Last week, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Karl W. Giberson and Randall J. Stephens — a physics professor and a history professor at Eastern Nazarene College — that takes evangelicals to task for being anti-intellectual, anti-reason, and anti-science. Their evidence:
Evangelicals doubt man-made global warming.
Evangelicals believe that gays can “pray away” their homosexuality.
Evangelicals believe the earth is only thousands of years old and that men lived alongside dinosaurs.
Evangelicals oppose same-sex marriage.
It is worth analyzing these charges, given how often they are made.
With regard to man-made global warming, the charge that all skeptics are anti-science is despicable and indeed, anti-science. The number of prominent scientists who dissent, including the scientist widely considered the dean of climate science in America, Richard Lindzen of MIT, is so long that there are entire websites that feature their names and credentials. You can find two of them here and here.
The authors of the Times op-ed piece, like virtually every other left-wing intellectual who comments on the subject, dismiss all skepticism regarding the Al Gore hypothesis that humanity is headed toward a worldwide apocalypse because of heat resulting from man-made carbon emissions. This is a reflection on these intellectuals’ politics, not on their commitment to science.
With regard to “praying away” homosexuality, if it is indeed the normative evangelical position that all homosexuals, with the right faith, can cease being sexually attracted to the same sex — that position is wrong. But to the best of my knowledge, that is not the normative evangelical position; Evangelicals no more believe that than they believe that prayer alone will end any undesired physical condition.
At the same time, the opposite position — the position of nearly the entire liberal intellectual world, that everyone’s sexual orientation is fixed — is also driven by ideology rather than by science. Society has a huge influence on how people act out their sexuality, including the sex with whom they choose to be sexual. Human sexuality — especially that of the human female — is far more elastic than the intellectual community admits. And the widespread liberal belief that, all things being equal, it makes no difference if a child is raised by a mother and father or by two fathers or two mothers is hardly rational. On the issue of homosexuality, the intellectual Left is just as driven by ideology as are evangelicals.
With regard to those evangelicals — and for that matter those ultra-orthodox Jews — who believe that the earth is less than 10,000 years old and either that there were no dinosaurs or that they lived alongside human beings, my reaction has always been: So what? I believe that the earth is many million years old, that “six days” is meant as six periods of time (the sun wasn’t even created until the Third Day, so how do you quantify a “day” before then?), and dinosaurs preexisted man by millions of years. But what real-life problem is caused by people who believe otherwise? Does it affect any of their important behaviors in life? Do they not take their children to doctors? Do they oppose medical research? Do they reject the discoveries of scientists that affect our lives? No. Not at all. Are there no evangelical or ultra-orthodox Jewish doctors? Of course there are, and apparently they are very comfortable learning and practicing science. Compared to the many irrational beliefs of secular-left intellectuals — good and evil exist even though there is no God, male and female are interchangeable, international institutions are the hope of mankind — evangelical irrational beliefs are utterly benign.
And as regards same-sex marriage, why is the normative Christian and Jewish belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman anti-science and anti-intellectual? What we have here is the usual left-wing tactic of smearing opponents. If you disagree with race-based affirmative action, you are a racist; disagree with the ever-expanding welfare state, you lack compassion; disagree with redefining marriage in the most radical way ever attempted in history, and you are a hater. No wonder the Left developed the foolish and destructive self-esteem movement — no one has anywhere near the self-esteem leftists have. They are certain that they are better human beings in every way than those who have the temerity to oppose them.
This Jew will take the evangelicals’ values and the evangelicals’ America over those of left-wing intellectuals any day of the year. If evangelicals come with some views I find irrational it is a tiny price to pay compared to the price humanity has paid for the Left’s consistently broken moral compass — about America; about Communism and Islamism; about the superiority of peace studies over waging war against evil; about America’s role in the world; about Israel; about the welfare state; about Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and all the other left-wing dictators the Left has celebrated; about the belief that men and women are basically the same; about the greater worth of any animal than of the unborn human; and about nearly every other major moral issue.
If these professors typify the views of Eastern Nazarene College, which is officially listed as a Christian university, it is reason for despair. Once left-wing values enter the evangelical bloodstream, there is almost no hope for America.
— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and a columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.