Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Scandal of Creationism

There is a scandal at the heart of Creationism.

In my blog about Ben Stein's embarrassing "documentary", Expelled, I hit on something that I want to expand on:
Creationists insult their own constituency by relying on their ignorance.
In other words, creationists know that their followers are largely uneducated in the sciences, mathematics, formal logic, and philosophy, and they take advantage of this mercilessly.

One of the core, most crucial, arguments for creationism is "irreducible complexity," the idea that living systems are so complex that they couldn't possibly have evolved. And the key to this argument is convincing your audience that something is "complex," without defining the term. Since most creationists don't have the opportunity to study physics, chemistry and biochemistry, not to mention sub-topics like entropy and information theory, virtually all of the details of biology will seem magically complex.

If I could build a time machine and take any one of dozens of modern devices back two hundred years, I easily could have convinced 99% of the world's population that I was a genuine magician, simply by relying on their ignorance. Even something as simple as a pocket laser pointer would seem magical. When I came back to modern times and bragged about my exploits, and belittled the people of the 1800's for their foolishness, would you be impressed by how clever I was? Would you compliment me for fooling intelligent people with my magic? Of course not, you'd be disgusted by my arrogance.

Creationists are no different. They're just like the time-traveling charlatan, preying on ignorance and superstition. It's no surprise that belief in creationism is inversely correlated with education: Knowledge exposes their tricks.

It's also no surprise that creationists are the ones opposing the spread of scientific knowledge by trying to block the teaching of evolution. They know all too well that creationism can't survive in the light of real knowledge.

But the real scandal of creationism is that its main proponents knowingly rely on the ignorance of their constituents, and that they actively work to maintain that ignorance.


  1. So I just wanted to say that your example of "laser pointer" is really flawed. After all didn't someone of something have to design and assemble said laser pointer. It was "created" also How can you say "all" creationist prey on ignorance? Have you spoken to all of them? How do you know all of their motivations? Do you personally know all of them. This loudly screams out "BIAS" on your part. True science supports creationism. To often people comment on things they haven't honestly taken the time to study. If you look at science in an unbiased way you will end up with one of 2 choices. 1.seeing the truth of creation and believing it. 2.seeing the truth of creation and refusing to believe it. We call this willfull ignorance.

  2. Anon - that's a laugh, surely you can't be serious. Except sadly, you probably are serious. "True science supports creationism"? Is that why 95% of PhD physicists, chemists, and biologists are atheists? Why is it that the people who are "in the trenches" discovering new medicines and cures for diseases, studying the universe, and creating better ways to live, are almost never creationists? Why is it that creationists almost never discover new, important science? Could it be that YOU are the one who is biased?

    Why is it that you believe in a 3000 year old "history" of the universe? Do you think God made us so stupid that we couldn't learn anything in 3000 years?

    And don't try to assert that I haven't studied creationism. I have, in detail, and found every single part of it to be false. Not just false, but obviously false to anyone whose mind hasn't been poisoned by religion.

    And about the laser, you've proved that some engineer who knows how to design lasers implies that God exists! That's just amazing, I wish I could solve problems that easily!

  3. Thank you you just proved my point.
    1. Whoever says the majority is right. In my experience the majority usually get it wrong.
    2.Just because there are more atheist in science (your point I am not agreeing it is true)does not make them right. What it does do is definitely tip the scales in favor of them making more discoveries. .....If there are more of one group than another the larger group will always get noticed more. Statistically speaking.
    3.We have learned a lot in 3000 years.One of those things is that man believes he is so great that he completely blind himself to the truth about God and the universe. Arrogance produces strong mental cataracts.
    4.You have studied creationism and found every single part of it to be false? EVERY SINGLE PART?? There is not even a single thing not one thing at all that creationist say that is true? Wow are you sure your not biased. I believe there is a saying for what you have just admitted. "give a man enough rope and he will hang himself" not one thing huh? And I am biased?
    5. You take a laser back in time and they will be amazed. thats basically what you said. What are they amazed at? Something they don't understand. Something incredibly complex to them, ok I agree there. Your saying basically (I think) that we are the same way about the understandings of the world around us, still confounded but we will eventually find the answers. Ok, I am saying like your laser we have been created out of complex parts by an intelligent being. I am simply saying a laser is a bad example for your article because as an example it works against you. A laser is a complex device that could in no way just assemble itself together out of it's individual chemical and solid components. Like us it had to be fashioned and made into the complex thing that it is by someone.

  4. Haha, it looks like we have now abandoned the watchmaker for... THE ALMIGHTY DESIGNER OF THE LASER!


  5. Oh and P.S. according to Stephen Hawking the laws of physics demand that if there were nothing at all (you know, the first words in the bible... "In the beginning there was nothing..." the universe and all its splendor would have been forced into existence in a non-instant (since time would not exist until matter existed) within the smallest possible point. All matter and energy rapidly exploding from a single point.

    I am not saying it did or didn't happen this way, but if it didn't... God sure tried hard to make it look like it did. So why did God make it look that way? If I am wrong and it does not look that way, why did God make the most intelligent people more likely to see it that way? Does god hate college and scientists and mathematicians?


  6. > Does God hate college and scientists and mathematicians?

    Ha! Sometimes you have to wonder ... maybe God hates smart people, and the whole world is a big trick!


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