In the debate between skeptics and creationists, the skeptics have it good. Not because they argue from a position of truth (or Truth) but because they assume a defensive position. The creationists attack some aspect of evolution (why I am still not sure) and the skeptics simply demonstrate that that attack is at least erroneous and often asinine. The creationists continue to win the battles in the hearts and minds of the population while the skeptics win in the courts (thank goodness!). I ask this question: why do the skeptics not attack creationism?
I certainly can understand why science does not attack creationism - this is not its concern. Skeptics, on the other hand, are in a unique position to take the battle to the creationist's arena. Many (if not most) Christians do not believe in a literal six day creation event (and for good reason). Simply stated, a literal six day creation is not proported by scripture - at least not in Genesis.
Genesis 1-11 is not written to be interpreted as literal events; it is poetry or allegory. Certainly fundamentalist hold to a literal interpretation but the majority of Christianity does not. Why not take the discussion of whether or not a possible literal six day creation event is even tenable within a scriptural exegesis?
The Amazing Randi has done an excellent job of debunking paranormal claims because (1) he studied the techniques they use and (2) he met (and continues to meet) them in their arena. Why do skeptics resist similar tactics with creationists? Why not take the debate to religious platforms such as magazines, blogs, and public lectures? I believe that, unlike creationists willing to infiltrate the science classroom, it is bad form to debate this subject in church meetings - unless invited - but there are other venues available.
So my advice is as follows:
1. Study some commentaries on Genesis
2. Look at some Hebrew poetry resources
3. Begin a dialogue in traditionally 'safe zones' of creationists (but not Sunday School)
4. Apply the same level of argumentation and reason to these dialogues
In a future blog I will address some reasons for Christians to be skeptical about a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11.