myth, other than that maybe it’s easier and doesn’t tax your poor brain so much.

I don’t understand the appeal of willful ignorance, nor do I understand why people cling to such a small and limited idea of God.

Coincidentally, in the last few days I’ve been catching up with a three-part interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson on Bill Moyers.  He talked about the long history of assigning anything you can’t explain scientifically as being proof of God, and how unwise that point of view is.

If that’s how you’re going to invoke God. If God is the mystery of the universe, these mysteries, we’re tackling these mysteries one by one. If you’re going to stay religious at the end of the conversation, God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread. So to the person who says, “Maybe dark matter is God,” if the only reason why you’re saying it is because it’s a mystery, then get ready to have that undone.

Exactly my point.  It’s just us trying to place God in a tiny,easy, understandable box.  Foolish is a kind judgement, if you ask me. Choosing ignorance and enforcing the same on the next generation would be closer to my opinion.

There’s no need to reconcile science and religion.  There’s no conflict between the two at all.  If someone tells you there is, I ask you to find out why.

1 thought on “False Dichotomy”

  1. Beyond the public school context, where people have been seeking to force their views/agendas on others long before Scopes 1925, it is difficult to understand why this issue attracts so much attention. Few things seem a larger waste of time than trying to convince others that a particular theory about the origin of the planet is right or wrong.

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