THIS is Sunday and news is slow, so it’s time for a Curmudgeonly essay.
Why is The Controversy between evolution and creationism important? Why do we spend our time writing about that, and not about other strange beliefs — like crop circles, perpetual motion, or the other nonsense that saturates the kook-o-sphere? For a sampling of what’s out there, see this list of topics characterized as pseudoscience.
The reason we ignore almost all of pseudoscience is because it’s literally unimportant if someone believes in astrology or magic crystals. It’s true that believers in such things are wasting their lives to the extent that they spend time and money on such foolishness, but those people will always seek out some silliness to embrace, so the specific absurdity on which they focus is of no consequence to us.
But creationism is different — and let us be clear here: We’re not talking about the intellectually primitive, young-earth, Noah’s Ark type of creationism. We regard that as we do belief in a flat-earth or the geocentric universe. Such doctrines are false, useless, and life-wasting, but ultimately of no significance whatsoever. So we’re definitely not speaking of that old-time, psalm-singing creationism, which affects no one but its believers.
Instead, we’re thinking of what we wrote when we began this blog. See: Enemies of the Enlightenment. In that post we spoke of a counter-revolution against the Enlightenment. We said that would-be tyrants, theocrats, Grand Inquisitors, Marxists, fascists, and other assorted despots are nostalgic for the pre-Enlightenment days when men lived in ignorance and unthinkingly obeyed authority. The counter-revolutionaries hope to restore those sub-human conditions, imagining that in such a nightmare world they will be our masters.
Creationism by itself is insignificant, but it’s the vehicle chosen by the followers of an ancient evil to further their political and philosophical objectives. What do we mean when we speak of “an ancient evil”? We’re not thinking of a supernatural force like the devil. But we do sometimes use one the devil’s synonyms — the Adversary. It’s a convenient label for the Enlightenment’s enemies — Western Civilization’s counter-revolutionaries — including the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids).
Thus, although mere creationism doesn’t merit much attention, it’s not just another oddity out there among so many others. It gets our attention because it’s the Adversary’s instrument. Creationism is being used as the front for a coordinated, multi-pronged assault on every worthy human accomplishment. It provides a handy base of exploitable ignorance, which is manipulated to wage a deliberate and relentless campaign against reason itself — and reason is the fountainhead of everything that makes human life worth living.
Anti-reason — cunningly concealed within an old, familiar religious belief — first seduces, then dominates, and ultimately destroys its followers.
The Adversary absolutely despises reason. In the words of Martin Luther, who is typical in this respect:
But since the devil’s bride, Reason, that pretty whore, comes in and thinks she’s wise, and what she says, what she thinks, is from the Holy Spirit, who can help us, then? Not judges, not doctors, no king or emperor, because [reason] is the Devil’s greatest whore.
That’s the view of every fanatic, mystic, dogmatist, witch doctor, dictator, and autocrat who ever waved a magic wand, cast a spell, mumbled a chant, or cracked a whip. Why? Surely it’s obvious: For the Adversary to triumph, reason must be defeated. And should that ever happen, then although life may continue, as it did during the Dark Ages, nothing of value will survive.
And so we persevere.
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