Some faithful winter reading: 2-8/9-14
Contributions by Muslim-Americans: 2-11-14

A useless creationism debate: 2-10-14

I was loathe to write about the recent creationism-science debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye (though I sort of like the fact that we're dealing in monosyllabic names here) before it happened because I thought it was a waste of everyone's time.

Creationism-vs.-EvolutionI still think that. And I'm a little reluctant to wade into it today, but I think it's worth the time to make a point or two.

First, serious journalism outlets paid at least some attention to it. Here, for instance, is the post-game analysis by someone at the Christian Science Monitor. If you don't already know, the CSM piece also will tell you more about who Ham and Nye are and the scope of the debate.

Nye, known for his "Bill Nye the Science Guy" show on TV, has been properly criticized for doing the debate at all. His participation was a way of telling people that biblical literalism that leads to young-Earth creationism is somehow a serious threat to real science and must be contested.

Well, look, I know there are lots of people who believe a lot of impossible things but when you run into people who think the moon is made of green cheese or who are convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald conspired with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President James Garfield, you simply say, "How nice" and move on.

For heaven's sake, as I noted here the other day, even Pat Robertson, who thinks God sends natural disasters to punish whole cities for allowing gay residents to live there (or something like that), said he thinks it's time that biblical literalists give up the silly notion that the Earth is just a few thousand years old and was created in six 24-hour days.

Science and religion have much to say to one another and should respect the unique perspectives of each other. But if people of faith are going to reject almost-universally accepted science, they're going to be dismissed as kooks -- and should be.

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Yes, yes, we hear lots of nice things about Pope Francis. And I have lots of admiration for him. But what really has changed about the Catholic Church since his papacy started? New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, who used to cover the Vatican, has a go at that question here. It raises the question of whether tone and style really are enough. Does tone really trump content, as Bruni writes, and is it, as he says, "everything"? Somehow I hope not.


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