Ad hominin attack

Scientists say they’ve discovered a new hominin species in South Africa.

Those scientists, always with their ad hominin attacks. They’re always coming at religious literalists with deeply personal insults, like, for example, you’re an ignorant buffoon (as though fundamentalists should be classed among primates!). neladi

Indeed, much of science is deeply insulting to those who think that Adam and Eve really lived, a snake once talked, and all human awareness came from an apple. Were the Adam and Eve story literally true, then, for early populations to have flourished, our first hamlet must have been beset by a hedonistic incestuous free-for-all. But that doesn’t stop millions of Americans from believing it. (If Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar taught Josh that the Adam and Eve story was the literal truth, they can’t blame him for seeing sibling coitus as anything less than biblically sanctioned.)

What about these scientific harangues is so deeply, personally offensive? Well, if scientists are to be believed – about evolution, especially – then those who regard faith as science (and science as blind faith) must necessarily accept the following:

  • That their whole lives have been devoted to a myth (and not a terribly good one).
  • That their own kin and their own most trusted guides have been complicit in the waste of their lives.
  • That they themselves are so gullible as to be amenable to a laughable fraud.
  • That they are, in two words, deeply stupid.

If scientists are right, then it isn’t just the evangelical worldview that collapses; it’s the ground underneath evangelicals – the ground from which they view the world. In other words, science is not an attack on what fundamentalists think, but how they think.

In my very first law-school class as a student, the professor called on a fellow student and asked him to explain the court’s holding in one of the cases that had been assigned as reading. The student had obviously read the case and prepared for class, but he was not prepared for the intellectual probing that he rather haplessly confronted. The professor said to him something that has stuck with me to this day, almost 20 years hence: “Just sit down and stop talking. I don’t like the way you think.” I thought to myself at the time, ouch – that is about the meanest thing a prof could say to a new student. It’s disconcerting to be told you’re wrong, but it’s downright devastating to be told you’re incompetent.

And that is what scientists are telling the credulous flock when they discover something that lays bare the ignorance of literalist religious beliefs: sit down and stop talking. It’s not just that your opinions are stupid; it’s that you’re too stupid to have opinions.

So we can expect a violent push-back against the recent discovery of Homo neladi. (One can hear the teabagger now: “Homo NoLady? Yeah no shit – they like boys.”) Fundamentalists won’t believe it – especially the part about this species having predated fundamentalists’ 6,000-years-ago historical starting point by, oh, let’s see, around two and a half million years. They won’t believe it because they can’t. This new discovery does more than call into question the accuracy of their white-boy-rides-a-dinosaur display at the Museum Of Modern Dolt; it calls into question, in addition to fundamentalists’ core beliefs, the mechanisms of their believing.

We CONCUR with the conclusions of scientists and DISSENT from the views of biblical literalists.

Please file your concurring or dissenting opinion in the Comments section below.

by Brendan Beery

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