There’s a relatively new website that seems to have a load of writers of the right-wing persuasion. Wikipedia has a brief writeup on them: The Federalist. They’re located in Alexandria, Virginia. Aside from their conservatism, which doesn’t much bother us, they appear to be a pack of creationists.
They’ve already been cited a few times by the Discoveroids — e.g.: Forget Cosmos, Here’s Further Confirmation of Neil Tyson’s Tendency to Commit Taradiddles. So because they may become a new source of entertainment, let’s take a look at something we found there today.
Here are some excerpts from Science Says Creationists Aren’t Idiots. Strange title, huh? We’ve added a bit of bold font for emphasis:
They being by mentioning some article written by Virginia Heffernan, Why I’m a creationist, in which she said that she “never found a more compelling story of our origins than the ones that involve God.” Then they mention some mainstream media criticism of her article, and they ask:
Now that a year has passed and the media circus has ended, we can re-examine the issue more calmly. Why does rejecting evolution get so much attention from mainstream journalists? [Two critics offered] one typical response: Heffernan’s writing couldn’t be trusted because she is a creationist. Heffernan’s “dedication to facts is somewhat in question.”
That seems reasonable to us, but The Federalist sees things differently. They say:
Note they make an empirical claim: because of their beliefs about the origins of life, creationists cannot think rationally or logically anywhere. Put another way, it’s possible to determine people’s general reasoning and analytical skills by knowing what they think about the theory of evolution. … Given that their argument depends on their ability to draw conclusions from creationists’ beliefs, it’s a glaring oversight.
Is it really? Let’s read on:
Suppose that rejecting evolution does not infringe on your ability to reason elsewhere. Suppose it is possible to be a creationist and also a top-notch journalist, doctor, or scientist. Suppose that your belief about the age of the Earth is irrelevant to your daily life and has no ill consequences. [The critics'] argument would then fall apart. As long as rejecting evolution in and of itself is harmless, why should anyone care what Heffernan believes about evolution? Why get excited?
A fair question. Your Curmudgeon has never claimed that all creationists are inherently incompetent at everything, and should therefore be confined to mental hospitals. Indeed, we’ve seen that a creationist can be an architect, or dentist, or a number of other things. Many seem to be engineers. But they function in those occupations by using knowledge, skills, and technologies that are clearly non-biblical. When they put their specialties aside and embrace creationism, they exhibit a disturbing willingness to accept ideas that not only can’t be tested or even investigated, but which require rejection of theories that are supported by vast amounts of verifiable evidence. This is reality denial, and it justifies skepticism about their overall commitment to rationality. The Federalist continues:
Feelings and desires don’t matter here — only data matter. We have to answer some empirical questions: Does rejecting evolution affect your thinking outside biology? Is there a connection between how we think about this and other topics?
Yes, we think there is a connection. It’s one thing to say “I don’t understand biology” (or cosmology, or geology), but it’s quite another to say “I reject them and all of their evidence because they disagree with my reading of scripture.” Here’s more:
A sports analogy might be illuminating. We don’t expect basketball players to excel at tennis. … Skills don’t always transfer from one area to another. I suspect we all grasp this idea. We are all good at some things and not others.
Bad analogy. Really bad. Moving along:
Let’s now reframe the debate: We already recognize that athletic skills in one area may be meaningless in another. Why don’t we do something similar for intellectual skills? Why conclude that rejecting evolution renders someone intellectually impotent everywhere? … [T]his is an empirical question that should be studied scientifically. We must look at the evidence before deciding.
[*Groan*] The author refers to some study that allegedly concludes “you can’t predict someone’s science literacy from his or her belief in evolution.” Well, we disagree. Here’s another excerpt:
Perhaps [the critics'] most egregious oversight was ignoring the data right in front of them: Heffernan was already an accomplished journalist!
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! On with the article:
The [critics of Heffernan's creationism] are intellectually and ethically obligated to prove creationists’ beliefs are harmful. Not harmful in a metaphysical or abstract sense. And not in the “I’m uncomfortable with your lifestyle” or “creationism violates my moral values” sense. But concrete, measurable harm — the type of harm they demand proof for when conservatives suggest gay marriage and promiscuous sex are harmful.
Well, if a creationist is happy merely to live in his own world, and doesn’t insist on crippling science education, then the creationist is only affecting himself — and probably his children. But the creationist activists we write about are determined to shut down science — all of it. Now we come to the end:
Mainstream journalists have not come close to meeting their own standards. They have only shown they don’t like and are uncomfortable with creationists. But that’s not enough to justify the vitriol and acrimony they routinely heap on people like Heffernan. They must explain how, if being a creationist is such a problem, [various creationists can succeed in their specialties.] … Until they do, it’s perfectly okay — by their own values — to be a creationist. So go ahead, if you feel like.
Yeah, so what if someone is a creationist? Or an astrologer? Or a faith healer? Who cares? What’s the big deal? Teach the controversy!
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