Caution: Contents Extremely Hot

April 10, 2007, 10:49 pm; posted by
Filed under Articles, Job  | 8 Comments

CupI was tripping through a Cleveland Hopkins terminal trying to find my gate this week, when I found myself suddenly fatigued and — yep — I bought myself some Starbucks. So sue me! It wasn’t until I was seated, halfway through the brew at about 10,000 feet, that I actually read what our friends up in Seattle had printed on my cup. They have a gimmick called “The Way I See It,” where the cups espouse certain opinions and ideologies that “may not necessarily be the opinion of Starbucks.”

This is what my cup said:

The Way I See It #220
Evolution as described by Charles Darwin is a scientific theory, abundantly reconfirmed, explaining physical phenomena by physical causes. Intelligent Design is a faith-based initiative in rhetorical argument. Should we teach I.D. in America’s public schools? Yes, let’s do it –­ not as science, but alongside other spiritual beliefs, such as Islam, Zoroastrianism and the Hindu idea that the Earth rests on Chukwa, the giant turtle. — David Quammen, Author

I was aghast. I couldn’t fathom what a consumer could gain by reading such a horribly inane and apallingly hypocritical piece of “rhetoric.” “Abundantly reconfirmed” — I rolled the phrase over and over in my mouth, trying to make it taste less bitter. I got up and tucked the cup away in my carry-on, only to retrieve it twice mid-flight to let my anger burn — possibly alarming the other passengers. I wanted to get my hands on the other 219 Ways Starbucks Saw It, to see if such a galling ideological attack was actually taking place under the very nose, quite literally, of society. A simultaneous caffeination and suppression of the mind.

As we began our initial descent, I was already three mental pages into my letter to Starbucks, asking how they could somehow justify such a transparent and disgusting attack on Christianity (and the public school system).

I wanted answers. I wanted names. I wanted my money back.

Until, that was, I began my research and found:

The Way I See It #224
Darwinism’s impact on traditional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Darwinism’s connection with eugenics, abortion and racism is a matter of historical record. And the record is not pretty. — Jonathan Wells, Biologist and Author

Ah, so this is being humbled? And bemused. And suddenly glad that I overpaid for my coffee, knowing that I got a full spread of emotions in exchange for a simple 20 ounces. And also grateful that a long aluminum tube kept me from any source of media that would have bled out some of my consumer, capitalist, Christian crusader rage, and helped me put into perspective the importance of patient dialogue in a Christian’s attempt to save souls from the evil one. While I grasp that, as a company and cultural icon, Starbucks possesses an agenda contrary to mine, I am glad they were able to spark my mind and perhaps accidentally sharpen my Faith’s ability and desire to patiently wage a war against lies.

There should be a tactical pleasure in our Faith when lies have the courtesy of making themselves painfully public. Whether purposeful or inadvertent, whenever they dare set foot on a clean battlefield with truth, our spines should tingle with hunger for a tangle. As pornography goes stomach-turningly mainstream, as Islamofascism menaces and intimidates entire populations into silence, as abortion sheds pretense for greater accessibility, and as facets of the media feverishly try to rebrand, rename or otherwise rewrite Jesus to dismiss His most key elements, we should not broil in ennui and nauseated defeat. We should be glad that the enemy we are fighting is so stunningly exposed, prepared for a defeat which will be that much more public.


8 Comments to “Caution: Contents Extremely Hot”

  1. Steve on April 10th, 2007 11:45 pm

    So you have a response to the original argument that (a) as described by Darwin, evolution — at least microevolution — is a scientific theory that has been reconfirmed, and that (b) intelligent design does not have the same level of theoretical confirmation?

  2. Steve on April 10th, 2007 11:46 pm

    I just don’t personally see support of evolution, or even hostility toward intelligent design as science, as any sort of attack on Christianity.

  3. Job Tate on April 11th, 2007 12:07 am

    Well he referred to Darwin’s evolution as science and Intelligent design as rhetoric.

    His attempt at being blithe and juxtaposing our Judaeo-Christian creation story with the Earth resting on a giant turtle – as all a wonderful, clever fairy tale – did seek to demean the idea of the personal God, Yahweh, making this whole universe thing happen.

    While not all attacks on “intelligent design” might not be attacks on Christianity, attempts to lump it’s tenents in with all other religions is most certainly an attack in my book.

  4. Marcus on April 11th, 2007 5:59 pm

    I personally see no threat in the micro-evolution argument (which is a confirmed fact). I’m also tempted to discount the “facts” of the Genesis narrative in light of the theory that it was, as a chiastic device, not concerned with accurate historic depiction so much as symbolic import. I do not believe in a six day creation because it does not line up with scientific knowledge and because the rhetorical pattern of the Scriptural text does not NECESSITATE a literal translation of that particular passage. If Scripture allows for a figurative translation of the Genesis account and science denies a young earth, I’m inclined to accept both sides. Moreover, I feel that in so doing I’m neither denying the validity of science or the inerrancy of Scripture. The symbolic import I see in the Genesis chiastic is first that God was the master of the creative process and second that the creation of humankind was somehow more intimate than that of the rest of nature. Beyond that, I’m almost willing to walk down the road of Abiogenesis. If evolution was the tool God used to create all of nature, then I see no down-side to teaching it in our schools. The problem is not the theory’s suppositions but its ideology… and the (percieved) chasm between science and God. I find it amusing that the average Evolutionist would potentially concede that God could exist alongside Darwin, but few theists will admit that evolution is at all possible. Can we strip the theory of its agnostic ideology and retain the scientific facts its based on? If Genesis is NOT to be taken literally, can we as Christians entertain a theistic evolution?

  5. Steve on April 11th, 2007 6:53 pm

    I think the answer to that question depends on the unstated prefix to the word. Microevolution, as you say, is scientific fact, and there’s no difficulty squaring it with creation. Macroevolution is but conjecture, so I don’t see any reason to board that train — and I’m certain I don’t want to go to the places it stops.

    I think there’s a huge difference between assuming an older earth from the silence of the text, and assuming macroevolution in contravention of the textual language about creation of different kinds of animals. The literal/figurative dichotomy doesn’t really do justice to the differences here.

  6. Marcus on April 11th, 2007 7:49 pm

    I agree that Macroevolution is “conjecture” (as the gigantic holes in the fossil record prove), and I tried to qualify my stance by saying things like “tempted” and “almost willing.” For the purpose of the debate I possibly portrayed myself as more of a hard-liner than I am in reality.

    I do not support Abiogenesis but I do not yet discount it, either. I simply don’t have enough evidence one way or the other to make that decision. My point is that I wouldn’t feel too threatened if Macroevolution was proved correct (through compelling data) tomorrow. “The literal/figurative dichotomy” does not compel me to believe Macroevolution but neither will the obvious poetic nature of text allow me to discount Macroevolution out of hand.

    In waiting for more data to come to light, I remain “agnostic” on the entire issue of Abiogenesis. This refusal to make a dogmatic statement on the subject of evolution is in keeping with Rome’s own “evolution-agnostic” stance. I’ll grant that an appeal to Rome is not likely to amount to much in this circle, but I’m wondering if one could be a mainstream Evangelical who is similarly “evolution-agnostic” (without being labelled a liberal)?

    We need to determine if and how Macroevolution can exist in harmony with the scriptural record and, from a literary critical standpoint, the onus is on you to prove that the poetic is not figurative, but literal. You say you do not want to “board the train” and you do not like “the places where it stops” but where, exactly, DOES the train stop? How much of the conservative view of evolution is based on the actual text and how much is based on the ideology that has grown around the common reading?

    As a Catholic, it is odd for me to turn to Sola Scriptura in this matter, but it seems like too much of the common interpretation of Genesis is based on tradition (i.e., Conservative Protestant tradition) and NOT on the textual evidence. Like I said, you could well be correct… but the Genesis text allows for my agnostic reading because of the limitations of its literary genre and its glaring silences.

  7. Job on April 11th, 2007 9:34 pm

    Again, “Evolution as described by Charles Darwin” is not sctrictly micro but the comprehensive origin of species arc, that is not abundantly reconfirmed by any notion.

    That’s the crux of my beef.

  8. Steve on April 11th, 2007 11:27 pm

    We did write about the creation story back here. To answer the narrow question, I think it’s quite possible to be an evolution-agnostic evangelical, for the text is decidedly silent on anything other than the moments of creation. I also think it’s wise for the Catholic Church, keeping in mind its past mistakes, to remain ‘agnostic’ on such issues.

    But I can’t read, literally or figuratively, a passage that includes specific divine commands to create plants and animals, each according to their kind, as compatible with a theory that posits evolution from one species to another.

    Where does the train stop? I think one of the clearest and earliest destinations is a rejection of the special status of mankind, creation in the divine image traded in for mutation from the simian apes. And figurative interpretation overdone saps the truth from the Word.

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