Monday, April 15, 2013

Dumb for God

Creationism is without a doubt the most common pseudoscience in the world today and the one that has had and continues to have the most pernicious influence on public education worldwide.

For example just recently in Turkey, The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey decided to no longer make available books to readers that support the theory of Evolution. Thus indicating a craven capitulation to the forces of obscurantist, Muslim Creationist Fundamentalism.1

This is far from unique worldwide has the war against science proceeds by leaps and bounds. It used to be thought that Creationist claptrap was almost entirely confined to the USA. This comforting delusion, (At least to non-USA residents.), is now hopefully over. It appears that the explosion of Creationist nonsense is now a worldwide phenomenon.

In countries with large Muslim populations it seems to be allied to the forces of Muslim fundamentalism and the obscurantist anti-intellectualism that accompanies same.

Here is the west, especially in the USA Christian Fundamentalism, has been closely allied to Creationism.2 Why this is so is painfully obvious. Creationism is an attempt to hold the line against change. The world is changing at an ever faster rate and modifying and adapting one’s opinions to suit the ever changing nature of what we know is a constant battle so they adhere to what they think is an unchanging world view. It is not the scientific problems that cause Fundamentalists to disapprove of Evolution but what they perceive as its threat to their perceptions of the world and therefore their way of life.

Thus we get things like the following cartoon.

Tree of "Evilution"

It is rather painfully obvious that what upsets the “Creationist” is not the alleged lack of scientific or logical rigor of evolutionary theory but it’s perceived role in enabling changes that the Creationist / Fundamentalist finds disturbing.3

What is also clear is the Manichean view of the world that the Creationist has. It is in his / her view a contest between the sons of light against the sons of darkness. Many of them believe with total sincerity that nothing less than the salvation of the human race is being fought for. It is a contest of world views in which the price of losing is nothing less than damnation for eternity.

Thus rather than examine the complicated and complex roots of social developments and social problems that exist today the response is to latch on to a simple, (minded), explanation for the problems etc., we have today.

Thus Evolution or has some would say “Eviloution” becomes the oh so convenient explanation. Allied to that is the simple, (minded), idea that disbelief is the source of all wickedness. After all to the true believer doubt is a sin and belief is absolutely necessary for salvation.

So we get propaganda like the above tree of “Philosophical Evolution”. Instead of unbelief being the product of someone reasoning it out, it is the product of sin, because lack of belief in Christian Fundamentalist principles has to be rooted in sin. Thus differences in beliefs have no legitimate basis. Unbelief is not legitimate, it is not simply a difference of opinion it is illegitimate. This is of course theocratic thinking. Like in the high Middle Ages in Europe or in the contest between different sects of Islam no one really has a right to a different opinion for only one opinion is right.

Thus like St. Gregory they chant:

The truth is one, and it cannot be halved; it lasts for ever, and is not subject to the vicissitudes of the times.4

Armed with such true belief they face the world of reality and reality loses.

Thus we get the list of “horrors” in the cartoon. Thus we get Evolution leading to pornography; coyly labeled “Dirty Books”. The fact that porn long predates Evolution or that many Fundamentalists consume porn escapes them. In fact the list is a list of things they don’t like that they simply, (minded), blame on Evolution.

Thus we get Hard Rock, Suicide, Alcohol, Drugs etc. It is all a list of stuff they don’t like. Even Inflation is blamed on Evolution, (Which dates the cartoon to the 1970s early 80s.). Just how a scientific theory cause’s inflation is beyond me but that is the mind of the true believer. And of course Evolution caused Racism. The fact that Racism long predated Evolution is ignored along with the fact that many Christian Fundamentalists are in fact racist. Certainly many evangelical Southern Churches fought long and hard against Civil Rights in the South.5 Of course given the role of Religion, especially Fundamentalist religion in promoting and justifying Terrorism, the inclusion of Terrorism has one of the things “Caused” by Evolution is a bit much.

Also implicit in the model is conspiracy thinking. It is all part of a vast, widespread conspiracy to undermine “Christian” values and destroy the “true” faith. And behind all this is the Father of Lies – Satan! Thus Satan is behind all of this and Evolution is a tool to undermine godly true belief.

Thus the Creationist / Fundamentalist sees him/herself has a soldier in God’s war against Satan. Those who believe in Evolution are tools of this Satanic conspiracy and they are not credited with honesty or good faith but are perceived to be operating in bad faith under the influence of dark satanic forces and probably Satan himself.

And of course the alleged pernicious effects of Evolution like the stuff shown in the cartoon are the “real” reason for the theory of Evolution. Those who advance the theory are perceived as “really” advancing all the things that the Fundamentalist / Creationist finds abhorrent in the modern world. In fact those who advance the argument are “really” arguing for those things and using Evolution as a stealth doctrine to advance those things. In other words as indicated above those advancing or believing in the theory of Evolution are arguing in bad faith. The real purpose of the theory is to advance the wicked evils of Secularism, Relativism, to attack Religion etc. Thus all objections to the fundamentalist position are ipso facto satanic and therefore do not have to be evaluated seriously.

Since Creationism / Fundamentalism is not based on Scientific objections to Evolutionary theory but from a religious conviction that if Evolutionary theory is true than all that the Creationist / Fundamentalist holds dear is false and all sorts of undesirable ideological and social consequences follow, than it follows that the objections are in fact based on ideological, religious precepts.

These precepts include the notion the “faith” trumps mere fact thus we get AIGs (Answers in Genesis), ideological position that their literal interpretation of the first couple of chapters in Genesis are prima facie true.6

This is despite AIGs hand waving profoundly anti-scientific. It also ignores the fact that the creation account in Genesis was written at particular time and place when knowledge of such things was minimal. The account in other words is bound to a specific historical time and there is no reason why anyone should take it today has literal. Of course the question then arises if one must take such accounts literally just why should anyone accept this particular creation account over any other? The answer from Creationist / Fundamentalist is a circular variation of because it’s true, it’s true.

This being the case ‘Faith” comes before “Science” and in a contest between the two “Faith” wins, because prima facie if the two conflict “Faith” is right by default.7

Of course Creationists / Fundamentalists are special types of Biblical literalists, largely emancipated from knowledge of Biblical studies and interpretation all of which has massively enriched our understanding of the Bible.8

This vast literature is hand waved away usually with variations on the idea that it is all blasphemy / Satanic.

And of course in the USA such Creationist / Fundamentalist positions go frequently with a desire for the imposition of theocratic rule.9

Perhaps some other time I will get into the actual “Scientific” claims of Creationists / Fundamentalists.

1. Turkey's science state council halts publication of evolution books, Daily News Here. For more about Creationism worldwide see Number, Ronald L., The Evolution of Scientific Creationism, University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 1993, pp. 319-340. 

2. See Kitcher, Philip, Abusing Science, The MIT Press, Cambridge MASS, 1982, pp. 186-202, Isaak, Mark, The Counter-Creationism Handbook, University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 2007, pp. 1-42, Forrest, Barbara, & Gross, Paul R., Creationism’s Trojan Horse, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004, pp. 257-315, Numbers, pp. 299-318.

3. IBID.

4. the Great, Gregory, quoted in Pius X, IUCUNDA SANE, (1904) Here.

5. See Blackwelder, Julia Kirk, Southern White Fundamentalists and the Civil Rights Movement, Phylon, v. 40, no. 4, 1979, pp. 334-341.

6. See Can Creationists be Scientists, AIG Here.

7. Godfrey, Laurie R., Science and Evolution in the Public Eye, in Frazier, Kendrick, Paranormal Borderlands of Science, Prometheus Books, Buffalo NY, 1981, pp. 379-390.

8. See for example the works of Gottwald, Norman K., For example -  The Tribes of Yahweh, Orbis Books, New York, 1979.

9. See books in Footnote 2.

Other Books used.

Petto, Andrew J., & Godfrey, Laurie R., Editors, Scientists Confront Creationism, W. W. Norton  & Co., New York, 2007.

Grove, J.W., In Defence of Science, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1989.

Friedlander, Michael W., At the Fringes of Science, Westview Press, Boulder CO, 1998.

Pierre Cloutier

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