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Why Creationism Horrifies Me, part two: Reality

Welcome to part two of Why Creationism Horrifies Me! This series was inspired by and is in part a direct response to Andrew Toy’s The Horrors of the Creation Theory, Part 1 and Part 2.

In our last installment I used a ridiculously long metaphor to examine the implications of creationism, were it true. This time we’ll be looking at the real world impact of creationism, not why it would horrify me, were it true, but why it does even though it’s not.

I’m going to have to start with misinformation. I want to draw a distinction here between misinformation and outright lying, because while lying certainly counts as misinforming, I honestly don’t believe most creationists are lying when they spread misinformation, but simply misinformed themselves.

Creationist organizations spread a lot of misinformation. They say things like the dust found on the surface of the Moon was consistent with a young universe which is false. Or that radio-carbon dating is inaccurate which is true under certain circumstances, that scientists are aware of and compensate for. Or that Charles Darwin admitted in his famous book that the eye could not have evolved, which I’m going to call an outright lie, because while Darwin did write that it is difficult to imagine the evolution of eyes, the very next thing in the book is an outline of one way it might have happened.

One of the more common bits of misinformation is the idea that evolution is “only a theory”. Read the rest of this entry

Why Creationism Horrifies Me, part one: The Puzzle

This morning I found that I had a new email follower from the blog “Adopting James“, an interesting project. Andrew Toy and his wife Sarabeth want to adopt a child, but in the interest of paying for food and bills and all those trivial things they’d like Andrew’s writing career to take off first and have created a blog to further that goal. For all that I disagree with them, I genuinely wish them luck on that.

One of the first posts I read there was “The “Horrors” of the Creation Theory Part 1“, and since I feel strongly on the subject myself I thought I’d write about what are, to me at least, the real horrors of this ideology. Since Andrew and Sarabeth are Christians, and Christian creationism is by far the most common in my country, I will use that as my example. Don’t forget, though, that there are also Muslim, Jewish and Hindu creationists, and likely others of which I am unaware.

Because I think it’s striking, I’ll start by imagining it to be true and looking at the world that implies, and the god that implies. If creationism is true, then God is terrifyingly dishonest, though not technically lying. Let me try to explain.  Read the rest of this entry

Objecting to Science Education 2 (Religious Boogaloo?)

Ok, so we have creationists claiming that evolution is a lie and that their religion’s creation story is an accurate & factual account of the beginnings of life, the universe, and everything. Let’s talk a bit about some of the things that they do with this idea.

“Intellectual freedom” is a phrase found on many bills working their way through many state legislatures right now. Almost without exception, these bills are designed to either bring some form of creationism into classrooms or to muddy up science education by suggesting that evolution is somehow optional. (Evolution’s about as optional to biology as gravity is to physics.) The idea here is that teachers are having their freedom restricted by being expected to teach science in science classes.

I suppose in the strictest sense, that’s true. Teachers would have more freedom if they could teach anything they felt like without having to consider the truth or accuracy of their lessons. But I have trouble getting behind the idea of the freedom for state-sponsored institutions to lie to children. Read the rest of this entry

Objecting to science education

So now that I have a workable, if simplistic, outline for what evolution is, let’s talk a bit about some of the groups and people out there opposing it as a scientific theory, especially those who are trying to have the teaching of it banned from public schools.

The most common objections I’ve seen to the theory of evolution are on religious grounds. The more honest ones are open about that, but you also get the occasional liar for Jesus. Perhaps the most famous example is “Intelligent Design”, which was a poorly executed attempt to camouflage religion as science and sneak it into classrooms. The resulting trial is the subject of a NOVA documentary which is well worth checking out. It also gave us the term “cdesign proponentsists”, possibly the clearest indicator of the dishonesty of the ID movement, certainly the funniest.

The Intelligent Design advocates are still out there, but they seem to be much diminished now. In recent years, they have apparently given up trying to pretend that they’re promoting a scientific theory without a religious agenda and openly refer to Jesus & the Bible on their websites. Since I’ve already written about their hypothesis here, I’ll move on to more typical (even generic) creationism. Read the rest of this entry

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