One of the great problems with American fundamentalism is the fact that it is so deeply rooted in a house of cards of shallow mythology that is easily debunked by a quick view of science. Since most fundamentalists already know this, they make the only logical choice available to them regarding science: ignore it. Pretend it doesn’t exist. A new book challenges these beliefs with a helping of cold, hard fact — and a deep understanding and compassion for those who still hold these beliefs.
Creationism is one of the most important sacred cows that fundamentalists hold; the belief that the world is no more than 10,000 years old. Oh, they might reluctantly agree that the universe itself is much older, but much of their entire worldview is built around a young earth myth that is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible.
David. R. Montgomery’s new book, The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood, published this year by W. W. Norton & Company, covers many of the critical issues of the flood myth with an even-handed approach. In it, Montgomery also covers some of the history of the creationism movement, pointing out that it — along with modern fundamentalism — is a relatively new thing.
Religion Dispatch’s Brook Wilensky-Lanford interviewed Montgomery about the book, and the article itself is a keen insight on the motivation behind its writing. About the creationism movement, Montgomery said:
the creationists have chosen to go back to a literal interpretation of the flood story, using arguments that were recognized and rejected in the 1780s. Throughout that time, there was a whole other tradition of faith in the world around us, a belief that God didn’t create an incomprehensible universe. And they’ve just walked away from that. It’s bad theology dressed as science.
The full interview can be read over at Religion Dispatch, and I strongly encourage my readers to check it out. Another snippet:
I’ve never understood how creationists are perfectly comfortable calling evidence of the flood of Eastern Washington a “global flood” when you can map the edge of it! And another thing—if Noah saved two of every species, and yet 99 percent of animals preserved in the fossil record are extinct species, when did everything go extinct? Either Noah didn’t do his job, or they’re wrong.