Reality Check: Theology Of Science

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.

—Charles Darwin

The “what should be” never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no “what should be,” there is only “what is.”

—Lenny Bruce


A feral cat is slowly making its way across the frozen tundra of what was once my backyard; its painful strides sucked into a mass of ice and snow becomes a strange ballet. The light gray coat of its hair contrasts drastically against the infinite expanse of white. I cannot turn away from its struggle. It is mesmerizing.

The weather has been brutal here for weeks, maybe months; causing us to become shut-ins at the Clemens Estate. We chose not to brave the elements à la the cat; whose survival I wager is at best a coin flip. Although it has maintained its stride across two hurricanes over the past two years, weird rain squalls and high-shifts of wind, spastic temperature spikes and radical dips. It’s been something of a bizarre ride; certainly odd enough to admit, without any scientific proof, that some weird shit is going down.

Yet there is a preponderance of facts available on climate change or global warming or inconvenient truths, and while I do not profess to agree or disagree with it, as if one can agree or disagree with two-plus-two-equals-four or that gravity exists or that Peyton Manning is most likely to suck in a postseason football game, there is something afoot. It is interesting that despite overwhelming scientific data there continues to be a debate on whether humans have or will continue to fuck up the environment.

Of course we do.

This is the point of human existence. Like every living organism, we are acutely aware of our environment and possess an insatiable urge to manipulate it for our needs. But unlike other creatures, we see no need to preserve it. We possess a denial chip in our psyches that obliterates what should be an intrinsic sense that our resources are finite and the abuse of them bear consequences. It is not unlike Hitler in the bunker ordering armies that didn’t exist to fend off the Russians.

Because even if we gave a flying fart that we’re destroying the environment, are we really equipped to do anything about it? Or, more to the point; is the will there? Perhaps we do nothing because it’s scary and it seems icky to admit that by simply “being” we are skunking our own playground.

The cat is well on its way to the top of what looks to be a rather large mound of snow—a precarious march; only the frigid temperatures keep the poor thing from sinking into a quagmire of slush.

Speaking of which, I saw a report the other day on an upcoming film on the Biblical story of Noah. According to the commentators, this opus appeared “too dark,” although neither of them had seen it. This got me wondering what part of the Noah story is not dark. Is there something I’m missing—omniscient godhead gets pissed at its creations, hatches a plan to drown them all, and to hedge the bet, gives a head’s up to one of them and tells him just to be safe; “Hey, why not keep two of every species, so they can repopulate the place after this catastrophic hissy fit?”

It’s bedtime material, really.

The same people presupposing this nightmare as some kind of heartwarming episode in human history would likely decry it as a blasphemous harangue on the Almighty if it happened to come out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s head.

This is the same principle applied to Creationism, which using the same denial concept as ignoring our place in fucking up the planet, has a fairly enormous following among humans—defiantly ignoring decades of applied science and factoids presented to the contrary. This is an interesting balancing act; the concept of believing in something, as opposed to knowing it.

For instance, take racism. Racism is nothing more than a religion or a belief system, a strong conviction in the face of reality. Maybe people a century ago could kind of get away with this nonsense, like many centuries ago people believing the sun revolved around the earth—an earth that is only 6,000 years old due to dogmatic teaching—but now?

We are forced to confront racism simply because we cater to the rationale of the simpleton, like those who still maintain that the worth of a woman in the workplace or her standing in society is a teeny bit less than that of the man or that somehow homosexuals should not be afforded the same rights as those of us who choose to wed the opposite sex. It’s, you know, selective belief with no tangible evidence to back it but conviction.

But I get it. I do. Science or fact has a way of nudging the belief factor into oblivion, which believers must avert. This was the tough crowd Galileo and Darwin had to play.

The other day I sustained a serious head injury and found myself glued to the Bill O’Reilly show. In it, he unfurled a heavily-worded argument about something with not a shred of statistical or empirical evidence to back it up. His reasoning was, I think, “This is what I believe, and the opposite is silly and wrong, period.” Then my head cleared and I turned this idiot off.

You do realize that pro-life advocates point to the advancements in technology and science (ultrasound) to dispel previous theories on human life not existing in some form far earlier than anyone had “believed” even 20 years ago. However, these same types flip the fact-switch to oppose the biological data accrued over the same period, which unequivocally proves that homosexuality is a trait of certain humans, like eye color, and not some kind of choice, as in wearing white after Labor Day.

Ah, that cat is well on its way now; under a tree, breathing hard and staying the course. Wherever it’s going, it looks like it will get there…this time. But what about tomorrow?

Which brings this thing full circle—back to this horror show winter and its massive storms and Western droughts and people stuck in cars for days on an Atlanta byway eating their young.

I am fairly sure we’ve irreparably fucked this planet pretty good and we ain’t gonna stop.

We’re humans. We fuck things up.

This would explain the whole Noah thing.

You’re welcome.

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James Campion is the Managing Editor of the Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of “Deep Tank Jersey,” “Fear No Art,” “Trailing Jesus,” “Midnight for Cinderella,” and “Y.”