Are Evangelicals or University Professors More Irrational?

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Last week, The New York Times published an opinion piece by Karl W. Giberson and Randall J. Stephens, a physics professor and history professor at Eastern Nazarene College, respectively. The authors take evangelicals to task for being anti-intellectual, anti-reason and anti-science. Their evidence:

— Evangelicals doubt man-made global warming,

— Evangelicals believe that gays can “pray away” their homosexuality.

— Evangelicals believe Earth is only thousands of years old and that men lived alongside dinosaurs.

— Evangelicals oppose same-sex marriage.

Given how often they are made, it’s worth analyzing these charges.

With regard to man-made global warming, the accusation that all skeptics are anti-science is despicable and, indeed, anti-science. The list of prominent scientists who dissent — including the scientist widely considered the dean of climate science in America, Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — is so long that there are entire websites that feature their names and credentials: There’s a Wikipedia page titled “List of Scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming” and a website called PetitionProject.org.

The authors of the Times op-ed piece, like virtually all other left-wing intellectuals who comment on the subject, dismiss all skepticism regarding the Al Gore hypothesis that humanity is headed toward a worldwide apocalypse due to heat resulting from man-made carbon emissions. This is a reflection on these intellectuals’ politics, not on their commitment to science.

With regard to “praying away” homosexuality — if it is indeed the normative evangelical position that all gays, with the right faith, can cease being sexually attracted to the same sex — that position is wrong. But to the best of my knowledge, that is not the normative evangelical position; evangelicals believe that no more than they believe that prayer alone will end any undesired physical condition.

At the same time, the opposite position — the position of nearly all the liberal intellectual world — that everyone’s sexual orientation is fixed is a position also driven by ideology rather than by science. Society has a huge influence on how people act out their sexuality, including the gender of person with whom they choose to be sexual. Human sexuality — especially female — is far more elastic than the intellectual community admits. And the widespread liberal belief that, all things being equal, it makes no difference whether a child is raised by a mother and father or by two fathers or two mothers is hardly rational. On the issue of homosexuality, the intellectual left is just as driven by ideology as evangelicals.

With regard to those evangelicals — and for that matter, those ultra-orthodox Jews — who believe that Earth is less than 10,000 years old and that there either were no dinosaurs or that they lived alongside human beings, my reaction has always been: So what? I believe that Earth is many millions of years old, that “six days” is meant as six periods of time (the sun wasn’t even created until the third day, so how could there have been any days before then?) and that dinosaurs preexisted man by millions of years.

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  • ebonystone

    If one wants to consider the irrationality of the Left and its opposition to science, there's no better place to start than their position on abortion: the fetus can be aborted at any time because it's just a lump of tissue, not a human being.
    But the fetus is a living being; it takes in energy and material from outside and processes them to build and power its own body. And it has the full genetic complement of a human being. So what is it if not another human being?

    • Spider

      I will tell you what a fetus is to leftists. It is something that stands in the way of their self esteem and and narcisstic needs of self satisfaction and gratification. It represents something that patriarchial society is forcing on them. And just like everything else that stands in their way it must be destroyed. I heard of a leftist / feminist woman who got pregnant intentially just so she could get an abortion – another who took drugs during pregnancy so the child would be deaf (she wanted a child with a disability.) For certain I believe leftism is a mental disease.

      • Questions

        Has it occurred to you that there are many conservative females who seek and have gotten abortions? Calling someone "mentally ill" pretty much excludes them from being taken seriously.

        • Spider

          I don't agree with conservatives who got abortions either – I think they could have made better choices. Maybe they are not all mentally challenged but certainly morally challenged. I personally said no to an abortion after an unexpected pregnancy when I was very young and unprepared – but I did the right thing at my own expense. Now my daughter is the most beautiful thing in my life and has given me a grand son. Now I ask you where would I be had I made another choice ??

    • StephenD

      We all agree it would be wrong to kill a teen. Probably we would agree it is almost worse to kill a Toddler. What is the difference between a Toddler and a Teen? The Toddler is Less Developed, More Dependent, Less Mobile, and Smaller….That's it.
      The difference between a Fetus and a Toddler? The exact same 4 and no other. Tell me again who denies facts?

  • http://www.jochnowitz.net George Jochnowitz

    Marxism is an atheistic doctrine, but it is a philosophy that demands blind faith, and so it shares a great deal with religion. Bertrand Russell, in his 1920 book THE PRACTICE AND THEORY OF BOLSHEVISM, writtes, "The hopes which inspire Communism are, in the main, as admirable as those instilled by the Sermon on the Mount, but they are held as fanatically and are likely to do as much harm" (p. 18).
    Blind faith, whether religious or political, is a force that makes smart people stupid and good people bad.
    The faiths that are most powerful today are Marxism and Islam. http://www.jochnowitz.net/Essays/MarxIslam.html

    • Questions

      And Christianity and Judaism don't require blind faith from the youngest possible age? Try visiting Bible camp sometime and tell me that the indoctrination isn't real.

  • Amused

    Scientist know that even a zygote is a human being , in early stages of formation . Viability is another issue , at what stage can a fetus exist outside the womb ? That is scientific also .
    The issue of abortion is one of morality not science therefore one's personal decision to abort is one of morality and not based in science . Science does not support abortion , but merely describes the stages of development of a fetus . Science will also state that this process begins at conception .Science may describe a point in time in this process when any kind of concsiousness is possible .The existence of a soul howevever is purely religious and philosophical .ccccc

    • StephenD

      You breakdown the definition of a Human to be based upon level of "consciousness" or "viability" when these are false premises. Would it be ok to kill you while you are sleeping? (your level of consciousness is the same as a fetus then)? How about a paraplegic whose "viability" is dependent upon a myriad of extraordinary means to survive, is it ok to kill them? You see when you take your argument to its ultimate conclusion it can only end badly. I assume we take killing to mean "The purposeful taking of innocent human life." So, if the baby was a threat to the mothers life, she absolutely has the choice as the baby can be seen at that point as a threat and not innocent. But seriously, how many times does this happen? Abortion based on science would dictate that abortion on demand is not a healthy option for the species. Morally, it should be as reprehensible as the killing of a toddler.

    • aharris

      Well, babies can't viably exist outside the womb for a very long time because they are absolutely and utterly dependent on adults for all their needs. So, do you fall into the Holdren camp that believes that you can only start calling a child human when it becomes self aware at around the age of two or thereabouts? Even at two, a child is still pretty dependent on adults for its survival.

  • Amused

    Moral questions , philosophical questions are out of the realm of science .Science is never irrational , some religionists and university professors however -ARE .

  • Amused

    BTW Jocvhnowitz , any comparison between "the hopes that inspire communism " [as you put it ] and the Sermon on the Mount is LUDICROUS , and only expresses your ignorance of the latter .

    • intrcptr2

      Perhaps not noticing that he was quoting Bertrand Russell expresses your ignorance.

  • Ronald W. Carnine

    Mr. Prager, I believe you would call me an evangelical or maybe a fundamentalist. Yet, I was a LEO and a theologian. I believe in a literal six day creation of the universe and everything in it. One of the problems that you have to your theory that the days in Genesis were not literal six days as we know them. The fact that God created light before he created the sun isn't anti-science. Whenever you see the word "day" preceded by a number (like the third day) it is always referring to a literal 24hr. day. I don't think there is any reason to think Genesis is any different. As far as helping someone overcome homosexuality by prayer isn't all that weird as there are hundreds of people who could testify to this. As a criminal investigator I was taught to "follow the evidence" and that is what I did. Or as a famous TV cop used to say "just the facts, mamn'". There are a few crimes in which you can find "a smoking gun" so to speak, but most of the time you have to make your decision to arrest based on probable cause. That means you decide the truth based on indirect evidence(circumstantial evidence). Anyway I did like your article even though you and I disagree on some things (creation for instance). That doesn't mean we couldn't be friends and my faith does not require that I behead you (aren't you glad!)

  • Peter Hartmann

    Dear Mr. Prager,

    could you please detail how Richard Lindzen is "widely considered the dean of climate science in America"? From what i've seen he's never held a very central position.

    thanks!

    • Soylent Green

      Dear Peter,
      Whether he is or isn't, I don't know. But I was wondering; is this is supposed to be a typical liberal 'gotcha' moment' moment over an insignificant point?

  • Ralph

    "At the same time, the opposite position… that everyone’s sexual orientation is fixed is a position also driven by ideology rather than by science."

    Hypocrisy is a necessary psychological tool for the left. Or their heads would explode. What Prager says here as well as what he later said about outside influences on sexual behavior is right.

    I have a cousin who is a psychologist and she once told me that she diagnosed and treated successfully a case of, get this, repressed heterosexuality. A 'gay' man in his early twenties came to her because he was outright miserable and suicidal. He told her he had been introduced into the lifestyle when he was thirteen by older boys and later much older men who took him in hand, so to speak. Because he was fairly weak-willed they basically made the choice for him (and people don't think homosexuals recruit children. They should be in jail under the harshest conditions for that).

    The dilemma for him was that he was never comfortable with that and that he secretly loved women, something that his friends would react to in horror. My cousin then helped him ditch his degenerate friends and find a new social life as the heterosexual he really always was. According to her he is now very happy. She's a liberal who supports gay marriage but even she had to admit that this was a big part of the homosexual lifestyle. And one of the arguments they use is that kids are naturally gay and that they are only 'liberating' them. Where's the science in that?

    Nowhere, since almost every argument leftists use to justify anything from global warming to Keynesian gov't meddling to multiculturalism is almost always exactly opposite real-life experience and has to be continually propped up and enforced by lies, societal pressure and, when the mask is finally off, violence. I think they will be shocked when they get to the final outcome of all this. The longer you defer reality the harder it hits when it does.

  • wally

    Orthodox Jews believe the same things as Evangelicals, with a different twist, and not agreeing that 'Christ' (whatever that is) is Moshiach. So this attack by the oh so clever lefty-looney elites is an indirect attack on Jews.

  • Brujo Blanco

    Left wing and homo promo groups claim a person can be a repressed homosexual but one cannot be a repressed heterosexual. They claim that being a homosexual is genetic. That one is born that way. When one is living the life of a heterosexual and decides to be a homosexual that is supported and celebrated by the left. When a homosexual even expresses a desire to change sides one is vilified. Typical of left wing illogic.