Myths satisfy a spiritual need

Stabroek News
July 29, 2001

Dear Editor,

I wish to make clear that I am not denying anyone the right to believe that humans were divinely created. I fully support the freedom of religious belief.

However, I understand that such matters fall under the domain of faith and so require no supporting evidence. Persons who take the mythical stories of their religious books and attempt to use science to prove them as factual have done a great disservice to their faith. These people, such as creation "scientists" have totally missed the point of why some humans need myths.

Myths satisfy a psychological or spiritual need in some individuals. These stories are not about truth; they are about the human struggle to deal with long passages of time and life, about birth, marriage, death and the growth from childhood to adulthood to old age.

Some Christians have rejected the sublime nature of myths and have instead chosen specific scientific findings which appear to support their literal interpretations of the Bible and have now renamed themselves creation "scientists."

But "picking and choosing" a few scientific principles and using these to justify your beliefs does not suddenly make your religion scientific. It is still religion. All you have done is to look for new issues to support old dogma. Beneath all the rhetoric is still the belief of divine intervention which stands opposed to the scientific process and all knowledge of natural laws.

Creationism denies evolutionary biology and therefore all scientific studies which hinge on the theory. We would have to dismiss all the findings of early human history, of physics, cosmology, archeology, historical geology, paleontology, zoology, biogeography and botany among others.

No one should attack the religious beliefs of another, but creationists have made their religion "scientific" and so have opened up the interpretations of their beliefs to the rigors of scientific enquiry.

Creationists generally use five techniques to promote their faith and discredit those whom they perceive as enemies, specifically evolutionists:

1. They focus on what is not known and ignore what is known. They emphasize data that fit and discount data that do not fit.

2. They concentrate on their opponents' weak points, while rarely saying anything definitive about their own position.

3. They use quotations, usually taken out of context, from prominent mainstream figures to buttress their own position.

4. They exploit errors made by scholars who are making opposing arguments, implying that because a few of their opponent's conclusions were wrong, all of their opponent's conclusions must be wrong.

5. They mistake genuine, honest debates between scholars about certain points within a field for a dispute about the existence of the entire field.

One writer to your newspaper recently called this "Conviction Science" rather than "Creation Science." I agree with him. This so-called "science" is actually Christian religion. Its place in our society is at the Christian church. It should not be taught at our

schools as science. If we allow this at our university then we must also allow Hindu Science, Muslim Science, Baha'i Science, Jain Science, Baptist Science and so on and so forth.

Yours faithfully,

Lutchman Gossai