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.