With the explosion of religious debate in social media and in the mainstream, even the average christian gets involved. When confronted with difficult questions and opposing positions, apologists aren’t doing Christians any favors by spreading false information and even outright lies. Since venturing from the safe haven of philosophy, where religion has survived for over 2000 years, and now spilling over into the realm of science, most Christians make the mistake of referencing mostly from christian apologetic sources. This is the causal chain of the circulation of misinformation, bad science, fallacious argumentation, and blatant deception. People like William Lane Craig, Duane Gish, Dinesh D’souza, and even Kent Hovind become the religious authorities which ultimately leads so many self-proclaimed laymen theologians and creationists into falling victim to this trend. This is why these debates seem repetitive. We, as atheists, agnostics, etc. are constantly confronted with the same ignorance and misconceptions about evolution, physics and cosmology. There are many Christians that I encounter that still think we came from monkeys, evolution is “chance” or “accidents”, and the big bang was a giant explosion. How many times must these misunderstandings be corrected? I had one girl tell me she thought atheists worshiped the devil. It makes one wonder where these misconceptions came from and why we keep hearing them over and over again. Most average Christians need only to hear that the conclusion is God to believe the rest at face value. This would make their position easy to disregard if it didn’t have such damaging effects. With the assault on education and public policies, this has serious sociological consequences. We simply cannot allow science to be distorted this way.
Just looking at the scientific side for a moment, we have to be honest that the antiquated beliefs from the iron age just can’t be reconciled with the advancements and discoveries of modern science. Yet, old religious views are being brought back to the front lines once again. Only this time those beliefs are challenged by an even greater authority, evidence! Science finally has the answers to questions religion has hid behind for thousands of years. This has apologists scrambling in hopes to merely level the playing field. Relying on the equivocation of terms like “belief”, “theory”, “evidence”, and “faith”. Fallacious argumentation such as God of the gaps, arguments form ignorance and ad populum somehow become “proofs” for Christianity. Relying on ad hoc hypothesizing and special pleading to dress up their argument and give it the appearance of being scientific. And how do they attack the opposing arguments? By preaching misconceptions like “atheism and Darwinism are religions” (in the I know you are but what am I tradition), the “teach the controversy” conspiracy theory (that oddly seems to only include the christian worldview), and the shifting of the burden of proof. The idea is to render the opposing position just as faith based and unsupported as the one posited by the believer. This, of course, is false. Religious propositions are wildly un-scientific and the conclusions are vacuously absurd. As Victor Stenger says, “When the evidence disagrees with a scientific proposition, the proposition is discarded. When the evidence disagrees with a religious proposition, the evidence is discarded.” They further their rhetorical attack with ad hominem and strawman fallacies (Hitler was an atheist, evolution leads to social Darwinism, etc.). Once the apologist can make both appear as “faith”, or two sides of the same coin, then it is essentially a coin flip. That’s when religious preaching takes over and the apologist makes an appeal to God. The Bible shows just how conflicting “religions” are to be dealt with. Divisive tactics such as this have always been a staple of religion and long served as a justification for whatever means found necessary to maintain it’s control. Thus insuring it’s survival through spreading the word. Only now it’s not at the end of a sword, or at the mercy of plague and suffering, but by invading the lands of biology, cosmology, and neuroscience and replacing fact with superstition, reason with faith, evidence with apophenia. In the apologists wake, the average follower is left close-minded from already having the answer to everything, leaving them locked in their little box with their favorite toy. – Rich