Oh goody, another lovely round of that increasingly popular parlor game, "Science Says." And just in time for Lent! James Cameron, the masterful storyteller who directed "Titantic," is clearly banking on the special media power this game has when someone (preferably a scientist, but a Hollywood director in a pinch will do) asserts that what science says ... is that the Bible is wrong.
Science vs. religion, round 457!
Science says Jesus married Mary Magdelene, produced a son named Judah, and the whole family of Nazarenes is buried in a tomb in Jerusalem. We have the mitochondrial DNA and the Discovery Channel documentary to prove it!
When science and "The Da Vinci Code" start saying the same thing, you have a marketing powerhouse. Especially when Christians, bless 'em, can be counted on to rise up in futile indignation, which public display of emotion just feeds so beautifully into the original storyline: Intellectually challenged religious zealots feebly dispute what science says. POW! BAM!
"It's going to get a lot of Christians with their knickers in a knot unnecessarily," Ben Witherington, a Bible scholar at Ashbury Theological Seminary, told The New York Times. Because who but conservative Christians, bless 'em, still wear knickers, much less knot them in anxiety over the latest scientific discoveries?
The filmmakers' DNA tests suggest that the "Yeshua" remains and the "Mariamene e Mara" remains (aka "Mary Magdalene," through the complex theories of a Harvard professor) were not related on their mother's side. So who knows? Heck, they could have been married, right? The DNA proves it, unless, of course, they were related on their father's side, or Mariamene e Mara was married to or maybe just the daughter or sister of someone else in the tomb. Amos Kloner, a former Jerusalem district archeologist who examined the tomb in 1980, calls the allegedly new evidence "not serious."
But the Science Says game works so well that people play it with the same dogmatic fervor they once played The Pope Says, and for a similar reason: Because if science really says something, you no longer need brook the irritation of tolerating dissent.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.