Michael Brendan Dougherty skewers with precision here the pretensions of Christians who like to claim that Ken Ham and those who agree with him are members of new and different religious species than they are. It is the other way around; eye-rolling at “fundamentalism” is a mutation acquired adaptively in the environment of disbelief.
But Mr Dougherty himself takes a couple of things for granted which he ought to reconsider. While it is true that Genesis is in a way a liturgical book, why presume that “liturgy” by definition means “not history”? Leaving aside the question of whether the Church ever really thought of Genesis as primarily liturgical (there is no historical evidence I know of that Genesis was ever used as a liturgical manual by Jews or Christians), why wouldn’t liturgy be presuming, and proclaiming, cosmology and history? Too, he goes a long way toward recognizing just how tentative the conclusions of natural historians really are, but he does not go far enough in recognizing how uncertain their hypotheses are too, and continues to take for granted the basic picture of modern evolutionism as if it were settled. Mr Dougherty is right to say that what’s at stake in the debate with materialist scientism is an anthropological question, and he is right to say that the “fundamentalists” are on the right side of it. But if we sever human spirit from history, and put it into a chamber of pure subjectivity apart from “space and time” (as Pastor Schaeffer used to say), we can trick that chamber out as liturgically as we like, but we will remain locked out of reality in it, and we will still be playing the materialist game. Mr Dougherty would do well to ask himself whether the fundamentalists might not, at least in principle, be on the right side of the unified reality question too.