Creationist Wisdom #1,044: The Cult of Darwin

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Tulsa Beacon, a weekly newspaper in Tulsa, Oklahoma that doesn’t have a comments feature. The letter is titled False theories from pseudo-science.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Andrew. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

Many atheists attack Christianity by arrogantly stating that “religion is not compatible with science.” [Yeah, we’ve seen attacks like that!] However, true science is simply the outside study of nature which is God’s Creation.

Aha — we always wondered what true science is. Now we know! Andy continues:

Furthermore, throughout history, there have been many fascist dictators who have been known to manipulate the facts of science in order to suit their own agenda.

Only fascist dictators? We’ve seen all kinds of dictators telling all kinds of lies — even *gasp* religious dictators. Anyway, Andy then tells us:

When key members of the global elite fabricate false theories, such as Darwin’s theory of evolution, that effectively transforms legitimate science into pseudo-science [That’s terrible!] which grows legs [Huh?] and becomes its own self-sustaining pagan religion by calling on people to place a higher emphasis on creation rather than a Creator.

Gull-durned global elite! So they’re the ones responsible for promoting Darwin’s theory. We should have known!

And now — too soon! — we come to the end of Andy’s brief (but powerful) letter. Here it is:

The hypocritical irony of this cult-like phenomenon is that is [Should be “it”?] masquerades under the title of “science” and its followers claim they are “not religious.”

Brilliantly said, Andy! Yes, dear reader, people like you hypocritically claim your Darwinist cult is “science,” but Andy knows it’s really your religion.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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29 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #1,044: The Cult of Darwin

  1. Eddie Janssen

    Give each sentence a number and the question becomes:
    Put them in the right order.
    I am Dutch, so English is not my first language, but isn’t the last sentence missing something grammar-wise?

  2. Michael Fugate

    Bluto : What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
    Otter : [to Boon] Germans?
    Boon : Forget it, he’s rolling.

  3. Jim Roberts

    Ah, “global elites.” I get to check off the “barely concealed anti-Semitism” box on my Creationist Crank bingo card.

  4. OMG !!!!.. I’m a freakin’ global elite ? I thought I was just a moderate American trying to stay out of the Middle Ages . Seriously. How long before the global elite darwinist tank armies roll over Europe and America ?
    In the case of this fantastic letter, (which our dear Curmudgeon has found and sent to his readership) written by Andrew, may be an example of what happens when a bad high school diploma, bad church and a redneck collide with a 12 pack of Budweiser.
    Just sayin’. PLUS, all the shale oil drilling and completion rigs have been laid down for a few months now and the trailer parks are getting restless for beer money.

  5. Respectfully, Oil field geoscientist

  6. I don’t find the reference to elites amusing. Seeing scientific authorities as a part of the elite is one of the drivers of the antiscience agenda that joins together evolution denial, climate change denial, evangelical Christianity, American exceptionalism, a sense of grievance directed at elites, and conspiracy theories.

    This matters. The issue is labelled as Us versus Them, and the very fact of my propounding the science is enough to label me as one of Them. How does one get past this?

  7. I wonder how much deliberate prodding there is to this sort of thing. Some of this is making the USA look rediculous – is that intended?

  8. Dave Luckett

    Paul Braterman: I don’t think any of us find antisemitic dog whistles “amusing”. It is one of a number of mental (I won’t use the word “intellectual”) habits that has become increasingly disturbing of late.

    You can say what you like about the world of my boyhood, but the people who were adults when I was a child knew what the Nazis were and did, because they were physically present while it was happening – and to do them due credit, they wanted nothing to do with anybody who thought that way. But that generation has gone, and the reverberations have decreased. I keep tripping over this particular iteration of xenophobia on the internet now, and it bothers me extremely.

    But also there is this, and you might find some comfort in it. The writer’s surname has an identifiable background. The 17th-century settlement of Calvinist Lowland and Borders Scots on land confiscated from the Catholic Irish in Ireland created a chancre that poisoned everything it touched for centuries, and still does today. Everywhere those affected by it went – and the diaspora is amazingly wide – they brought cultural attitudes of astonishing persistence. Clannish, suspicious of strangers, violent, intolerant, given to fundamentalist religion and drink, dismissive of “book learning” and phobic of government, they form an identifiable strain that colours their destinations to this day – and this is particularly true in the American south and south-west. A minority, to be sure, but an important one.

    It wasn’t all bad. Nobody can fault their restless energy, even their impatience with authority. Yet they are as they are. I suspect that Our Correspondent has been informed at some level by that cultural heritage.

    All very well, but we find ourselves confronted by the question attributed to Lenin: “What is to be done?”

  9. @PaulB: “I don’t find the reference to elites amusing.”
    Neither do I and that’s for me another reason to mock Andrew and co as mercilessly as I can (unfortunately I was not in shape yesterday). Also the answer to “How does one get past this?” is well known: like Och Will I belong to Them, ie to the global elite. Also learn from my compatriots of 450 years ago:

    If someone like Andrew accuses me of belonging to the global elite I’ll be g*dd**n proud of it. Of course it matters, but for mentally healthy it’s a no brainer whose side to choose.

    @DaveL: “a chancre that poisoned everything it touched for centuries, and still does today”
    With some success I hope I’ve tried to make clear that Dutch orthodox-protestants (whose ideas directly go back to Jehan Calvin as well) are exactly the same. That said many of them actively resisted the nazis during the German occupation of The Netherlands.

  10. From Jorge’s first link: “he has had various mental health diagnoses”.
    Well well, I had not expected to be so literally correct when I wrote “mentally healthy”. I had a much broader meaning in mind. According to established psychology this guy

    is mentally healthy. Still he must have a twist in his brains to write something like this:

    “ik stel wetenschap en geloof ook niet tegenover elkaar. Ik stel wetenschap en de evolutietheorie tegenover elkaar. Wetenschap en christelijk geloof staan aan dezelfde kant van de lijn. Ze hebben hetzelfde fundament: Gods betrouwbare openbaring. Evolutietheorie en naturalisme staan aan de andere kant van de lijn. Die hebben niets te maken met recht doen, trouw betrachten en nederig de weg gaan van onze God.”

    “I don’t pit science and belief against each other. I pit science and evolutiontheory against each other. Science and christian belief are on the same side of the line. They have the same fundament: God’s reliable revelation. Evolutiontheory and naturalism are on the other side of the line. They have nothing to do with doing justice, practising adherence and humbly going the way of our God.”

    This is an excellent display display of the creationist mindset. Here science means medieval natural philosophy, ie under the guidance of theologians. And it’s mentally unhealthy, I maintain.

  11. Dave Luckett

    FrankB: I defer to your knowledge of Dutch calvinists, and have no doubt that you are right. But still, for raging ratbaggery, a bellicose effrontery combined with the elevation of arrogant ignorance into a whole pantheon of virtues, all informed by sheer brain-dead pig-headedness, I have yet to meet a specimen to touch one Northern Irishman I knew in my youth, an elder in my father’s congregation, and a sore trial to him. A creationist, too, as I recall.

  12. Ol’Hambo’s god truly has a weird science of humour: meet the smilodon anchovy.

    Of course the dating must be wrong – the animal disappeared during the turmoil of the Big Flood, whether that makes sense or not.

  13. Michael Fugate

    An interesting piece on conspiracy theories
    “Conspiracy thinking is immune to evidence.”

  14. “Concentate your efforts on people who can hear evidence and think rationally.”
    Should that be “want to” rather than “can”? I am torn.
    And I’m not sure about evidence being crucial. It is rather the support that the evidence gives. Flat Earthers have their evidence – all of those experts insisting upon the Earth being round – that can be explained by the experts being in on a conspiracy. (Meanwhile our support is explained by our being dupes, or being part of the conspiracy.)

  15. @Michael Fugate, three melancholy reflections on the piece that you link to, showing the extreme difficulty of coping with conspiracy theories, especially those being professionally promoted. In this world of echo chambers and bubbles, we’re unlikely even to get to grips with those who believe in conspiracy theories, while our attempts to dismantle their material can even be counter effective, because it publicises it. When you do get through, you’re unlikely to be listened to, because for the devoted conspiracy theorist, like the devoted libertarian or the devoted creationist, your arguments are attack on the core of their identity. And finally, there most certainly are politically motivated activists, especially on the Alt Right, very professionally promoting the most absurd conspiracy theories. Consider Pizzagate.

    Here is one example that I followed as it developed on social media in the UK. Just before last December’s election a photo showing deplorable overcrowding in an E&A was circulating, with the implication that the Conservative government had failed to properly fund the National Health Service. In response, an army of trolls posted highly similar messages, complete with identical factual errors, promoting with the same bogus supporting details (“I am friends with a nurse who tells me…”) the demonstrably untrue assertion that the photograph was faked and posed, while secondary trolls including LBC talk radio then reported, as news, the fact that there were such allegations.

    What countermeasures are effective?

  16. Since we are discussing conspiracy theories, how about this one:
    ‘In an interview with Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro… “You watch, they’ll milk it every single day between now and November 3,” Eric Trump said. “And guess what, after November 3, coronavirus will magically, all of a sudden, go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.”

    As far as I can tell, in both the US and the UK this kind of thing is coming exclusively from the right, and is deliberate and professional.

    I need to watch it, in case I turn into a conspiracy theorist

  17. AIUI, there have been studies which show that a reasoned, fact-based response to a unsubstantiated claim will often have the effect of drawing attention to the claim, rather than making it less believable.

  18. @PaulB is a bit desperate: “What countermeasures are effective?”
    So we must try them all.
    And then there is reason for optimism, but only on the long term.

    @TomS: yes, but that’s the devilish dilemma. Not reacting means running the considerable risk that such claims will spread unhampered.

  19. @TomS, @FrankB, It’s a case-by-case judgement call. But remember that bullshitters, shock jocks, and some very prominent politicians either in person or through their trolls, have perfected the technique of making inflammatory claims precisely in order to grab attention, and that they are professionals while we are amateurs.

    Why should there be “reason for optimism, but only in the long term”?

  20. In a rare moment of Curmudgeonly benevolence, Paul Braterman is the one-time beneficiary of an exception to our strict linguistic propriety rules.

  21. @SC, I assume the reference is to male bovine scatology. However, this is now a technical term in philosophy, referring to propositions that seek to command assent on emotional or tribal grounds, without even pretending to lay claim to correspondence with reality

  22. Surprisingly, a Wikipedia article on that word seems to hint that you are correct in some rarified cases. Nevertheless, there are so many alternative expressions — snake-oil salesman, etc. — that I hesitate to open the floodgates.

  23. @SC, there is still a difference. Snake oil salesmen try to convince you that their product does in fact have benefits. Manure purveyors (may I call them that? If so, that might be a good compromise solution to our dilemma) are those who want you to bypass the test of reality altogether when it comes to evaluating their claims

  24. @PaulB: “reason for optimism, but only in the long term”?
    Because Max Planck’s quote

    “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

    applies to common people as well, but even slower. Precious few Dutchies are still afraid of black cats these days. Lots of b**ls**t (I agree with our dear SC that this is more appropriate for this blog, even if I’m very capable of abusive language myself – this method has ao a nice ironic touch) has disappeared with the advance of science.

  25. Manure purveyors? Excellent! Verily, each of the websites we follow offers a daily banquet specializing in that substance.

  26. @Frank B, yes, I think that is true within the scientific community. Unfortunately, one science and has been making rapid progress is the science of manipulating behaviour. I do this myself at the most minor level; since my blog is, unlike this one, non-specialised, I pay attention to what does and what does not draw traffic. Now just imagine what I could do if I could fine-tune to different audiences, and get a pattern-seeking algorithm to work on what kind of thing works with whom, and how targets can be identified by the other links that they choose to open. That is what we are now up against

  27. Michael Fugate

    What makes manure from bulls so special?
    On the other hand, these daily communications inspire me to look up new information and study arguments.

  28. And there are people whose purpose is to create chaos. About anything.