By Adi Chowdhury
Considering that I generally refrain from profanity whilst blogging, I encountered quite a challenge when I realized that I couldn’t use the word “bullshit” to describe the cultural phenomenon of creationism and its vibrant array of anti-evolution arguments (I shudder as I type the term “argument”, since it casts the ill-conceived illusion that apologetic tactics are something more sophisticated than faltering, baseless bleatings of a community lacking basic knowledge of evolution and “secular” science) . Alas, a swift search for “synonyms of bullshit” yielded a satisfying myriad of other terms that does Ken Ham’s ideas justice:
Why the harsh word(s) for an innocent idea? Maybe it’s bottled-up distaste for pseudo-logical arguments put forth to lend credence to an ancient, unscientific creation story that has engulfed the minds of indoctrinated youth. Maybe this “distaste” has been bred by years of attending a public school that masquerades as pro-science when it is anything but. Maybe this “distaste” has arisen from having an education based in its entirety on BJU textbooks that blatantly ignore every shard of evidence for any theory that poses a challenge to the doctrine of Young Earth Creationism. Maybe this “distaste” is a manifestation of being “taught” evolution by teachers who lack the most basic understanding of what they’re talking about, and inevitably resort to fallacious arguments that are too full of holes to hold any water.
My “distaste” is more of concern that it is displeasure. It’s concern for the masses of students and youth led to repudiate their trust in science and reason in exchange of persisting in their belief of unsubstantiated creation myths. It’s concern for those vigorously trained to utilize fallacious, faltering arguments and shield their eyes from how clearly weak such arguments are. It’s concern for those on the receiving end of cherry-picked, misconstrued information put forth innocently by teachers flaunting a fundamentally flawed, biased, anti-science, and pro-faith agenda. This by itself deservedly incurs the abhorrence of anyone with a rationally chiseled sense of intellectual integrity.
Creationism is not tantamount, actually, to simply an inaccurate science lesson. Textbooks can become outdated. Discoveries are made that lead to an upheaval of previously accepted facts. Sure, in the future there may be a discovery that overhauls the theory of evolution–a fossil found in the wrong strata, humans alongside dinosaurs, perhaps. Then repudiating acceptance in evolution will be logical–in fact, it will be pretty illogical if we maintain our acceptance of evolution even in the light of evidence against it.
But that is not the approach espoused by creationism and its proponents; rather, it is arguably the opposite: proposing a complete and total shutdown on rationalism, skepticism, and entertaining opposing ideas–all the while encouraging with fervor that religious ideas and the so-called Word of God should be accepted on the basis of faith.
Some creationists may claim that they are, in fact, not anti-science, anti-logic, and/or anti-intellect as I have vigorously and repeatedly insinuated above. For example, your friendly neighborhood ignoramus Answers in Genesis published this:
“…are we truly against science? Not at all! Answers in Genesis (like other creationist groups) affirms and supports the teaching and use of scientific methodology…”
Except when it contradicts their sincerely-held, deep-seated faith in the biblical account of origins. No, when it comes to that, it’s time for them to simply twist the facts or outright suppress them (an example can be seen in my article here.)
Answers in Genesis then proceeds to explain the (faux) reasoning behind their convictions that they are actually pro-science:
“Much of the problem stems from the different starting points of biblical creationists and Darwinists. Everyone, scientist or not, must start their quests for knowledge with some unprovable axiom—some a priori belief on which they sort through experience and deduce other truths. This starting point, whatever it is, can only be accepted by faith; eventually, in each belief system, there must be some unprovable, presupposed foundation for reasoning (since an infinite regression is impossible).”
In a nutshell, they’re propounding that creationism is tantamount to “Darwinism” because both stem from faith. The myriad of reasons that they are dead wrong will be enough for a whole new article (in the meantime, this and also this are pretty great explanations for why evolution isn’t based on faith). Answers in Genesis, maintaining their long-time tradition of weakly tossing up feeble, baseless arguments, completely–and probably deliberately–overlooks the fact that creationism is completely and comprehensively based on blind faith and acceptance. They are also persisting in their denial that they’re ignoring and denying decades of research and an ever-burgeoning stack of evidence vehemently opposing the beliefs they cling to.
In conclusion (since this won’t pass a good article without one), creationism and its apologetic arguments are profoundly, pitifully, laughably anti-intellectual. The advocates of this farcically pseudo-scientific movement are only pushing for a mindset that dooms one’s intellectual integrity: shutting your eyes and mind to opposing evidence, misconstruing and mangling any dissimilar worldviews, and stamping out the flame of scientific curiosity in place of blind faith and submission.