This is a holiday weekend and there’s not much going on, so we’ll give you a follow-up to what we wrote a few years ago in Open Letter to Creationists. We’ve touched on the same themes before, for example, see Creationists: Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, or Wicked, and Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism.
We’re not speaking to professional creationists — the charlatans who make a living from the ignorance and simple-mindedness of their supporters. They know what they’re doing, and they intend to persevere. We have contempt for them, but as long as they don’t break any laws, we leave them to their shabby endeavors.
Nor are we hoping to make any impression on their followers. It’s depressing to see how many there are — ignoramuses, simpletons, or deranged fanatics — all slack jawed, their eyes wide and unfocused, drooling, and babbling away. They don’t know the difference between science and folklore, nor do they know what is known or how it is known. They are what they are, and because of how they were raised, they are incapable of being anything else. But they’ll survive. A creationist can do simple things — drive a car and earn a living at some kind of trade. They’ll never understand the nature and extent of their deficiencies, but they can live reasonably happy lives. We wish them well.
So if we’re not talking to them, who are we talking to? We’re talking to the rest of you — those with the ability to think and who have some knowledge of and appreciation for science. How should you react to and deal with creationists? We addressed that in Do Creationists Have the Right To Be Ignorant?, where we said:
People can survive without knowing science. They may even be happy. Yes, their career choices are limited, but that’s true for of all of us — we can’t study everything. So why should we force kids to learn to think by studying science if their families don’t want them to do so? People have the right to be ignorant, don’t they? So we’re suggesting: If they want to be ignorant, then let them be ignorant. They’re happy, and they have the right to drool.
But that applies only to peaceful creationists. What of the others? In some ways, a creationist is like someone who has lost the use of a limb; his functionality is limited. But a man who has lost a leg never insists that the rest of us should become like him. A creationist, however, has lost the use of his mind, and doesn’t know what he’s missing. He thinks there’s something wrong with us, and that we should become like him.
If fanatical creationists go on the offensive, we have the right to defend ourselves and our freedom to teach and practice science. So far, we haven’t had to deal with that — except for from some goofy legislative activity attempting to slip creationism into the schools. That sort of thing must always be vigorously opposed.
Aside from that, your Curmudgeon is benevolent. We think creationists have the freedom to believe what they want, and to preach it, teach it (at their own expense in their own schools and churches), and write about it for the “benefit” of those who wish to learn from them. They can build and operate their creation museums — without government funds, of course — and no one should interfere with such things. However, they have no right to harass, attack, restrain, or otherwise violate the rights of anyone. We shouldn’t interfere with them, and we shouldn’t tolerate their interference with us.
Creationists always raise the issue of tax-supported schools that teach science, and tax-supported scientific research, claiming that this is a violation of their rights. The response to that isn’t complicated. It’s up to the states to operate public schools, and the federal government to support defense and other research, but no level of government can teach or support religion with taxpayer’s money. That’s how it is and how it should be — unless the Constitution is amended, which we hope will never happen. There are other countries that have a theocratic way of running things. Perhaps creationists should consider moving to one of those places.
So there you are. We say: leave ’em alone and let ’em drool. For those who become aggressive, push back — hard. Somehow, it’ll all work out.
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