This may not be a revolutionary idea, but it’s new to us and we think it’s worth considering. At the threshold, lets be sure we know who the original Luddites were. Wikipedia informs us:
The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested—often by destroying mechanized looms—against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, that replaced them with less-skilled, low-wage labour, leaving them without work and changing their way of life. … The movement was named after Ned Ludd, a youth who had allegedly smashed two stocking frames thirty years earlier, and whose name had become emblematic of machine destroyers.
The movement began in Nottingham in 1811 and spread rapidly throughout England in 1811 and 1812. Mills and pieces of factory machinery were burned by handloom weavers, and for a short time Luddites were so strong that they clashed in battles with the British Army. Many wool and cotton mills were destroyed before the British government suppressed the movement.
We know what you’re thinking: What does any of that have to do with creationism? The Luddites mindlessly attacked machinery — the symbol of what they believed was destroying what they thought was an ideal, pre-industrial world. The creationists of today don’t have that kind of misinformed, anti-industrial motive, but they too are mindlessly attacking what they see as the symbol of what is changing their world — and their target is science.
Of course it’s not a perfect analogy. The original Luddites were violent and physically destructive. Creationists aren’t — at least not yet. The leaders of the creationist movement probably aren’t ever likely to run around attacking science labs. They’re too busy making money off of their foolish flocks. But their followers — we think most of them are crazed enough to do almost anything.
Do you doubt that? We don’t. It’s true that there hasn’t yet been any creationist violence, at least none we’re aware of — but it certainly isn’t inconceivable. That’s especially true with the lies that are constantly being spewed about science — and evolution in particular — about being anti-God and pro-Hitler. Creationism’s leaders may be personally non-violent, but their teachings have a lot of potential for encouraging mass insanity.
There’s a contemporary movement described as Neo-Luddism. According to Wikipedia:
Neo-Luddism is a personal world view opposing many forms of modern technology. …[The original Luddites] along with modern Neo-Luddites are characterized by the practice of destroying private property as a means of protest. Neo-Luddism includes the critical examination of the effects technology has on individuals and communities.
Industrial Society and Its Future (1995) is a recent expression of Neo-Luddism by Theodore Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber.
Isn’t that lovely — Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber! A little bit of technophobia goes a long way. Here’s a bit more from Wikipedia on Neo-Luddism:
Neo-Luddism expresses significant doubts about the nature of benefits from uncritically embracing new information technology. Neo-Luddism holds the belief that we were better off before its advent and is the opposite of technophilia, the belief that technological innovation will remedy all ills.
Okay, that’s enough. You can read more about the movement if you like. But although it’s not mentioned in Wikipedia’s article, we think the creationist movement, with it’s fanatical anti-science attitude, literally reeks of Neo-Luddism.
What’s our conclusion? We don’t have one, really; we’re just making observations. So far, the creationists haven’t been rushing out of their trailer parks waiving their torches and pitchforks, on their way to burn down universities and research facilities. But could it happen? Given all the crazy anti-science propaganda they’re always getting from creationist websites (you know which ones we mean), we’re virtually certain that it will happen — at least sporadically.
So we’re going to revise our customary description of the Discoveroids — the creationists who work for the Discovery Institute. We’ve been calling them neo-theocrats and cdesign proponentsists, but now we’re going to add neo-Luddites to that description.
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