Last week Nightline hosted the first of a series of debates on contentious issues, this one focusing on the divide between evolution and Christianity. In this corner, the Rational Response Squad, two snarky Gen X atheists. In the other corner, uh, Kirk Cameron. And his pal. Before diving in, let me offer Nightline a bit of advice: if this is the best you can do for your big debut, just pack it in. Save me, I beg you, the grief. Please.
In his opening remarks, Kirk claimed God can be proved, 100%, by science. Which was a pretty astounding revelation, considering that an 80's sitcom actor had figured out what thousands of years of philosophers and scientists and artists had failed to do. Of course, the 100% scientific reasoning he would go on to employ would be anything but scientific or even rhetorically sound. He claimed that any "self respecting" biologist would tell you that evolution as theory was suspect, that the fossil record contained no examples of transition species (I'm guessing Neanderthal, Cromagnon, etc., just don't count) -- this led to one of my favorite parts, where he held up drawings of croco-ducks, a willfully obtuse misrepresentation of the ideas we're discussing. Even better, Kirk himself brought up the platypus, the very sort of creature he claims just would never possibly exist, saying, "Isn't God wonderful?"
I want this guy to be my lawyer. "Yes, we have high definition video with Dolby True HD Sound of my client taking a hybrid flamethrower-chainsaw-loofa to the so-called 'victim' but we're all imagining it, so I move for all charges to be dropped."
The atheists partly annoyed me, often too snarky by half. But they made quick work of Kirk, piledriving him at every turn. He could never mount a particularly cogent response to, say, snakes with vestigial legs, male nipples and mammary glands, the appendix, and on and on. The mention of carbon dating drew amazed disdain from Kirk and cohort not because it's a wildly inaccurate means of determining something's age but because it has to be in their hypothesis of creation.
And therein is the great foible of the modern hyper-evangelist: his rationale, invariably, because it can't, by definition, be scientifically proven, falls back upon God said it so it's true. Which isn't scientific or provable or 100% anything.
In other words, it's the essence of faith and, also by definition, it is, or should be, if you believe, enough. There's no need to go head to head with science: they aren't even concerned with the same things. It isn't a value judgment on either. It just speaks to a weird complex in this section of Christianity that is alternately over the top aggressive or plagued with an inferiority complex.
Jesus called people, including Kirk, to do far better things than look like fools on national television.