Tuesday, August 07, 2012

In Which I Promote Atheist Dogma? Seriously?

I really hate to break this to you, but it turns out that I'm now lying on behalf of atheists everywhere.

It was news to me, too. Especially because, you know, I'm not an atheist.

I don't know if I mentioned that I've been doing some freelance writing lately. Just a little bit.  I wrote two articles on assignment for Alaska Magazine.  One was about fish fraud (Yes, seriously. It's a big problem!) which is a fascinating subject.  You can read that article here.  The other article was about Polar Dinosaurs. There's no on-line link to that article.

I can't publish pictures of the article without violating the terms of my contract, but I created a page on this blog with the article text on it.  It's pretty fascinating and you can read it here: Dinosaur Country 

I was really happy with how the article turned out.  I loved learning about Polar Dinosaurs and wow, do I want to go to Alaska now. I wish I could go tag along with Dr. Fiorillo and try to see the world through his eyes. (Only, I would like to skip any encounters with bears. I'd like to go on record as being JUST FINE with skipping THOSE.)

As a writer, it was fun to flex my "science" muscle.  I don't often get to write about hard scientific fact--documentable, peer-reviewed, expanding our knowledge of this planet and how we all got here. I probably bothered Dr. Fiorillo to death clarifying my factual data --I have a huge fear of perpetuating ignorance or misinformation.

But then, see, someone wrote a letter to the Editor. In it, the writer (a (presumably) ordained pastor) calls the scientists "modern-day prophets of atheism" because "evolution is the foundational doctrine of atheism." He just calls ME a liar.  "A fable can truthfully be told as fable, a story, but when fable is passed off as fact, it is a falsehood --a lie!"

And I was kind of...well, speechless about it. I mean, on one hand, it's FUNNY. It makes me laugh that people honestly think the world didn't begin until humans started walking the earth. Doesn't that remind you of how toddlers think you just stay frozen when they're not there to interact with you? It used to amaze my children that I did stuff during the day while they were at school. You know, WITHOUT THEM.  It's really funny that people can't conceive of the world being older than homo sapiens and can't conceive of God as anything other than what they can understand inside their tiny brains.

Well, okay, maybe not funny.  Maybe more sad.

And I love that as soon as this guy hits something he can't fit into his tiny God box, he starts slinging names at me. I must be a liar if I'm going to write about dinosaurs being alive 65-70 million years ago. AND THEN, he goes on to accuse me of spouting atheist dogma, as if atheism was a religion. Which, you would think, a so-called "man-of-God" might know is inaccurate.

But whatever. Let him believe what he wants to believe, because that's the choice we have in this country.

For the record, I've never felt that science was mutually exclusive from faith, nor have I ever felt that we humans understand more than the tiniest fraction of the wonder of either.


Murr Brewster said...

What I've always thought was that creationists are people who believe in God but don't believe he has any imagination.

Barb said...

I LOVE that!! No imagination? Have you SEEN a narwhal? What about a platypus?

Becca said...

Barb, you have to watch the show Freaks and cCreeps on Nat Geo (or see it online). So many cool weird amazing humorous things!

I am sorry the wacko letter writer was given any space in the magazine. Please don't take it personally. Your articles were excellent, and I should know, I assigned and edited them!!!!!

Thesauros said...

"One was about fish fraud"

The very idea of fish fraud strikes me as so profoundly disappointing that I couldn't bring myself to read the article. I've always had a special place in my heart for fish. I used to sleep with one when I was a boy. So to find out from you that fish, something that looks so harmless (sure they eat each other but . . .) would actually try to con and manipulate other fish (please tell me they don't go beyond defrauding each other)is just heart wrenching.

I don't know how you can stay in that business. You must have thick skin girl.

Good luck on your journey.

Barb said...

@Thesauros --Nope, it's people committing fraud using seafood. Your respect for your fishy friends can remain intact.

My skin is clearly not thick enough. In fact, I think I'm actively working to make it thinner. Which serves me well as a sensitive being in this world, but makes me a lot more vulnerable to mean-spiritedness.

@Becca --High praise from you!

Tenna Draper said...

This brings to mind and nearly factualizes the theory that matter (ie people) are made up of mostly space. But some people have their beliefs, and they are welcome to them, for sure.

In other words, don't let it get to you. There will always be someone out there who will either agree or disagree with you. You, on the other hand, believe whatever it is you believe, and if you're a liar, then it's GOD"S business. Other people can keep their nasty comments and meanness to themselves. Water off a duck, baby.

Eileen Jackson said...

So we can't talk about what we know about dinosaurs now without being LIARS?

My poor kid is in so much trouble...

Barb said...

Actually, the letter writer didn't dispute the existence of dinosaurs, just the timing of them. He says the Bible is pretty clear that they perished in Noah's flood. Funny, I don't remember any mention of dinosaurs in the Bible, but then again, I am not an ordained pastor.

mamabeth said...

What creationists fail to remember is that it took God SIX days to create the world, and man was his last creation. Nowhere does it say exactly how long one of God's days is or what all He tried while creating all the various creatures. Maybe He did a lot of experimentation? Started with dinosaurs but decided they weren't such a good idea (although why He let prehistoric cockroaches hang around is a mystery - the Big Guy's got a wicked sense of humor). I have never had a problem merging faith with science. It's called FAITH for a reason...

mamabeth said...

Thesauros, did I detect a bulge in your cheek?

psam ordener said...

Tell the creationist that evolution exists - ergo, God created it. Perhaps He did that to see just how far some folks will stick their head into the sand, and he is both amused and saddened by the creationist plot to erase science from the earth.

Shaatzie said...

Congratulations on getting an article published.

As for your atheist friend, me, I waiting for the Rapture and seeing who gets lifted into the sky.

Is it possible that global warming is off to a slow start for the rapture and the very ones denying it are the ones who are supposed to leave their garments behind, and suddenly rise up in glory.

If so, it's going catch them off guard...so anyway, I just had to chime in with the foolishness of it all.

Keep on writing and sharing with us.

Ann in NJ said...

Kudos to you for being able to take free speech to heart. I'm not sure the founding fathers had "free speech, no matter how wacky and misguided" in mind when they wrote the First Amendment, but that's how we interpret it now!

Thesauros said...

Oh, so you're not an expert in fish, exactly. Therefore you wouldn't be able to tell me why my fish always had such a hard time winding down before they went to sleep. Every single one of them. Even though they had their own pillow.

Barb said...

When my fish have a hard time settling down onto their little pillows, I find it necessary to revoke their Starbuck's privileges for a week or so.

knittergran said...

My younger daughter works in LA. One day a co-worker wondered why we have an appendix---that it is perhaps left over from when we had to digest dinosaur meat. My daughter said, "We didn't eat dinosaur meat." The co-worker asked, "Were we vegetarians then?" I am not making this up.
What are the schools teaching?
And congratulations on the writing!

Bullwinkle said...

Loved the dinosaur piece. Love your attitude (and the thin skin. Without thin skin we wouldn't have your compassion and understanding.)

Congrats on the writing :)