Over to your right, at the start of his U.S. News op-ed on creationism, Henry Morris contends that 60 percent of Americans believe in the Jewish and Christian myth of creation: that some 10,000 years ago, a Supreme Being created an Adam and Eve and so began the human race.
He cites this statistic as a reason for including creationism, along with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, in public school biology classes.
By doing so, of course, Morris exposes the silliness in his own argument.
Humans believe in lots of stupid stuff. Ghosts. UFOs. Satan. Collateralized Debt Obligations.
Our ancestors believed that the sun was a flying God named Apollo. The Hopi, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Mormons, and many other peoples have composed elaborately varying songs of creation. It is our nature, when looking out at the great twin expanses of space and eternity, to come up with comforting myths.
The alternative—”They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more”—makes for truly courageous literature, but too many sleepless nights.
Here’s a challenge for Mr. Morris, as we consider the seriousness of popular opinion. Name one great movie star who hasn’t played a supernatural being, or otherwise starred in a science fiction or fantasy flick.
The pop culture industry—that supposed font of liberal atheism—constantly fills our heads (and its bank accounts) with comforting imagery of dancing angels, talking pigs, kung fu pandas, star cruisers, zombies, cavemen riding dinosaurs, sensuous vampires, lost loved ones who linger as friendly spirits, comic book superheroes, cuddly aliens, prep schools for wizards, and cute beeping robots.
The Force is ever with us. When you add all that mythology to the pervasive influence of Sunday church services, religious schooling, and Christian rock radio, it’s a wonder that science can carve out any space in our culture at all.
Skeptical journalism? Well, consider U.S. News—which gives Mr. Morris and his superstitions equal time, in homage to “objectivity.”
And yet, we humans can compartmentalize. We may not want to weigh the pointlessness of life in every waking moment—there are too many fun things to do. But at some level we acknowledge that myths are myths and facts are facts and it’s better for the race if we keep the two things separate. The place for that is science class. And we need to keep it that way.