How Creationism Helps Liberals

Jesus with his pet dinosaur.

At Splice Today, Noah Berlatsky says that progressives like me who mock creationists are actually making a mountain of a molehill:

For what it’s worth, I think evolution is true; I believe in it as much as I believe in the Internet or in the existence of Katha Pollitt. I did my MA thesis in part on Darwin, and I’ve read a good deal of evolutionary theory for a layperson. I agree with Pollitt that creationism is incoherent and illogical. The earth is really old; dinosaurs existed long before people did; I’m related to apes, and have the hair growing on my ears to prove it.

However, I don’t think you have to be a fool to believe the contrary. Really, all you have to be is human. Humans, of whatever creed or politics, believe lots of things that have no particular scientific basis. Some people believe in ghosts. Some people—even some left-wing people—believe vaccines cause autism. Some people, again, some of them left-wingers, believe John F. Kennedy’s assassination was part of a vast conspiracy. Some people believe that Kennedy was a good President. Some people believe that economists can forecast the economy.

All of these beliefs have more practical negative consequences than a belief in creationism. In fact, the only real effect of creationism, as far as I can see, is to interfere with the teaching of evolution in some secondary schools. And given how lousy U.S. high schools are, this is probably a boon for science. As a former educator, I can tell you that the best way to get students to know nothing about a topic is to teach them about it. If you want to kill creationism as a viable public ideology, just make it a nationwide curricular requirement. “Adam was married to (A) Eve (B) Steve (C) a dinosaur (D) a platypus.” I’m sure given just a little time and the usual level of resource allocation, our educational system can insure that less than 46 percent of students will pick A.

via Liberal Creationist Idiocy | Politics & Media |

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • B. Steve
    I have a degree in the Bible and it shows just like my gut (that is how you know I am a good Christian).
    Thank you for always causing me to think and rethink my views on faith.

  • Phil Miller

    He makes a lot of good points. It has always fascinated me how the people who claim to care the most about the little guy don’t seem to have any problem denigrating the beliefs of said little guy.

  • Greg Gorham

    I think there’s a difference between believing in something that science can’t prove or disprove, and relentlessly insisting upon something that science has proven false. I can’t “prove” the existence or non-existence of ghosts, God, or even spirits. We do have the means, however, to know whether or not dinosaurs are older than humans.

  • Romans 6:1-2.

    “interfere with the teaching of evolution in some secondary schools” … Oh, that! A mere bag of shells. I hope he, a former educator, is kidding, but more likely he is part of the problem of “lousy U.S. high schools” and know-nothing students.

  • Creationism itself does seem to me to contribute to skepticism about science generally within a large segment of the population, and so contributes to climate change denialism — which does have pretty serious “practical negative consequences.”

    Creationism+, where that includes the claim that belief in Creationism is extremely important, to the point that the Christianity of those who don’t accept Creationism is highly questionable, has very bad “practical negative consequences” within the church. I don’t know whether most Creationists accept Creationism+, but it seems that many who proclaim Creationism very loudly and insistently do.

  • Big Turtle

    The real issue with creatioism is that it followers reject a scientific approach to things that science can prove (or disprove). The Hixon bosin is a prime example. I know science teachers in my local school system who are afraid to talk about how the planets were formed so as to not offend anyone who thinks the Earth is 7000 years old.