The 1st Falsehood of creationism: “evolution = atheism"
By: Aron Ra
The U.S. population seems pretty evenly divided over whether the human species is biologically related to other animals or whether we were “specially-created” as part of a flurry of miracles. Even our collective politicians -seemingly all of them- are wrapped up in this controversy. Yet it is hard to find even one of them who know what it is about. Why is it that there is such concern in so many grade schools (K thru 12) about teaching evolution, yet there is still a complete consensus among scientists all over America and the rest of the world -that evolution is the backbone of modern biology, and a demonstrable reality historically as well?
Most people really don’t understand science; what it is, how it works, what hypotheses and theories are, or even the purpose behind it. Sadly even those on your school faculty or state Board of Education often need an education themselves before they can be trusted to govern how or what our kids will be taught, and that’s why I thought I should speak up and do what I can to help.
To adequately understand evolution, you not only have to understand how to be scientific, (which is the real trick for most people) but you also have to know something about cellular biology, genetics, and anatomy, geology, particularly paleontology, as well as environmental systems, tectonics, atomic chemistry, and especially taxonomy, which most people don’t know squat about at all. Most people who accept evolution also tend to know a whole lot about cosmology, geography, history, sociology, politics, and of course, religion.
But to believe in creationism, you don’t have to know anything about anything, and it is better if you don’t! Because creationism relies on ignorance. It is not honest research! It is a scam, a con job exploiting the common folk, and preying on their deepest beliefs and fears. Creationist apologetics depends on misrepresented data and misquoted authorities, out-of-date and out-of-context, and uses distorted definitions if it uses definitions at all.
There are basically two types of creationists; the professional or political creationists; these are the activists who lead the movement and who will regularly deliberately lie to promote their propaganda; and the second type which are the innocently-deceived followers commonly known as “sheep”. I know lots of intellectual Christians, but I can’t get any of them to actually watch the tele-evangelists, because they either already know how phony they are or they don’t want to find out. But that only allows a radical fringe to claim support from the masses they now also claim to represent. So there’s nothing to stop them. Professional creationists are making money hand over fist with faith-healing scams or bilking little old ladies out of prayer donations, or selling books and videos at their circus-like seminars where they have undeserved respect as powerful leaders. All of them feign knowledge they can’t really possess, and some of them claim degrees they’ve never actually earned.
Were it not for this con, they’d have to go back to selling used cars, wonder drugs, and multi-level marketing schemes. They will never change their minds no matter what it costs anyone else. So it is obviously the “sheep” that I’m attempting to reach with this speech –so that they might not be sheep anymore, and will stop feeding fuel into that manipulative movement. Because its one thing to believe in something that might be true (like God in general or Christianity specifically) even though neither can be substantiated or tested in any objective way. But it is a whole other matter to willfully deceive others into believing things which are definitely not true -like creationism, especially when we can also prove that those doing this know their assorted arguments are bogus, and know they’re lying to our children, and that they hope to continue doing so under the guise of “education”.
Creationism extorts support through peer-pressure, prejudice, and paranoid propaganda, and sells itself with short, simplistic slogans which appeal to those who don’t want to think too much, or are afraid to question their own beliefs. Worst of all, it actually forbids critical inquiry, and promotes anti-intellectualism, and it is based on at least a dozen foundational falsehoods. First and foremost among them is the idea that accepting evolution requires the rejection of theism, if not all other religious or spiritual beliefs as well.
For decades those behind the creationism movement have tried very hard to portray the illusion that one cannot accept evolution and still believe in God. They know better, but they still want you to believe that evolution is atheist, and that it is either evolution without God, or God creating without evolution. That’s been their central claim since the creationism movement began. But this supposed controversy never was about whether or not there is a god. Most people believe there is a god, and they believe he is in control of all the seemingly-random events of our lives. This is true of most of the people who accept evolution also. Most of them believe in God as well, and they believe that God is in control of evolution; that evolution, like every other system in nature, is part of God’s design.
Of the couple hundred different and often violently-conflicting denominations of Christianity, the largest of them by far is Catholicism followed by Orthodoxy. Both of these have stated support of evolution and denounced creationism. Pope Benedict recently described evolution as an “enriching reality” and described creationist contests against it as “absurd”. Both of the popes before him advised Christians ‘round the world to consider evolution to be “more than an hypothesis” and not to fear acceptance of that as being any challenge to their faith in Christ.
The early pioneers of evolutionary science were all initially Christian, (including Darwin) and many leading proponents of modern evolutionary science are still Christian today. For example, microbiologist Dr. Ken Miller, (who testified against intelligent design creationism in Kitzmiller v. Dover) -is a Catholic. Another outspoken proponent of evolution, Dr. Robert T. Bakker, (who has PhDs from both Harvard and Yale) is not only one of the leading, and most recognizable paleontologists in the world today, but he also happens to be a Bible-believing Pentecostal preacher; though he interprets Genesis differently than literalists would. In his book, Bones, Bibles and Creation, he says that to treat the Bible as though it were common history is to degrade its eternal meaning. One of the earliest geneticists, Theodosius Dobzhansky was an Orthodox Christian who many times professed his belief that life was created by God, but that nothing in biology made sense except in light of evolution. All these men agree that even if there really is a god, and even if that god is the Christian god, and even if that god created the universe and everything in it, =which they all believe- evolution would still be at least mostly true, and creationism would still be completely wrong.
Of all the developed nations throughout Christendom, only the United States has a significant number of creationists, and they’re the minority even here! Every other predominantly-Christian country tends to regard creationism as an incredulous, (if not insane) radical fringe movement which is an almost exclusively American phenomenon, and not taken seriously anywhere else. Poll after poll continues to reveal that, around the world, most “evolutionists” are Christian, and most Christians are evolutionists. So evolution is not synonymous with atheism, and creationism isn’t synonymous with Christianity either. Most creationists aren’t even Christians! There are millions more Muslim and Hindu creationists than Christian ones.
Regardless which religion they claim, creationism can be collectively defined as the fraction of religious believers who reject science, not just the conclusions of science, but its methods as well, and I mean all of them, from uniformitarianism and methodological naturalism to the peer review process and requirement that all positive claims be based on testable evidence. These people rely instead on blind faith in the assumed authority of their favored fables. In all cases, creationism is an obstinate and dogmatic superstitious belief which holds that members of most seemingly-related taxonomic groups did not evolve naturally, but were created magically, -that plants and animals were literally poofed out of nothing fully-formed, in their current state, unrelated to anything else –despite all indications to the contrary.
Creationists may side with western Abrahamic religions, (being the Judeo-Christian/Islamic mythos) in which there are conflicting versions of the same tales. Or creationists may belong to one of many eastern religions where the sacred stories of creation are much older, completely different, and dedicated to other gods and pantheons. But in every case, the proposed "creator" is supernatural, meaning that it is not a part of perceptible reality. Therefore it is undetectable by any testable means, and can only be assumed to exist for subjective emotional reasons, or as a result of cultural indoctrination, rather than because of any measurable evidence or logical rationale. In other words, there’s no way to say if its really there. Worst of all, there’s also no way to distinguish anyone’s gods or ghosts from the imaginary beings some primitive folks just made up either. This doesn’t mean no god exists. But it does mean that science can’t say anything about them. Because even if gods are real, they still don't appear to be, and apparently don't want to –since all the holy books demand they be believed on faith alone. As there is nothing anyone can verify and thus actually know to be correct about gods, then science is unable to make any comment about them at all. Because science can only ever investigate things with demonstrable evidence can be tested or measured.
From the creationist’s perspective, the method or mechanism of creation which these mystical beings use is nothing more than a golem spell where clay statues are animated with an enchantment. Or its an incantation in which complex modern plants and animals are "spoken" into being. That’s right, magic words which cause fully-developed adult animals to be conjured out of thin air. Or a god simply wishes them to exist; so they do. That’s it! There really is nothing more to it than that; pure freakin’ magic –by definition. Remember that the next time you hear anything from a creation “scientist”.
So for those who believe in God, the question really is how God created, and whether it was by one of many inextricably integrated natural systems he seemingly designed, or whether he simply blinked, wiggled his nose, wished upon a star and said "abra-cadabera".