Run of the Mill vs. Big Name Creationists
I previously covered this very briefly in a previous blog entry, but I wanted to give it its own entry. The topic I wanted to cover is the difference between your run of the mill creationist and a big name creationist, and why the big name creationists piss me off so much.
First of all, let me get this out of the way right at the beginning. Almost all forms of creationism are flat-out wrong. You can't argue with reality - evolution happened. The only possible exception (one which I personally disagree with, but can at least respect) is theistic evolution. But really, when people talk about creationism, it's usually in reference to God creating everything on the earth ex nihilo in 6 days, or possibly in zones of creation over a longer period. So for this article, that's what I'm referring to.
We live in a country where half the population doesn't accept evolution. That's a lot of people, and I don't think you can say that that many people are complete idiots (unless you're on the highway with them, but that's for a different entry). I think a huge part of why so many people don't accept evolution is religion - they hear their respected church leaders and other members of their congregations tell them that evolution is false, and since they trust those people in other areas, they trust them about creationism, too. Couple that with the fact that our science education is so bad that half the population doesn't know that it takes a year for the earth to go around the sun, and you can see why so many people are creationists. As Richard Dawkins has said, "It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)." For most people, it's simply ignorance - they haven't studied evolution, it hasn't been presented to them in school, so they go along with others in doubting it. And to be honest, unless you're like me, evolution's not a topic that comes up in normal dinner conversation, so it's not like those people often get exposed to a differing viewpoint. It's hard to get good and pissed off at someone who believes something and hasn't ever been shown a good reason not to believe it.
Now, consider your groups like Answers in Genesis, The Institute for Creation Research, The Discovery Institute, or Ray Comfort (okay - Ray Comfort's not exactly a group unto himself, but he does head Living Waters Ministries). These groups aren't like your run of the mill creationists. Their organizations are very well known, very prominent, and subsequently get exposed quite a bit to people of differing viewpoints. It must be a nearly daily basis that they get correspondence from people trying to show them the evidence, or to have a reasonable conversation on the topic. These people cannot simply claim ignorance like most Americans. Like Dawkins, I'd rather not assume that they're wicked, but the only options that leaves are stupidity or being delusional.
What's worse, these organizations aren't content to simply keep to themselves, they put up the websites I linked to above, build $27 million monuments to their stupidity, publish books, make movies that insult the memories of holocaust victims. They're trying to push their ignorance on the rest of the population, and they're succeding to a large part. They're dumbing down our society.
Now, I know that some people may say that when you start insulting people, you're not going to do a good job convincing them - more flies with honey and all that. And in entries like this one, where I call AiG a "reposity of stupidity," some creationists might feel like I'm insulting them personally. I'm not. I'm insulting the big name creationists, because quite frankly, they piss me off. There's only so much willful ignorance a person can take before they crack, and sometimes I do.
So to summarize - run of the mill creationists are only creationists out of ignorance, and usually haven't been shown good reason to accept evolution, so they get a pass. But big name creationists, who have had plenty of opportunity to be educated but refuse to do so, and continue to push their stupidity on the rest of the country, deserve the ire and ridicule that they receive.
I know my blog isn't hugely popular, but if you just happen to be a creationist reading this entry, and you feel like leaving me some feedback on why evolution is wrong (or, if you're a rational person, and want a resource to use to counter creationist arguments), go check out the Index to creationist Claims on Talk Origins. Chances are, the argument's been rebutted many times over already.