October 11, 2006

Koopman's Belief Is Loopy

If I locate a Muslim and say he’s loopy, does that mean I’m calling all Muslims loopy? I guess it partly depends on what aspect of this person I’m relying on to make the determination of “loopiness.” If I say he’s loopy because Islam is loopy, then obviously I’m insulting his religion.

Here is an interesting specific case of loopiness, disingenuity and political posturing.

Lawmaker fires back at governor‘s comments on age of Earth

A Republican state lawmaker is criticizing Gov. Brian Schweitzer for comments he made to a newspaper here about the lawmaker‘s belief that the planet is not millions of years old. Rep. Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, called Schweitzer‘s statement ”incredibly bigoted.”

What Schweitzer said was that “he needs support from a state Legislature that will help move Montana‘s agenda forward, ”not people who think the Earth is 4,000 years old.”

Koopman called that insulting, and I would agree that it is an insult, because it is dismissive of people who believe the Earth is a few thousand years young.

However, Koopman calls the attitude “bigoted” and this is where he has crossed over into loopyland. He wants people to think Schweitzer’s attitude is driven by bigotry towards Christians, which is a perception that would not sit well with Christians, I’m sure. And that may result in people deciding not to vote for Schweitzer.

But Koopman also says:

Koopman said his belief in the Earth’s age is not based on his faith, but on his scientific investigations.

Let’s take a look at this. First, an admission: Personally, I believe “Young Earth” beliefs are loopy. Some people believe in a young Earth because of their religion, and I find that unfortunate that they can’t reconcile their religion with the scientific evidence, but I don’t begrudge them their loopy beliefs. I feel it has to be pointed out that this is a loopy belief, though, because there are important consequences to ignoring reality, and the best approximation we have to a representation of reality. I don’t see this as bigotry because no matter what race, religion, political stripe or hairstyle you call your own, I still think the belief is loopy. If you told me you were a white, male, atheist, liberal and you also told me you could float in the air using the power of your mind, I’m going to tell you that’s loopy. No bigotry necessary. And I would want you representing me in government.

This guy claims that finding an idea harmful makes you a bigot. Implying he is anti-Christian. However, he wants to have this issue both ways because he says he’s arrived at the conclusion scientifically, not through faith. Whoops, sorry. You can’t claim bigotry if we’ve taken religion out of the picture. No matter whether or not other people believe this idea because of religion, you have admitted that there is a path to this belief that is non-religious. You have to give the other person the benefit of the doubt that they’ve arrived at this conclusion of loopiness without taking religion into account.

Of course, logic has little to do with this. Koopman is hoping to strike an emotional chord with citizens who are sensitive to having their beliefs challenged, or people who don’t share the belief but are worried that Schweitzer is some sort of anti-Christian bigot.

Newsflash, Koopman: You can be a Christian and believe the Earth is older than a few thousand years. It is insulting to the intelligence of countless Christians to lump them all together and attribut to them this loopy belief for your political purposes. It is you, Koopman, not your opponent who are attacking Christianity.

Posted by James at October 11, 2006 3:35 PM
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