The Fear of Evolution

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Last year a middle school science teacher in my local school district proposed that the Intelligent Design Network’s Objective Origins Teaching Policy be adopted by the district. After some debate and politicking it was rejected by the Board of Education, as was a watered down version offered after the rejection of the initial proposal.

After thinking about it at length and talking with people in the community and elsewhere, what I am realizing is that this is not something that has anything to do with reason and science; it is about fear.

During public comments on the proposal at several meetings of the Board of Education, it was absolutely clear that the apparent underlying (well, not very far under!) reason for making for the proposal was religious. At the first of three BOE meetings devoted to it, speakers in favor of the proposal were repeatedly interrupted by “Amens!” from the audience, mostly composed of members of the teacher’s church. At the second meeting, the first speaker was the pastor of the teacher’s church, who warned “my fellow evangelicals” not to introduce religious reasons for their support of the policy. At that meeting they complied, but at the third meeting two speakers who didn’t get the pastor’s message urged the Board to adopt the proposal and “Teach God’s truth in our school.” Supporters of the proposal wore small blue ribbons twisted in the shape of a fish (think an AIDS ribbon on its side) made by a member of the teacher’s church.

This posting is not to rehearse that debate, but is to attempt to briefly describe the understanding of the motivation of proponents of such proposals that I’m slowly coming to.

I am beginning to understand that the core motivation driving the supporters of such proposals is fear. Not fear for themselves – they are too strong in their faith to be corrupted by evolutionary science. It is fear for their children and in particular, fear for their children’s souls. There is a genuine belief that accepting an evolutionary view of biological phenomena is a giant step on the road to atheism, and in learning evolutionary theory their children are in peril of losing salvation. Given the beliefs they hold, this is not a silly fear. From their perspective, atheism is a deadly threat, and evolution is a door through which that threat can enter to corrupt one’s child. No amount of scientific research, no citations of scientific studies, no detailed criticism of the Wellsian trash science offered in “teach the controversy” proposals, speaks to those fears. If one genuinely fears that learning evolution will corrupt one’s children and damn them for eternity, scientific reasoning is wholly irrelevant.

A few days ago I attended a reading by Ed Larson, author of Summer for the Gods, Evolution’s Workshop, and most recently (just out last week), Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory. During the Q&A Ed told of meeting a biologist at a conservative southern university (that I won’t name here) who said that when evolution is being taught in a biology course required for pre-meds, students of the fundamentalist Christian persuasion make a practice of staying in the back of the lecture hall and holding hands and praying. No amount of scientific reasoning is an antidote to the kind of cognitive blocking exemplified by that behavior.

I don’t doubt that this is obvious to some who have thought about it more than I have. I do doubt, however, that the implications of it have been addressed in any cogent way. At least I’ve not seen it addressed in any of the evolution/creationism battles that I’ve read about or participated in.

Recently I have begun meeting with members of the congregation of a mainstream Protestant church in an effort to see if there’s a way to address the fear without compromising good science. I’m not sure there is; there may be no good solution. But I’d sure like to find a less-bad solution than the community-ripping kinds of things that can happen when people feel their children’s souls are being put in peril by science. I’m encouraged by the response I’m getting from the church. While those I’ve spoken with are strongly in favor of teaching good science in the public schools, they resonated with, and reinforced, my conjectures about fear being a prime motivator, and they are concerned enough to help.

I’m becoming convinced that when the battle is fought at the local level, where many of them are fought, quietly or noisily, or are simply avoided by easing back on teaching evolution, some kind of community effort to understand and if possible directly address the fear will be necessary in order to preserve the fabric of the community. That preservation is an important value, too, in addition to the value of scientific integrity, and it’s one I’d not like to see lost.

In fact, I’ll go further: Basing the effort to defeat attempts to weaken the teaching of evolutionary theory solely on scientific arguments is both a tactical and a strategic mistake. It increases the fear and reinforces the resistance by making the threat appear stronger and therefore more menacing. A defense of teaching good biological science that does not take into account the fear of the parents who oppose evolution might win in the school board or in court, but it does not address the fundamental reason for the resistance to science. A defense of science that directly addresses the fear has a better chance of both winning the battle and preserving the community.

RBH

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I can understand their fear, for in a choice between pat (but wrong) assurances, and valid revelation, such as that of how the world really works, it is only natural that many people choose assurances over evidence. How the world... Read More

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Hear Hear! Evangelicals correctly perceive it to be a mortal threat to their beliefs. If their children base their beliefs on evidence, instead of faith, they will fail to believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old, that god created man in a big poof!, etc. Evolution, and much else in science, is in direct conflict with those prescientific beliefs. These people are fighting to preserve the essence of their culture, so we should expect an energetic fight.

“students of the fundamentalist Christian persuasion make a practice of staying in the back of the lecture hall and holding hands and praying. No amount of scientific reasoning is an antidote to the kind of cognitive blocking exemplified by that behavior.”

I propose that we henceforth refer to this behavior as ‘cog blocking’. ;-)

Some, but not all, religion can be made compatible with science. Liberal christianity can bend and adjust out of the way of science, but fundamentalist christianity cannot. Directly addressing this may work to diminish the fear held by liberal christians, but it will just confirm the fear of fundamentalists.

Interesting observations, and I have no doubt they are true. Margaret Gray Towne is a former seminary student, wife of a minister and earned a Ph.D. under Jack Horner, the well know paleontologist. She reworked, and expanded her dissertation into a book published last year, Honest to Genesis: A Biblical & Scientific Challenge to Creationism Baltimore: PublishAmerica. She takes an expressly theistic evolution path.

There isn’t much new science or description of creato beliefs for those of us who have spent some years at the evo/creato battles. There is a fresh attitude that I think is near to Richard’s observations.

Well since I can’t get this message to appear on talk.origins I’ll include it here. I’m generally not too worried about evolution however Monsanto’s version is changing that.

Biotechnology companies are scrambling to find ways to get superweeds, herbicide resistant strains) under control with the formation of groups like the Herbicide Resistance Action Committee supported by, among others, Monsanto and Novartis.

States with documented, confirmed and suspected glycophosphate resistant biotypes http://www.farmassist.com/resistanc[…]nav=hotspots

Herbicide Resistance Action Committee http://www.plantprotection.org/HRAC/

The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds is a catalogue of resistant weeds: They list 287 Resistant Biotypes, 172 Species (102 dicots and 70 monocots) and over 270,000 fields http://www.weedscience.org/in.asp

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My parents and 2 of my brothers are strong evangelicals. When I talk to them about Evolution, one of the most effective things I’ve found is to frame it as a matter of faith.

Is their faith in god so weak that they are threatened by evolution? How do they know how god did things? If evolution is “proved”, uncontroversially, would that shake your faith in god? The answer is always “of course not”. So why do you fear evolution? Doesn’t that show that you don’t have faith in god?

Anyways, it’s worked for me. I’ve really gotten them to look at this whole argument in a completely different way - a way that does not threaten them.

Your mileage may vary.

I think for a lot of people, evangelical attacks on evolution harm to their position more than anything else. When they frame the teaching of evolution as completeley contradictory to a religious belief in god, then people are forced to pick sides. Anyone already introduced to the Theory of Evolution, who understands the basic simplicity of the model, is likely going to pick science over faith.

It’s incredibly stupid to frame the debate that way, especially when evolution poses no greater threat to religious belief than banning slavery (sanctioned by ther bible), or planting 2 kinds of crops side by side (a crime punishable by death according to Leviticus).

Eventually, they are going to succeed in painting religious belief as something entirely at odds with science, and everytime that has happened in history, science has ultimately won, and religous belief was forced to transform to the new situation.

I have been reading Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer in response to this whole issue. While the book has a lot of unverified conjecture, and references to deservedly obscure philosophers, it points out some interesting characteristics common to True Believers, whether Nazi, Communist or religious. Chief among them is an unwavering commitment to their doctrine.

He quotes Martin Luther: “So tenaciously should we cling to the world revealed by the Gospel, that were I to see all the Angels of Heaven coming down to tell me something different, not only would I not be tempted to doubt a single syllable, but I would shut my eyes and stop my ears, for they would not deserve to be either seen or heard.”

Try asking a staunch creationist: What evidence would you accept as indicating the validity of Darwinian evolution as a valid scientific explanation for the variety of living systems? My guess is that they won’t have an answer.

Hoffer also has a pithy quote: “Whence come the fanatics? Mostly from the noncreative men of words.” Not to throw rocks (big ones anyway), but does anyone in particular come to mind?

I like Hal’s suggestion a lot, but note that it applies to a more personal, private relationship. In a public space things are different. Everyone becomes an actor. People passionately affirming their “beliefs” don’t necessarily believe in those things; rather, they believe in SAYING those things, especially when others from their group are watching. In a public setting, it would be appropriate to ask: who do we trust to do the right thing for our kids? A small coalition of zealots saying Amen to each other – or the mainstream of science?

I think that the fear basis Richard describes is accurate, but incomplete.

I think we must also account for the (often unacknowledged) fear these people have of simply being wrong. They have so completely internalized their beliefs - their ‘One True Way’ - that the threat evolution poses is not just a demand for re-interpretation of a sacred text, but a demand for them to abandon the organizing principles of their lives. If one part of their ‘One True Way’ is wrong, it suggests that all of it is wrong.

Many thanks for the responses. I appreciate them all. A couple of specifics:

Pennybright wrote

I think we must also account for the (often unacknowledged) fear these people have of simply being wrong. They have so completely internalized their beliefs - their ‘One True Way’ - that the threat evolution poses is not just a demand for re-interpretation of a sacred text, but a demand for them to abandon the organizing principles of their lives. If one part of their ‘One True Way’ is wrong, it suggests that all of it is wrong. (Emphasis added)

That a very good point, particularly the phrase I italicized, and is one I hadn’t considered but surely will. Thanks!

I also appreciate the references from Gary and ArtK, and the potential approach from Hal.

RBH

There are good pieces by Cathy Young on the craziness of people who are consumed by religious and political doctrines.

you might find it useful, Hal, to ask them point by point whether they believe the components of Evolution. Then you can isolate what they don’t agree with and pour on the evidence. Evolution is a simple algorithm, and its parts are irrefutable.

Steve wrote

you might find it useful, Hal, to ask them point by point whether they believe the components of Evolution. Then you can isolate what they don’t agree with and pour on the evidence. Evolution is a simple algorithm, and its parts are irrefutable.

While that might be useful in Ha’ls personal situation, I’m afraid it misses the point - or misses my point, at least. No amount of evidence is relevant! While there may be a few YECs who have been ‘converted’ by evidence, they’re a tiny minority.

My goal is not conversion; that’s a fool’s errand in my view. It is to address the fears in a way that allows teaching good science in the public schools with a minimum of community-destroying warfare.

To cast an argument in terms that the opposition does not even recognize as valid is a losing proposition. To argue a position without understanding one’s opponent’s presuppositions and worldview is to waste one’s breath.

RBH

I don’t claim that this will solve many problems, but I think that more needs to be mentioned about this: The anti-evolution “masses” have mutually contradictory alternatives in mind, and while they fear that they may be wrong, rarely give a thought to the simple fact that they can’t all be right.

Meanwhile, the exploiters of the “masses,” the professional anti-evolutionists, seem to be quite aware that YEC and the various OECs, for example can’t all be right. Hence the ID strategy. I am, in fact, becoming increasingly convinced that most of these anti-evolution strategists privately agree that mainstream science is correct:

http://reason.com/9707/fe.bailey.shtml

Another point that I think needs more emphasis is the well-kept secret that most major religions have also embraced evolution:

http://tinyurl.com/cxfr

I don’t expect miracles there either, but it has to be better with an audience of religious nonscientists than highly technical refutations of anti-evolution arguments, “arguments against design,” or complaints that anti-evolution strategies are religiously motivated.

There is no simple answer, of course. Whoever said that we can’t reason people out of positions that they didn’t get to by reason, was right.

And while I have no magic bullets, I find several things have been effective with different people, depending on how they got misinformed, how misinformed they are, and a host of other factors.

Most of us Christians have no problem with evolution. My suspicion is that most of us evangelicals have little problem with it, either. Part of the problem is that a loud, radical and radically-convinced minority grabbed the microphone and won’t give it up without a fight.

When I’m asked by kids going into confirmation why I don’t “disbelieve” evolution, I tell them that the basis of my support of evolution is my faith that God is the creator. That I take on faith, as they are asked to do. But from that beginning, evolution is an almost-inescapable theory. We believe that God created and God’s creation, therefore, accurately manifests God. I point out to the kids that scientists merely study God’s creation, and regardless the scientists’ beliefs, creation gives them the facts. I urge them to study nature and ask reasonable questions, but avoid strong theological claims against science as they would avoid strong science claims against theology. Some of the kids are relieved. A few, I suspect, don’t believe a word I say.

If the person is more convinced that evolution leads to evil, I point out that it also leads to great good. I note that modern medicine is almost wholly based in applied evolution theory, and that medicine does heal people. Healing, after all, was one of the great signs of Jesus’ divinity. On that basis alone, there is great ground to understand evolution as good, not evil.

If they are are twisted up with the claim that Darwin hated God, I give them the facts: Darwin was a devout Christian when he discovered evolution and wrote it up; arguably, he was a solid Christian to the end of his days (the one statement on his agnosticism notwithstanding his refusal to renounce his faith and his continuting to do what Christians do to the end of his days). If they have sources claiming Darwin was evil, I ask to go through the sources to see how reliable they are in the face of other known facts. Almost invariably we find the claims to be based somewhere other than fact. I find it most effective to let the other person come to the conclusion that the Darwin critics are passing bad information whenever possible.

If they trot out the claims that Hitler and Lenin/Marx/Stalin were products of applied evolution, I point out that Hitler didn’t understand Darwin and never mentioned an adherence to Darwinian theory – and I note that Hitler’s odd beliefs about heredity being carried in the blood disqualifies him as a Darwinian. I tell them the story of Trofim Lysenko, and how under Stalin, Darwinians were persecuted, exiled and, in a few instances, executed. I note that Stalin’s censorship of Darwin is akin to the law against Darwin passed in Tennessee in 1925.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

One of the key things we need to know is what it is that the anti-Darwinist’s fear. I am unconvinced that they know, really, what it is they are worried about.

I totally agree that creationists are being driven by fear of a world without God. It’s a purely defensive mindset.

I doubt that it’s worthwhile to try to convince an ultra-fundamentalist that they shouldn’t fear evolution. They’ve already “drunk the KoolAid” for their worldview. Just as it’s useless to try to change the mind of someone who believes that 9/11 was a secret CIA and/or Mossad plot, or to convince a communist that communism failed because of reasons more fundamental than “the wrong people just happened to come to power”. Their beliefs depend on a whole interconnected framework of “facts” that come from some alternate universe.

As in any political battle, the real fight is for the people near the center - those who haven’t fully bought into (or even thought through) the assumptions & implications of either of the major players in the debate.

Being a political Objectivist/conservative myself, I’ve found that many of the politically active conservative creationists I’ve debated aren’t afraid of evolution because of emotions or cognitive dissonance per se. Their fear is more that society will collapse if enough people lose their belief in God.

These people do believe that ideas lead to actions, and actions have generally consistent real-world consequences. So they do believe in principles. So you’d think that they’d simply justify their preferred moral codes by the real-world negative consequences of bad behavior. Yet when it comes down to it, they have a crisis of confidence in the real world. They fall back on the Dostoyevsky quote: “If God doesn’t exist, then everything’s permitted.” If we leave it to mere humans to determine what is moral and what isn’t, then society will inevitably be taken over by whichever faction is more ruthless in pursuit of their own immediately selfish goals. IOW, the idea of enlightened self-interest has no chance to prevail in the world.

What’s so mind-boggingly ironic to me is: These creationists are swallowing the claims of postmodernism whole! The post-modernist says there is no single objective truth about anything. It all depends on what interest group you belong to, and which “text” you accept as “your” truth. Therefore the world is doomed to eternal struggle between interest groups, each following their own incompatible worldview.

At least the conservative creationist still has the good sense to view this situation as a bad thing. The problem is, since the creationist thinks this kind of philosophical subjectivism is true, he concludes that the only way to retain some semblance of objective morality is to believe in a supernatural Authority Figure who comes down like a deus-ex-machina in a badly-written Greek play to arbitrarily declare some things to be “right” and other things to be “wrong”.

This is the opposite of the philosophy that got America going in the first place: The founding fathers were Enlightenment thinkers. They believed that the best kinds of moral code were objective facts waiting for us to discover them using our gift of Reason. By rejecting this premise, conservative creationists have rejected the Enlightenment beliefs of the Founding Fathers. (Dare I say it? Creationists are un-American? I’m sooo tempted…)

I think this provides a valid avenue of attack against creationism that doesn’t try to attack theism head on. Evolution doesn’t need to. The only kind of Christianity that evolution could threaten is the kind that says we need God to declare a right & a wrong for us because the real world doesn’t provide us with the possibility of an objective definition of right & wrong.

Now if I could only learn to argue the point more succinctly. :-)

RBH, I entirely understood your point. And I agree. I don’t argue with creationists and fanatics of all stripes for the reason you assert. I suggested that technique on the assumption that if he’s going to argue with them, he might try that tactic. But, no, I do agree with you. The nature of faith is belief without or in spite of evidence. So if they have strong faith, there’s usually nothing you can do. It’s irrational.

I have no strategy for assuaging the fear that fundamentalists have of evolution. I wish I did. Meanwhile, I fear people who are undaunted by reason because such people are responsible for atrocities. EmmaPeel is correct that convincing the fencesitters is the key to assure accurate scientific instruction. ID has any foothold because evolution is fraught with common misconceptions. If we can calm the fundamentalist waters at the same time, all the better.

The other side of the coin is why to those who believe in science fear the teaching of religion in public schools? The answer is, of course, that we fear religion and with good reason. They might decide to burn us at the stake as they have in the past.

Ben Goff said:

The other side of the coin is why to those who believe in science fear the teaching of religion in public schools? The answer is, of course, that we fear religion and with good reason. They might decide to burn us at the stake as they have in the past.

What’s to fear? Religion is taught in parochial schools every day. We should worry if some of them start to look like the Islamic rote-memory schools in Pakistan – but few do.

And, it is perfectly legal to teach a survey of religion course in public schools. Oddly, many of these courses earn the ire of creationists.

The issue is that our Constitution does not allow government to advocate religion. Creationists ask that one religious view be endorsed over all others – and that’s repugnant to the Constitution.

Why can’t creationists play within the rules? The Constitution is designed to help our governmental entities arrive at correct solutions by keeping things fair. Why can’t creationists play by the rules?

The real basis of the fear that fundamentalists feel is this:

If you challenge the veracity of the creation account in Genesis, and turn it into a myth, you shatter the idea of biblical inerrancy. If you do THAT, you open the door to all sorts of heresy.

Liberal Christian sects have less trouble with this because their worldview often does not require an inerrant bible. They can deal with the idea that the creation account is a myth - a story told to make a religious point, not one told to relate truthful history - much better than fundamentalists can.

This is the fear that drives them. Take away their crutch, and their faith comes tumbling down, because, at the heart of it all, they have faith in a book, and not in God.

Hammer

Richard’s comments and observations are on the mark. However, I submit that the evolution/creation(ID) debate is not about making CUFs accept evolution as a historical fact and valid scientific theory. You can’t. All that can be done is to:

correct CUF’s misrepresentation of evolution

highlight the facts behind evolution

highlight the research being done

highlight the utility of evolutionary research

highlight that the evolution/creation issue is in fact a religious issue not a scientific one

help improve the teaching of evolution

support the production and dissemination of programs, news articles, etc. that highlight evolutionary research and discoveries.

oppose disclaimers on textbooks, and legislative initiatives to water down the teaching of evolution by highlighting their religious underpinnings.

You cannot attack people’s religious convitions, (you can but it is a waste of time) and expect CUFs to remain calm and civil and open to any dialogue.

The best way to deal with the fear of evolution is to be sensitive to people’s religious views, and stay with the facts. Many CUF’s and others regularly read and follow developments in evolutionary biology, Henry Morris, Dwayne Gish, Wm Dembski, Michael Behe, etc. They have all studied evolutionary biology, (they may go on and distort what they read, but they do read it) and have not become atheist or religious convictions. They can be used as examples that evolutionary biology is not be feared/

Is their faith in god so weak that they are threatened by evolution? How do they know how god did things? If evolution is “proved”, uncontroversially, would that shake your faith in god? The answer is always “of course not”.

The problem, I think, is that some creationists would say yes to this question. They’ve painted themselves into a corner to the point where they must believe either that every single word in the Bible is literally true (according to their interpretation), or else the entire Bible is utterly false and worthless. Look at Glenn Morton’s account of his conversion, for instance:

“John Morris went to the microphone and identified himself as a petroleum geologist. He questioned Morton’s claim that pollen grains are found in salt formations, and accused Morton of sounding like an anticreationist, raising more problems than his critics could respond to in the time available. Morris said that the ICR staff is working on these problems all the time. He told Morton to quit raising problems and start solving them. Morton chopped him off at the ankles. Two questions, said Morton: ‘What oil company did you work for?’ Well, uh, actually Morris never worked for an oil company, but he once taught petroleum engineering at the University of Oklahoma. Second, How old is the Earth?’ ‘If the earth is more than 10,000 years old then Scripture has no meaning.’” –http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm

Fortunately, I think most creationists are not quite so brittle and dogmatic about their faith, and will seriously consider evolution if they learn what it really is and what the real evidence supporting it is, free of creationist misrepresentation - but of course, as others have said, they first have to be convinced that it’s not a threat to Christianity.

this is not something that has anything to do with reason and science; it is about fear.

Hmm. I cogitate over this. I ask myself, “Do I fear evolution?”

I answer, “No, I kinda like it.”

I ask myself, “Do I fear Intelligent Design?”

I answer, “No, it seems kinda new and interesting to me.”

I ask, “Do I ever impute ‘fearful’ motives to people I don’t know?”

I answer, “No, except for Nazis, Communists and racists, who have already demonstrated a poor track record on the planet”

I guess my main objective is NOT to accept Evolution* or Intelligent Design as the best scientific explanation of how things are, UNTIL I examine both, scutinize both, try to refute both, talk to proponents of both, talk to detractors of both, read the best of both, and take my sweet ‘ole time doin’ it.

I guess I have that luxury, since no “extra-scientific” pressure from either side can reach me.

This really is a great blog. Cheers Y’all,

Navy Davy

* Even though 99% of the scientists on this blog (and probably in academia) support the former, not the latter.

I answer, “No, except for Nazis, Communists and racists, who have already demonstrated a poor track record on the planet”

Why have you left religious fundamentalists off this list, Navy Davy? Not enough “evidence” for you yet?

Sean,

Hah! Is there a latent “bean-counter” gene found in some of the posters on this blog?

Ignoring the central thesis of a modestly, uncontroversial post, and focusing on a tangential speck is called a Strawman, Sean.

No, I ain’t got nuthin’ against “religious fundamentalists” except for the ones tryin’ to blow up our buildings. Don’t know many out here, though, in Blue state country (Gore by 12 points).

Myself, if you need to know, I’m an imperfect, impious, beer-swillin’, sports-lovin’, girl-chasin’ Catholic fellow, if that’s the point you’re getting at, my slow friend, Sean.

Cheers, Navy Davy

Don’t know many out here, though, in Blue state country (Gore by 12 points).

You’re lucky.

As a zillion people (give or take) have pointed out on this site, biologists are not in the business of doing theology. The philosophical and religious implications of natural selection are pretty unclear. Can we at least agree, however, that truth and not edification should be the relevant goal?

If, as the Edicarans think, evolutionary theory is true and it also turns out, as the Creationists think, that evolution is incompatible with fundamentalism, can we at least agree that it’s fundamentalism that ought to go no matter whose feelings get hurt? Seems to me the wager is a fair one, though it does leave open the question, “Are you feeling lucky?”

I’m a liberal arts major with the emphasis on liberal. I also have an interest in science, especially evolution as it interacts with religion. I have done quite a bit of research on fundamentalism and I want to present the following as a way to further understand the depth and pervasiveness of the fear you detected at the Board of Education meeting. I am putting words in the mouth of the mother who is desperate to protect her daughter. I think it’s a fairly accurate summary of the roots of fundamentalist fear. I am indebted to Karen Armstrong for the idea that all fundamentalists (Islamic as well) fear annihilation. I enthusiastically recommend her book The Battle for God to anyone who is interested in Jewish, Christian and Islamic fundamentalism.

I must not allow my daughter to be exposed to Satanic Darwinism. I’m so afraid. Satan is using the theory of evolution to destroy people’s faith in God. It is an evil teaching and nothing but deception and lies.

If my daughter is exposed to it she might not be strong enough to resist. She will lose her faith. She will not be allowed to enter the presence of God in the life hereafter. She will not know God’s love and His perfect peace. The door to heaven will be forever barred to her. She will spend eternity in the outer darkness where there is only wailing and gnashing of teeth. I’m her mother. I must protect her and keep her from being seduced into eternal torment.

I’m thankful to God for people such as those at the Discovery Institute. God is using them and others as holy warriors in the battle against the evils of evolution, liberalism and secular humanism.

Evolution is the point on Satan’s spear. Once a person accepts the unproved theory of evolution it causes him to question the Bible’s True account of creation. From there it’s not long before the person is questioning the entire Bible. After that it is inevitable that his trust in absolute biblical Truth will be destroyed and, consequently, his faith in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He will then be defenseless against the onslaught of all of society’s evils and depravity: secular humanism, feminism, homosexuality, abortion sexual promiscuity and pornography.

America is a Christian nation, specially favored by God. Indeed, it was created by God to be the shining city on the hill and His instrument for carrying the gospel to all the people of the world. God will abandon us, however, to destruction and ruin if we don’t return to following His commandments and replace Him at the center of our government.

Darwinism is the gate to all the evils I described above. We must fight against it with every weapon that God gives us. We must stand together, united in God’s strength. Failure will lead to our annihilation.

Navy Davy Wrote:

Ignoring the central thesis of a modestly, uncontroversial post, and focusing on a tangential speck is called a Strawman, Sean.

Er, no it isn’t. See http://www.nizkor.org/features/fall[…]raw-man.html or any of thousands of explanations on the Web.

I have thought a bit more on this, and it occured to me that the fundies are correct. Only in the sense that if THEY see the flagrant discrepancy between Genesis flood stories and the geological history of the Earth, their faith will be destroyed. This reminds me of the CIA volunteers who took LSD back in the 1950s and early ’60s; they were regularly devastated while the majority of “normal” people were fine. Brittle minds can’t bend.

I think I now disagree somewhat with Richard, in that I disagree with his assesment, “Not fear for themselves — they are too strong in their faith to be corrupted by evolutionary science.”

Their faith is strong, but brittle. However, they also fear the future, not merely their redemption, but their material future as well.

I recall 20 or so years ago being interested by “survivoralist” cults. One consistant thread was that these people were marginally successful in the contemporary world, and had a great fear about the future. I think that the current “Left Behind” Biblical literalist is a similar creature.

Hm. Is there a reason why posts are appearing in triplicate?

FL

FL,

Well, you know these science geeks, doncha? Dissertation on thermonuclear astrophysics? Piece of cake.

But correctly tying shoelaces? Hmm. Where’s the manual? :)

Cheers, Navy Davy

Well, you know these science geeks, doncha?

Navy Davy, in another thread on this blog you promised to contact one of your cancer experts in the National Academy to get his or views on “intelligent design” and report back to us.

Have you made any progress on that front?

Would you please provide us with an estimate of how much time you expect will pass before you are able to remember your expert’s phone number, call your expert, discuss the issue with your expert, and report the results back to us?

Thanks for your understanding, Navy Davy. We appreciate your attention to honesty in this matter.

Cheers, WB

Whistle Blower,

Well, coincidentally, I had dinner at nice Italian restaurant Saturday Night with 2 of my pardners: (1) Phd in chemistry (not NAS) and (2)Phd in _____, and yes, member of NAS.

Of course, we were talkin’ business and pleasure, which I’m sure you’ll understand does not center around my discussions of ID with anonymous geeks on blog sites.

But, during a lull, I actually did ask them both, briefly, if they’ve heard of this ID stuff. Short answers:

1. First fellow: Heard of ID, not impressed. 100% Pro-Evolution.

2. Second fellow: Heard of, a little sympathetic. Noted that Darwin was great, but that since “Origins of Species” was written 72 years before electron microscope was invented, Darwin offers nothing on genes, chromosomes, cell machinery, etc, etc, etc.

So, to be honest, not a huge ringing endorsement of ID.

Question to Whistle Blower: Why the focus on trivial matters?

And, when do I get to delve into your exciting life – Summers at Band Camp, not included:)

Cheers, Navy Davy

I’m sure you’ll understand does not center around my discussions of ID with anonymous geeks on blog sites.

I have no reason to believe that this is true either way. I will wait until all the evidence is in before reaching any conclusions about the topics of your dinnner conversation. This approach keeps me safe and sane.

Thank you for your response. Obviously, without any real time videographic data I can not accept the validity of your statements, but your comments will be archived (as all of your comments here are archived) for later use, as appropriate.

And, when do I get to delve into your exciting life — Summers at Band Camp, not included

Navy Davy, your posts would be taken more seriously by all if you avoided making irrelevant and snide comments such as the one above.

Thank you again for your efforts at responding to the questions sincerely. In the future, please try to respond to outstanding matters in a timely fashion rather than wait for someone to present you with a reminder.

Cheers, WB

Along with a dislike of being wrong follows a dislike of being questioned. Many of the more earnest anti-evolutionists take umbrage at the fact that one or more someones have the temerity to question that which they have not, as well. Many of the same have not questioned their faith, and assume that everyone else should accept with the same certitude their personal spin on how the observable universe came to be. A few can be said to have so thoroughly invested themselves in their particular philosophical paradigm that any threat, real or perceived, is met with instant resistance. The same can be found when arguing politics with people who possess very parochial views.

Along with a dislike of being wrong follows a dislike of being questioned. Many of the more earnest anti-evolutionists take umbrage at the fact that one or more someones have the temerity to question that which they have not, as well. Many of the same have not questioned their faith, and assume that everyone else should accept with the same certitude their personal spin on how the observable universe came to be. A few can be said to have so thoroughly invested themselves in their particular philosophical paradigm that any threat, real or perceived, is met with instant resistance. The same can be found when arguing politics with people who possess very parochial views.

Or when arguing with evolutionists.

:-)

FL

Hey, I’m one of those anonymous, blogging web geeks. I’ve written about a past, relevant experience.

[http://decorabilia.blogspot.com/200[…]-itself.html]

The upshot:

Simplified creationist presentations, in their gee-whiz fashion, constantly equate ignorance and wonder. They’ll say, “We don’t know how the woodpecker could possibly evolve–isn’t it amazing? Your body is an assortment of trillions of irreducibly complex machines–aren’t you special?” Wonder, as I’m sure even most ID-touting theorists would agree, isn’t the exclusive province of the baffled. Ultimately, we are here. No matter how we got here, that’s reason enough to be amazed.

As GB Shaw said, “I often quote myself. It adds spice to the conversation.”

NavyDavy,

When do I get to delve into your exciting your life?

Well, I personally a very boring person who does boring financial stuff for boring fortune 500 companies. I was hoping to live vicariously through you.

(But hey when I was younger I was a professional rock climbing guide, taught climbing, guided clients up routes such as The Nose on El Cap’itan in Yosemite Valley. And hey, I’m a skydiver holding a C license with three pretty hairy reserve ride stories and a couple of illegal B.A.S.E. jumps. I was cool then man! So dang cool!)

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.… How’s that IDC Theory working out?

NavyDavy:

Second fellow (Phd in _____, and yes, member of NAS): Heard of, a little sympathetic. Noted that Darwin was great, but that since “Origins of Species” was written 72 years before electron microscope was invented, Darwin offers nothing on genes, chromosomes, cell machinery, etc, etc, etc.

Apparently your expert NAS member is not a molecular geneticist. One of the strongest pieces of evidence for contemporary evolutionary biology is the way in which the conservation of DNA sequences fits so well with the fossil/phylogenetic record. Darwin knew nothing of DNA or genes, yet data that were found subsequently fit precisely with his theory of common descent with modification. (See the conservation of ribosomal RNA, for example). ID on the other hand, requires another set of ad hoc hypotheses to accommodate each bit of new information. This shows the continued utility of the theory of evolution in contrast to the barrenness of ID and other creationist hooey.

“““If, as the Edicarans think, evolutionary theory is true and it also turns out, as the Creationists think, that evolution is incompatible with fundamentalism, can we at least agree that it’s fundamentalism that ought to go no matter whose feelings get hurt?”””

Posted by: Jim Harrison at May 24, 2004 11:52 AM

Nothing has “to go!” The problem is maintaining the integrity of knowledge. Teach science in science class and fundamentalism in comparative religion class.

Porn/spam attacks - whoever has the duty needs to do some deleting and banning.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on May 22, 2004 10:22 PM.

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