While I’ve had many online debates with creationists, before yesterday I’ve never really had a face to face encounter that resulted in much of anything. I suppose that’s a good thing, as these people are willfully ignorant and have no desire to change how they look at anything when it comes to science. So as I engaged with this person, I didn’t let them know what my political affiliation was nor did I initially express my views on any particular issue.
I simply sat back and listened to them tell me what they thought on a various list of different issues and events. I was nothing more than a spectator to their presentation of what they believed. And, to my credit, I behaved graciously – until they started going off on creationism and their beliefs.
While I stomached it for a little while, it was the moment when they said, “Science doesn’t prove anything, it’s just a bunch of theories” that I ceased being able to hold back what I felt like saying.
This person insisted that evolution, climate change and the age of our planet are not “widely accepted scientific facts.” They claimed that they’re just theories that corporate backed scientists perpetuate on people to make money. They believed not that dinosaurs and humans co-existed, but that fossils were put here by God to test our faith. No, seriously, that’s what they said.
When I pointed out that to believe in the story of Adam and Eve means that you’d have to believe that incest was acceptable, they literally didn’t seem to understand that Adam and Eve’s children would have had to have sex with one another to propagate our species.
The discussion, for the most part, was what you’d expect from your average creationist. Typical “science doesn’t prove anything” nonsense showcasing the fact they really just don’t understand science. When talking to these people it becomes pretty clear why Republicans aren’t big on improving education and often attack “liberally biased” college degrees. Because the enemy to this creationist delusion is education.
But what stuck out the most during this whole discussion was the overwhelming feeling I felt that this person had no desire to learn about anything. Their mind was made up, based on absolutely zero evidence outside of “what the Bible says.” It only reenforced my belief that creationists are more of a cult than any kind of religious organization.
It’s like when Bill Nye asked Ken Ham what evidence could possibly change his mind, and Ham essentially said ‘nothing.’ That’s the exact feeling I got from this person. That no matter what was said, proven or shown to this individual – nothing was going to change their mind.
That’s a terrifying thought, isn’t it? Millions of people, so mentally delusional that they literally will ignore any reality or facts that might contradict what they want to believe. The evidence proving why dinosaur fossils are as old as they are isn’t “evidence” because they don’t want to believe that they’re millions of years old. So no matter how in depth someone went with one of these people into explaining why a fossil is 65 million years old – it wouldn’t matter because that’s not what they want to believe.
Then it hit me, that’s how these people are with reality in general. It’s how millions of poor and middle class Americans vote for a party that supports policies that only benefit the rich, because that’s what they want to believe. It’s how they call themselves the party of “fiscal responsibility” (even though a president from their party hasn’t balanced the budget since the 50’s) because they want to believe that they’re the party for fiscal responsibility.
For these people, reality doesn’t matter. In their minds what they want to be real is what’s real to them. That’s the only thing that matters. Just as these people can sit there with a straight face and say that all this scientific evidence proving their creationist beliefs wrong isn’t valid, it’s the same mindset these people have when they see nearly 40 years of trickle-down economics favor only the rich yet still they maintain that it’s a viable economic model that will benefit the other 98% of us – eventually.
It’s mental derangement, pure and simple.
Tens of millions of people, walking around among us, living in a state of mind where no amount of reality or facts will ever have any bearing on what they want to believe.
And I don’t know about you, but it terrifies me that as time goes on these people are desperately trying to gain more and more influence over our government, our education systems and our society as a whole.