Monday, March 30, 2009

Evolution in Texas: Survival of the Fittest Creationists

In another example of religious evolution in action, Texas and other conservative states continue to be an embarrassment to America, as the ultra-conservative faction of their religious citizens push their long, destructive campaigns to inject religion into our school systems. The good news is that this time, Texas stood up to the creationists more than in the past, by rejecting the strong anti-science language that creationists were trying to put into textbooks.

Many atheists, and also many members of mainstream religions, know what a bad idea it is to mix religion and government, especially government-run schools, and have a hard time understanding the incredible tenacity of these creationist zealots. But it's not really much of a mystery.

When you look at religion from an evolutionary point of view using memetics (the evolution of culture and ideas), this sort of behavior is both expected and predictable. Evolution shows that traits that work are the ones that survive. Truth is not very relevant. And the sad fact is that churches and religions that fight education and knowledge are the ones that last longer.

The "science" and "history" of the Bible has been in large part shown to be wrong, yet it is still the foundation of Christianity and Judaism. If the biblical-literalism faction opens the door even a crack to this fact, it can only lose credibility. The only way to sustain these religious beliefs is to flat-out deny, even in the face of irrefutable and overwhelming evidence proving, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the Bible is wrong.

So back to the State of Texas: Using an evolutionary, memetic view of creationists, it's easy to see what's happening. The churches that cling to the inerrancy of the Bible are survivors. They are the ones that have the most appealing story. The prey on the ignorance of their converts, and fight knowledge at every turn. And it works: They gain membership, and the more liberal churches that accept that the Bible is metaphorical, not scientific, lose members.

If you view this all using cultural evolution and a "survival of the fittest" approach, it's obvious why Texas is still fighting creationism. Creationism is the "survivor" meme in the survival-of-the-fittest battle of the churches.


  1. The majority of the opposition to the creationist nonsense was the Science Teachers Association of Texas. We've been really working hard to get our members worked up about making sure science education stays grounded in actual science.

    As you've been good to mention, in a state like Texas, it's really an uphill battle, but it's good to see that it's taken a national stage and people are seeing that there's actually a lot of people who are against this kind of nonsense.

    The STAT position statement on evolution is pretty clear on the matter:

    I love the site and it's really good to see that all the effort we put into actually helping people see logic has some payoff, even if it's not necessarily all at once.

  2. Jonathan, keep up the good work. I can't imagine how I could teach science in a state that required me to lie to students about the foundations of modern science. I admire all teachers (my wife teaches high-school math), but you guys have an extra burden.


Dear readers -- I am no longer blogging and after leaving these blogs open for two years have finally stopped accepting comments due to spammers. Thanks for your interest. If you'd like to write to me, click on the "Contact" link at the top. Thanks! -- CJ.

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