WHAT does it take to be a creationist these days? We’re not talking about generations ago, back when virtually everyone assumed that life was the result of supernatural design. We mean now, 150 years after Darwin published Origin of Species, and after mountains of evidence are seen to support the theory of evolution. What keeps today’s creationists going?
Some claim that their views are scientific. Do they have a testable theory? No. Do they have any evidence that contradicts evolution? No. Do they have a research program that might turn up such evidence? Again, the answer is no.
Well, what do they have? They’ve got an ark-load of objections to the theory of evolution, most of which we’ve discussed here: Advice for Creationists, and none of those objections amounts to anything that even remotely concerns science.
What kind of evidence do they need? We’ve discussed this before. See: Where Are The Anachronistic Fossils? Evidence like that would contradict evolution. They should be searching for the devilishly elusive Precambrian Rabbit.
What kind of pattern should their evidence show? In a world which is the result of special creation (or intelligent design), creatures should exist only in strikingly distinct “kinds”, each one crisply unique and clearly different from all the others, rather like an illustration of the loading ramp for Noah’s Ark — lions, giraffes, elephants — with no blurring at the edges where one “kind” resembles another. No transitional fossils that are clearly intermediate between the “kinds” should ever have existed. Not even one.
In a creationist’s world, digging down into the past should be a scientific futility, because life in the past would have been no different from life today. Well, we might find the remains of some species that have gone extinct, but even so, the unique nature and clear separation between all species should always have existed, as far back as we can go.
Alas for the creationists, that’s not the world in which we live. In our world there are lots of transitional fossils, including discoveries like Tiktaalik, that have been found because of specific geological and evolutionary predictions.
As the generations go by, and fossil evidence of increasing numbers of now-extinct creatures are found, the gradual evolutionary transitions between species (or “kinds”) can be seen. Living transitionals between contemporary species are rarely seen, because most species (including transitionals) that ever lived are now extinct, and many pieces of the puzzle aren’t alive today — although we do have ring species. But when the past is taken into account, as it must when considering the genealogy of life, the evidence of common ancestry becomes undeniable. There’s also corroborating evidence from sciences like astronomy, but the biological evidence alone is sufficient for our purpose here, and there’s no need to pile on.
With all the evidence against them, who are today’s creationists, and what motivates them? To a large extent, the entire range of creationists is described here: Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, or Wicked. But there’s always more to be said.
We’re not concerned here with the uneducated or the mental defectives. If they weren’t creationists they’d be babbling some other nonsense — UFOs, Bermuda Triangle, etc. It’s the promoters of creationism we’re talking about, and we can assign them to a few different categories.
First are the razzle-dazzle con men who are merely in it for the money. They have followers, lots of them, but their enterprises are essentially laughable and are of no lasting consequence. We’re not worried about them.
Second, there are the profoundly religious creationists who are entirely sincere. These are rarely harmful, except for the occasional victims of faith healing, which is a separate issue. Basically, their religion is their own affair, and we’re not worried about them or their followers — as long as they remain peaceful, which most do.
And finally we have those who know exactly what they’re doing, and they do it for an absolutely evil purpose (but evil people almost always see their goals as noble). They want to impose a theocracy upon us, and they dream that one day they will be our rulers. These are the malevolent types we’ve described here: Enemies of the Enlightenment, and they’re the only creationists worthy of our attention and vigilance — regardless of the organizations to which they belong.
How can one tell the difference between the various flavors of creationists? In one sense it doesn’t matter, because all are to be avoided, but some are obviously more dangerous than others. Clearly, a young-earth creationist, or an organization teaching that doctrine, has no hope of ever being taken seriously. They’re probably flim-flammers or maybe they’re insane, and some may be mentally sound but amazingly misguided — but these types aren’t out to take over the world. (Well, maybe a school board here and there, but the courts have been successful in dealing with that.)
The ones to watch out for are the sneaky ones — the old-earthers, and those who claim to be scientists, and especially those who won’t give an answer one way or the other when asked about the age of the earth. They’re not quite the fools you might think they are. Be especially wary of them.
But it requires some effort to sort them all out, and we have better things to do with our time. Therefore, if they’re all regarded the same — as if they were all crazed and dangerous — then you can’t get hurt. Even so, we recommend that you should try not to insult the sincere types who cling to creationism as a matter of faith, and who are content to let the rest of us believe otherwise. They’re not harming anyone — except maybe their children. But except in rare cases of physical harm there should be no interference.
That leaves us with the malevolent creationists. What are they doing to oppose evolution in a world where all the evidence is against them? They spread propaganda, and they like to play the Hitler card. And communism. And Stalin. And even the Columbine shootings. Most recently, they’ve added Charles Manson to their fraudulent account of Darwin’s alleged legacy. It’s all part of their wedge strategy.
In other words, despite creationists’ claims to the contrary, creationism has long ago ceased to be a scientific effort. It’s evolved, so to speak, into a deranged ideology that has completely lost its mind. And soul.
But they have a purpose, and they must be defeated.
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.
“But they have a purpose, and they must be defeated.”
rAmen! Where do I sign up? 🙂
LRA, just keep doing what you’re doing.
The Curmudgeon notes:
Arguably, the varieties of Creationists you have outlined in your admirable article could be arrayed as a ‘ring species’ along a cline of credulity.
And agreed, some varieties are relatively benign. But man, look out for the venomous ones!
Great Claw says: “And agreed, some varieties are relatively benign. But man, look out for the venomous ones!”
In case I didn’t make it clear, I have no use for any of them, but I think those who are merely in la-la land can be ignored.
Inevitably – You will hear the phrase “The TRUTH”. That’s how I spot ’em.
From the context I take it that you’re not counting those on the street who haven’t given 5 minutes thought to the evidence, or what scientists (not the media) say about evolution. They too can be divided into roughly half hopeless, and half not hopeless. And they too have views spanning the continuum from flat earth to “virtual evolution”, heavy on the YECs, thanks to it being the most sucessful meme.
While there’s no hard line between the rank & file and the activists (posfessional or otherwise) I hope we can focus on the activists. There too, their views span the continuum, but with a growing “don’t ask, don’t tell what the designer did when” faction.
Curmudgeon wrote: “The ones to watch out for are the sneaky ones — the old-earthers, and those who claim to be scientists, and especially those who won’t give an answer one way or the other when asked about the age of the earth. “They’re not quite the fools you might think they are. Be especially wary of them.”
I would say that the OECs who defend OEC and occasionally challenge YECs and IDers (e.g. Hugh Ross) are the most honest (though still deluded), while those who believe old earth, old life, and sometimes common descent but either don’t answer or think those questions are “unimportant” are the most dishonst. They are mostly IDers who claim not to be “creationists.”
Google “Ronald Bailey” and “Origin of the Specious” to see what I still consider the best assessment of the motives of anti-evolution activists. The article is from 1997, the early days of ID. Bailey all but predicted the “Wedge” document that appeared in 1999.
Curmudgeon wrote: “We’re not concerned here with the uneducated or the mental defectives…It’s the promoters of creationism we’re talking about, and we can assign them to a few different categories”
I definitely read better in the morning.
Frank J says: “I definitely read better in the morning.”
The smell of napalm is what does it.