The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Opposing Creationism

The recent post by Casey at the Discoveroids’ blog, titled What Can YOU Do to Support Intelligent Design?, about which we wrote Discoveroids’ Guide to Creationist Activism, has inspired us.

Our question for you, dear reader, is this: What can you do to oppose creationism?

The answer depends, of course, on the type of creationist one is dealing with. We’re not talking about the trivial differences between young-earthers, old-earthers, and the flat-out fraud of intelligent design. Their doctrinal distinctions are unimportant. They’re all creationists — reality deniers — and the fine points that divide them are a distraction. We classify creationists into entirely different groups.

First, there’s the basic, wandering-around creationist, whose most notable characteristic is ignorance — often accompanied by stupidity, and in extreme cases, insanity. There isn’t much to be done about such people if they’re past school-age. We suggest that they can be ignored. They’re really no different from UFO believers or moon-landing deniers. Such people will always be around, and their existence can be disregarded. What if you put in some effort and tripped one of them up on some point? Nothing’s been accomplished. Even if he ceased to be a creationist, he’ll just wander off into astrology, or maybe voodoo. Those people are a waste of time.

That leaves us with their leaders. In most cases, as you know, the prominent creationists are nothing more than ruthless charlatans, preying on their flocks with their phony ministries, absurd creation science books, and goofy theme parks. For such as these, our weapon of choice is ridicule. Their teachings are laughable, and laughter is the recommended response. It’s useless to debate them, because they’ve heard it all before and they’re skilled at sticking to their talking points. If you feel you must do something (and we don’t think you should bother), go ahead and debunk their claims for the benefit of those who may not know better, and then laugh. Laughter is surprisingly effective. But avoid crude insults, because insults reflect poorly on the credibility of the insulter.

Now we come to the third group — this is the special category of creationist leadership that has a far more sinister motive than merely fleecing their moronic followers. We’re speaking here of the theocrats — those who want to literally rule by forcibly imposing their insanity on everyone. We’ve seen how that works out in other parts of the world, and it wouldn’t be any better here. It’s not the details of the sect that matter, it’s the tyranny itself. Theocrats are dangerous people, and they must be opposed by all legitimate means. Don’t think of them as mere creationists. Creationism is only a tool they use. They don’t care about Noah’s Ark any more than you do. They’re maniacs, and they want power.

Opposing theocrats requires more than merely rebutting their arguments — that’s already been done, but repetition is always necessary. Unfortunately, rebuttal is never sufficient. It’s essential to vigorously oppose them in the political arena — where they function — just as we oppose fascists and Marxists. Theocrats’ disguise as harmless merchants of creationism should never be allowed to shield them from criticism and opposition.

So that’s our three-pronged advice for dealing with creationists: Ignore the idiots, ridicule the flimflam peddlers, and save your energy for the theocrats. They’re the real adversary — the enemies of liberty.

You may see things differently. That’s okay. But it’s good to think about these things as we approach the Fourth of July.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Opposing Creationism

  1. Curmudgeon: “We’re not talking about the trivial differences between young-earthers, old-earthers, and the flat-out fraud of intelligent design.”

    Peddlers of that fraud are very happy that you consider those differences trivial. In one sense they are trivial, since any strategy that promotes unreasonable doubt of evolution, and pretends that there’s a controversy among scientists, is so far beyond reasoning that it does not matter what they offer, if anything, as an alternative. But in another sense those differences are the least trivial part of evolution-denial. That’s because, without even considering one shred of evidence for evolution, or challening one claim of any evolution-denier, it is those differences, and the increasing cover-up of them, that demolishes the entire enterprise.

  2. Curmudgeon: “So that’s our three-pronged advice for dealing with creationists: Ignore the idiots, ridicule the flimflam peddlers, and save your energy for the theocrats. They’re the real adversary — the enemies of liberty.

    I certainly agree with that. But note that all 3 groups (the first by far the largest) add up to at most 25% of adult Americans. Whereas another ~25% has been fooled into thinking evolution has “gaps” or that “the jury’s still out,” with many even calling themselves “creationists,” unaware how differently we define the word. And another ~25% has no problem with evolution but thinks it’s fair to “teach the controversy” on the taxpayers’ dime.

    We need to talk at the theocrats, and to that latter ~50%. Then and only then (it will take generations) will the McLeroys, Jindals and Santorums be virtually absent from public office.

  3. I served 5 years as an infantry officer in the
    Marines. There a lot of great people out there who deserve to have the good fight fought for
    them against this theocratic ID ignorance.
    Principles are what defines us. Liberty reason,
    science and free enterprise are worth standing up for. Happy Fourth, Neon, doc bill and The Curmudgeon.

  4. will says: “I served 5 years as an infantry officer in the Marines.”

    You’re no match for Casey.

  5. Seriously, though, this is a tough question. Is your answer to attack and laugh at the leaders with a goal to embarrass and expose them to our neighbors and friends, who will somehow see thru the charade? If they don’t see Ken Ham’s humans & dinos exhibit as downright silly, whatever can we do to make them see any truth?

  6. @Curmudgeon:

    Just to be clear, are you putting people like Ken Ham in the second group and Discoveroids in the third? Though I would call both groups “theocrats” that would make sense because the latter know better than to encourage critical analysis of what they know ain’t so.
    @Charles Deetz:

    The great majority would laugh off Ham’s YEC -0 if they gave it 5 minutes’ thought, though that’s a big if. Unfortunately most of them do fall for some Discoveroid sound bites, be it “I hear evolution has gaps” or “I guess evolution is true but let the students decide.” That’s what needs to be stopped. And thoughtless statements like “lying for Jesus” will work against us.

  7. Frank J asks: “Just to be clear, are you putting people like Ken Ham in the second group and Discoveroids in the third?”

    Yes, that’s right. Hambo doesn’t promote legislation (except to benefit his own operation).

  8. First of all, it isn’t a matter of opposing anything, but proposing sensible acceptance of reality, including scientific understanding of the way that nature behaves.
    And as far as how to do it, maybe if we take a look at how the Enlightenment managed to succeed against far more powerful forces.

  9. Good grief, what kind of stupid thread is this that forces me to make a sensible comment! Totally not my style but I’ll rise to the challenge. I’m sure there’s a wager of a bottle of single malt in there somewhere.

    First, support science education by donating to advocacy groups like the NCSE, Texas Freedom Network, Kansas Citizens for Science (and similar state organizations). The valiant few, like Genie Scott, who work for the NCSE put in tireless hours traveling around the country speaking for science education and against organizations like the Discovery Institute. For a few hundred dollars you even get a newsletter, but mostly the satisfaction that your donation is well spent.

    Second, support, promote and donate to state and local school board candidates who advocate strong science education. Most of these elections draw a few hundred voters, few people care and it’s fairly easy for a motivated ideologue to round up a few church votes to swing the election. And, yes, ALL of the creepy ideologues I’ve ever seen on a state board of education have been foaming-at-the-mouth conservative Christians. It takes work but you have to become informed about the candidates, donate to their campaign and promote them at the polls.

    Third, participate in on-line forums like this one, Panda’s Thumb, Pharyngula and even the Amazon dot Com book review threads. If you’re going to review creationist literature by all means read it, however lightly, first. Nothing sinks credibility faster than whacking the Gerbil without reading what the little squeaker wrote, although to be fair, anything Luskin writes is a lie; you could whack away blindfolded and never miss. Personally, I don’t own any creationist material because I wouldn’t line their pockets if I were Romney rich. But I’ll browse in a bookstore or library and, seriously, all you have to do is skim this stuff; it’s that bad. I do own quite a lot of science books both technical and popular, I subscribe to Science, Science News, New Scientist and a few other journals, and I have books about creationism by Forrest, Numbers, Shermer, Sagan, Dawkins and others. Oh, and by all means get the little book “On Bullshit” by philosopher Harry Frankfurt. It will help you distinguish between the mostly harmless creationist (pesky school board members and politicians) and the hard-core, pathological lying sociopaths (anybody associated with the Discovery Institute) and how you deal with each variant is different.

    And last, but not least, become the Spanish Inquisition because as you know, NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!! Ta-Dummmm! You have one weapon: insults and snark. Two! Two weapons: insults, snark and the Zinger. No, three, three weapons! You get the drift. Sorry, could only remain sensible so long.

  10. Doc Bill asks: “Good grief, what kind of stupid thread is this that forces me to make a sensible comment!”

    The Curmudgeonly kind, of course. I knew you had it in you.

  11. @Doc Bill: I bet you weren’t expecting this!

  12. docbill1351

    I always expect that clip and am never disappointed! Eric Idle at his best.

    Ironically, it’s the Disco Tute that’s more like the farcical Spanish Inquisition with their stirling in-house players Luskin “The Gerb” and Klinkleklonkle “Fool on the Hill” providing years of entertainment, and not much else.

  13. >”I always expect that clip and am never disappointed! Eric Idle at his best.”

    You were expecting Michael Palin, not Eric Idle … but you got Mel Brooks!

  14. docbill1351

    I was thinking Michael Palin but idly typed otherwise.

    Best movie scene ever: Michael Palin driving a steamroller through wet cement towards a stuck “Otto” shouting “Revenge! Revenge! Oh, I’m not stuttering. Revenge!”

  15. >”Best movie scene ever: Michael Palin driving a steamroller …”

    That’s from A Fish Called Wanda, I think. Classic!

  16. Tomato Addict says: “Best movie scene ever”

    Wrong, ketchup lover. It’s this: