Creationism in Proverbs

It is a symptom of the fact that I spend so much time addressing pseudoscience that, when I saw the article in the New York Times about discoveries in Brazil that may challenge previous conclusion concerning human migration to the Americas, my first thought was about how young-earth creationists will react to the news.

I expect them to insist that the dates are wrong. But I also expect them to smugly point out that this just shows yet again that scientists are regularly wrong, that science changes.

If and when they do that, I hope you will point out the problem with their attitude, and what it shows about the motives which drive anti-science creationism.

Young-earth creationists and others like them want to be right all the time. And since that is impossible, they choose instead to double down on their convictions, and work strenuously to persuade themselves and others that they have indeed been right all along – even though the evidence shows the opposite.

Actual science responds very differently. While some individual scientists may of course feel dismay when new discoveries invalidate their previous work, the overall response to confirmed and verified new data is excitement. New discoveries allow for our thinking to be corrected, so that we can abandon erroneous views and develop better ones.

Proverbs emphasizes that it is a fool who refuses to accept correction. Based on that, who are the fools when it comes to science? The scientists who are constantly working to correct our understanding, or the young-earth creationists who not only reject such correction, but actually ridicule it as a bad thing?



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  • R Vogel

    Dr. McGrath, may I humbly suggest that ID is a far more dangerous and invasive problem than YEC. It is my experience that even within christian circles YEC is a pretty fringe belief (despite what Gallup says – I still have yet to understand the significant disparity between their results and the Pew results) YEC has exactly no chance to be introduced into public education, but ID is probing that boundary all the time. I’m all for making fun of loonies, but let’s not overlook the sappers in the lines….

    • David Evans

      I wonder if ID is that much of a threat. Suppose they get their way and ID is allocated equal time in biology class. What will they teach? I think kids will soon realise that while mainstream biology deals in positive facts and reasonable interpretations of them, ID is entirely negative.

      • $41348855

        I agree. ID isn’t a theory about the way life arose; it’s a theory about the way life supposedly couldn’t have arisen. The main pillar of ID is the idea of irreducible complexity. What the proponents of ID seem not to realise is that this pillar has been reduced to a pile of rubble.

        One of Behe’s examples of a supposedly irreducibly complex system was the blood-clotting system. But Russell Doolittle has worked out a detailed scenario by which the system could have evolved. What is more, the scenario isn’t just speculation; it makes testable predictions.

        If the blood-clotting system evolved in stages then the earlier stages should be represented in other animals. Also, the earlier stages should appear in the right order on the evolutionary tree. In other words, our system is the most complex; so if we can find three animals which are missing one, two and three parts of our blood-clotting system respectively, then the one most closely related to us should be missing one part; the one less closely related to us should be missing two parts; and the one least closely related to us should be missing three parts.

        This is exactly what we find. Here is a link to a pdf document about it. On the first page you will see an evolutionary tree which shows the order in which the various components of the system appeared.

      • R Vogel

        ID is simply religion masquerading as science, and as such undermines science. You put a pretty high confidence in the ability of kids to be able to discern the difference. This is why the religious lobby has been so keen on getting it into schools. ID is far more insidious because of its air of respectability. But it is anti-science, plain and simple.

        This is a great talk by Kevin Miller, scientist, theist, and anti-ID activist: