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.
Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.
CM is right that creationists are more than Ark hunters. The DI, for example, champions any anti-science initiative because they’re being left behind by the advance of civilization and they don’t know how to catch up.
If you want to understand creationists you need to study Yertle the Turtle.
As a dentist, McLeroy was an obscure, gnome of a man but who most likely provided a good dental service to his patients.
As chairman of the SBOE McLeroy was king of all he could see. He could read quotes from AIG, wave copies of Darwin’s Black Box and call them science with NO OPPOSITION. He could thumb his nose at the Academy of Sciences and every science organization in the world with NO OPPOSITION. After all, he was king. It’s good to be king!
Creationists all want to be CEO of the We Say So Corporation.
Dembski wants to be President for Life of the William Dembski Institute for Intelligent Design at Baylor, with a lifetime meal ticket at the BU cafeteria where the mac & cheese is even better than Luby’s.
Behe wants to give paid lectures on mousetraps and Mt. Rushmore around the country to standing ovations.
Meyer wants to be known as the Man who Proved the Existence of God and, quite possibly, a better hair stylist.
Casey Luskin want’s Smithers job reporting to Mr. Burns.
Imagine that the “creationists” get their way. Completely. First, restore prayer in school. Make it mandatory. Then clean out the library; out with Harry Potter to Hari Krishna. Then clean out the courts, Ivy League educated need not apply. Then get rid of all those profit-hampering business regulations, and equal this and equal that. Strive for a cross between Iran and South Africa without all those minorities and Muslims, of course.
Because we say so, right Yertle?
Doc Bill says: “CM is right that creationists are more than Ark hunters. ”
Who is CM?
CurMudgeon. I was trying for a nickname.
How does “Shirley” work for you?
Doc Bill asks:
Great. She’s my cleaning lady.
Clarification please. “The Adversary” in the essay above refers to the neo-theocrats, correct?
I ask because in Christian terminology “The Adversary” is a commonly-used name for Satan, IIRC.
So I apologize for being so slow this morning, I’m not sure I am following whom you are talking about when you say “The Adversary” in your essay.
They’re the enemies of the Enlightenment. That includes the Discoveroids, of course. It wasn’t clear? I’ll read it again and maybe give it a tweak.
Ah, one fan. It’s a start.
Curmy said, “They’re the enemies of the Enlightenment. That includes the Discoveroids, of course. It wasn’t clear?”
Got it. Thanks for the clarification. I don’t know whether it was clear or confusing to everyone else. Maybe I just need another cup of tea.
MarcC, it wasn’t all that clear. I tweaked it.
Oops, I apologize for my typo. “your” should have been “you”.
SC, “Ah, one fan. It’s a start.”
Don’t be so modest, you know well you have quite a few fans, at least two.
Make it three… thousand.
You have pinned it. Anti-enlightenment, both capitalized and lower case. Thanks to you, and several others, the Adversary is made manifest. He(?) is the Enemy of civilization, reason, and all thinking people. It’s good to see a principled conservative standing up for the right! Um, I’m a liberal Demo, but here right is right.
The SBOE’s of Texas Attack on Evolution appears to have been a warning. They used their creationist techniques to attack other academic and social topics. The insidious nature of their approach should be a wake up call for everyone.
I am arriving at the conclusion that we should attack these American Mullah’s where it hurts, not with logic, not with science, not even with anger, instead lets go after their money.
I believe that as a “religious” entity that is exerting a “Political” agenda, SHOULD PAY TAXES and I would apply that to any entity that supports them.
Well said. And it’s an issue of power and control, too. If the anti-Enlightenment types really did forsake the fruits of the Enlightenment and went off to form their own agrarian society based on Levitical law, possibly on the Liberty University campus, that’s fine by me. But that’s not the point; it’s about keeping people ignorant by sowing distrust in science and evidence. If you can convince large groups of people that the entire universe is 6,000 years old and that Noah had a pair of T-rexes, you don’t have all that far to go before you hit The Handmaid’s Tale, If This Goes On—, and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
James F says:
Like the Amish. No quarrel with them. But the theocrats are on a mission.
Would like your permission to post today’s article in a local newspaper forum. It is too good not to share!
I apologize if this comment shows up twice. I submitted it, but it disappeared.
Any ideas on who’s the money behind such groups as DI, AIG, and the Creation Institute?
Exactly. There’s an Amish market not far from my parents’ house. The food is delicious, and the proprietors are some of the most polite and pleasant people you could hope to meet. We don’t discuss science or religion, and everyone’s happy.
Charley Horse: What newspaper, where? The press doesn’t just copy stuff. Could you be a bit more specific?
The Discoverrhoids don’t want to see your country become like Iran or Calvin’s Geneva: they just want power.
Don’t forget that these people have a hugely over-developed faculty for doublethink. They’d just love to have all that sciencey stuff working and sending rockets up (and preferably down on Iran). Everything will be great so long as nobody questions out loud that Jesus is American and probably from Texas. Them pointy-headed scientists can think whatever they need to to keep the machines going ping. They just better not say anything mean about Noah.
They’ll probably pass a law that says everyone has to be happy all the time too. Won’t it be great?
It’s difficult to have one without the other.
And part of that is that they don’t want any independent source of power. A source of power that they can’t control. Such as facts about the real world.
Yes, but I doubt that they’d be organising raids on science labs to make sure that they were evilushin-free.
These guys take a Wide Stance when it comes to putting the ideology into practice, and hypocrisy is fine so long as everybody turns up at church on Sunday morning. And if science makes money, jkeep it comin’!
Of course, you’ll end up with the research being done in heathen foreign places after a while, but they don’t think that’s important. They’ll get theirs when the Rapture comes!
The newspaper is a daily. The Jackson Sun in West Tennessee.
I would be posting it in a public forum—not in the printed version of the paper. I’m just a reader of the paper, not an employee.
I realize I could just link to it but I think it will have more impact and will be read by more if it is posted in total.
Charley Horse, I’d prefer that you just post one or two paragraphs, and then give a link. And don’t worry about impact. Trust me, there won’t be any.
“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?”
It’s important because it has traction. The crop circle crowd isn’t re-writing school curricula. If they were, I’d be just as vocal in opposition to the inclusion of UFOs in astronomy class.
You have another fan here. Your essay sums up perfectly my feelings. I’m an electrical engineer. When I want to test an outlet to determine if its “hot” (read “still has an electrical connection”), I grab my multimeter, not my Bible. When I want to know the temperature outside, I look at a thermometer, not a Christian cross. When I want to figure out how much a letter weighs (Yes, I still use snail mail, thanks!), I walk to a small scale in my office; I don’t drop the letter on top of the King James Version and expect to find the “Answer in Genesis” (heh).
The multimeter and thermometer and scale are all devices based on reason and are products of The Scientific Method. Their inventors might have drawn inspiration or strength from The Bible, or Quran, or the writings of Confucius. But they built them based on the the Principles of Enlightenment.
The Creationists would have us believe they only think poorly of Darwin. If only we would replace evolution with creationism they say, why, we’d all go back to our Bibles and leave you all alone.
You’ve nailed it. In reality, they think poorly of Reason itself. And, boy, do I have an issue with unReasonable people.
Very interesting comments, and its gotten me thinking.
What if … this isn’t about religion at all?
What if … this is about wealth and power and nothing more?
What if Creationists are just the easily manipulated tool of those who want political power?
I shouldn’t post such things when I’m sleepy, because it’s starting to make sense.