Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Problem with Faith

Regular readers of this blog know that I am a fierce critic of religious dogmatism, and frequently warn of the dangers of blind faith. An event recently in the news highlights my concerns.

In the town of Petersburg, Kentucky, a new multimedia "Creation Museum" opened this week. The museum seeks to convince visitors of the literal truth of the Biblical story of creation as set out in the Book of Genesis. You can visit the museum's website at and form your own opinions, but I would just offer a few thoughts.

The museum's displays, while interesting and appealing, fly in the face of hundreds of years of scientific discovery and scholarship. They ignore or offer bizarre explanations for facts that have been scientifically established and proven.

In short, the museum is a monument to the power of blind faith. Why is this dangerous? Because when people, particularly impressionable young people, rely on faith rather than the evaluation and weighing of evidence, they lose the ability to think critically and make reasoned judgements about the world around them. You don't have to look far to see what happens when faith trumps everything else: the intellectual and moral stagnation of the Islamic nations of the Middle East presents a warning sign that should be obvious to any observer.

Ambrose Bierce once defined faith as "Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel." Visit the Creation Museum and see just how accurate his definition is.

And then worry about the future.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


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