Every week seems to have a theme on this blog. If the big debate in the comments section of my post on Ken Ham was any indication, the theme for this week was whether anyone who holds the belief that the world was created rather than simply having developed through random chance over time can be said to have practiced critical thinking in doing so.
Of course, what constitutes "critical thinking" can sometimes be in the eye of the beholder, but what I mean by it, and what most people seem to mean by it, is that you are logical.
Now I'll say again, as I have said many times before on this blog, that I do not take a position on the age of the earth, largely because I am not a scientist and not terribly familiar with the scientific issues involved. That I have made lots of fun of Darwinists who make philosophical assertions disguised as scientific statements has made the members of this blog's Peanut Gallery, made up exclusively of people who hold to the dogma of scientific materialism, seemingly irate that I don't hold a position. They desperately want me to be a creationist and it really ticks them off that they can't pin it on me.
They want to set up a false dichotomy under which you are either a young earth creationist or a Darwinist. And I have to remind them repeatedly that I am trained primarily in philosophy and I am a Thomist, and, consequently, the issue of the age of the earth does not concern me too terribly much. The only question that really matters to me (other than the fact that there was an initial creation of the world) is whether organic things in this world--and the world itself--have intrinsic natures and purposes--purposes that may or may not have worked themselves out over a long period of time.
But, still, the fact that I don't condemn creationists really gets their goat. They charge that no one who holds to a creationist position can possibly be a critical thinker, and to say that they might be is a mortal intellectual sin.
But the funny thing about it is that their attempts to prove this lack any merit as proofs. Their own attempts to substantiate their position that no believer in creation can be a critical thinker lack all the hallmarks of critical thinking.
Their attempts to prove their point are plagued by an inability to make simple distinctions (an ability, which, along with the ability to see resemblances, is an essential part of critical thinking), a failure to see beyond their own prejudices, and a penchant to view anyone who differs with them as automatically stupid.
Their views bear all the marks of intellectual inbreeding. They are the intellectual equivalent of the Hapsburgs.
I have asked repeatedly for reasons why someone who holds to creationism cannot be logical and I keep getting the same answer: they're wrong. They cannot make the simple distinction between someone who is wrong and someone who is illogical. Now this is pretty basic. It is entirely possible for someone to be both wrong and logical--or for that matter, to be right and illogical. Happens all the time. And anyone who doesn't see this has undermined his own claim to be logical.
Anyone who knows anything about logic knows that you can have a perfectly logical reason for believing in something and be completely wrong. The process of reasoning whereby you get to a conclusion may very well be flawless, but the conclusion can still be wrong. All it takes is a false premise.
This is why a lot of really smart, logical people, come down on different sides of the same issues. But people like Singring, One Brow, and Art seem to be having a hard time wrapping their minds around this simple concept--a concept which anyone with pretensions to rationality ought to be able to grasp fairly easily.
In fact, until Art, a science professor at the University of Kentucky, surprised me the other day and actually produced a logical syllogism, I had concluded that no one in the Peanut Gallery was even capable of it. And Singring can't even tell the difference between contrary statements and contradictory statements. I submit that the champions of scientific materialism in the comments section of this blog who claim to be so rational could not pass a basic, high school-level, first year logic exam. And if they think they can, I've got one for them. We can do it right now.
Step right up. See if you can pass a test that my high school home school students ace on a regular basis.
This inability (or refusal) to admit that the fact that you disagree with someone is insufficient reason to conclude that they are illogical does have one advantage: it dispenses with the trouble of actually having to engage in any kind of critical thinking yourself.
A strange thing for people who criticize other people for lacking critical thinking skills to do.