skip to content skip to search skip to navigation Listen Live skip to logon
Tuesday 30th August 2016
Max 25°C | Min 16°C


Posted by James O'Brien on July 19, 2012 at 14:24PM

I once walked into a BBC green room and said to the producer and a young woman I presumed was her assistant, "I can't believe you won't let me have a pop at that Creationist loony!"

The producer blanched, swallowed and said: "Have you met his fiancee, James?"

I'm not particularly proud of the fact that my skin is sufficiently thick to shrug off such embarrassments with ease but it did give me pause.

Her betrothed was contending in the neighbouring studio that dinosaurs had never existed, that the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were historical facts and that to argue or believe otherwise was a blasphemy punishable in the fieriest fires of hell. Or something.

He was clearly unlikely to be moved by a bearded loudmouth (copyright The Sun 2009) shouting 'loony' at him, which is a fairly close approximation of my modus operandi in such circumstances at that time. 

Funnily enough, I'm due to discuss the issue on another BBC1 show on Sunday and, given the mellowing of my modus operandi in recent years, I've been thinking about how best to meaningfully oppose teaching Creationism in schools calmly, kindly and convincingly.

It provides a bedrock of fundamentalist faith from which all sorts of nastiness can spring. By espousing a literal belief in any chapter of the Bible - let alone the very first - you make it easier to render every other word in the book irrefutable. And, as is so often the case, it seems that the words your hardcore so-called 'Christians' are keenest to endorse are the ones supposedly condemning homosexuality or subjugating women or suggesting that you'll burn in hell, if you don't do exactly what the preachers say.

Conversely, of course, the promise of reward in the afterlife can also be used to bribe and/or blackmail believers. And the blackmail is more likely to succeed if it is framed against a backdrop of unquestioning belief. Unquestioning belief being itself easier to establish in an ideology that brooks no questioning - if, in other words, it provides an answer to everything without reference to evidence or observable fact but rather appeals to the word of the Lord.  

And that's all obviously undesirable, not to mention downright dangerous. Everything from ranting homophobia to suicide bombing could be convincingly traced back to the absolutism represented by teaching Creationism. But it's not guaranteed is it? I could easilty believe in the Garden of Eden story without wanting to be a suicide bomber or stone gays! If I don't end up like that how can it be wrong to teach me what, after all, many of were taught as children? Confusing, no?

Maybe I will just shout 'loony' across the studio after all.