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Thread: Creationism: Why?

  1. #1
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    Creationism: Why?

    I've asked this in a few ID/creationism threads, but I've never really gotten a satisfactory answer. So I'll ask again: just where is this recent upsurge in the popularity of ID/creationism in the U.S. coming from? Why now? Why at all?

    I ask simply because this appears to me to be a uniquely American problem. We just don't get this sort of stuff up here. Just what is going on?

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    The reason it's not a problem in Canada is likely demographics. There is a very vocal fundamentalist minority here that would love to use our schools to push their religious beliefs and they are using ID as a wedge issue hoping it will lead to the teaching of biblical-style creationism. Politicians in conservative districts find it especially attractive to play the fool for these groups, try to slip in enabling legislation, etc. It is a real problem, and it's not going away anytime soon, especially if the Republicans (with their outstanding debt to the religious right) can stay in power nationally and increase their grip locally.

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    Alright. So, why the fundamentalists? How were we spared that? I'm trying to find the very root of the problem.

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    We have our share of fundamentalists too. I've had plenty of them knock on my door, leave their leaflets, and even phone me. Maybe I just attract them because they know I'll engage them in a discussion - I demand at least equal time. But I have also met many people in my community who hold a young earth creationist view, but generally keep their views to themselves.

    In general, YECs in Canada do not seem nearly as vocal or well organized as those in USA.

    I haven't given this a lot of thought, but perhaps the process of curriculum development in Canadian provinces is less susceptible to political interference than it is in US states. The K-12 curriculum has never, in my recollection, been an election issue in this province, and we do not directly elect a board of education.

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    I think it comes out of uneasiness people have with modernity, and science is a very visible part of the modern world. So when people feel a need for something spiritual in their lives, ID might tempt them if they are not well aquainted with science methods. Of course this has gone on throughout history, people are uncomfortable with radical changes.

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    A lot of the U.S. controversy is local. The press is picking up an increasing amount of these stories, probably because our president is a professed evangelical and it is the evangelicals that are among those pushing creationism.

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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Jubjub
    A lot of the U.S. controversy is local. The press is picking up an increasing amount of these stories, probably because our president is a professed evangelical and it is the evangelicals that are among those pushing creationism.
    So Was, Jimmy Carter ...

    In his Book, Our Endangered Values, One of The Things he Talks About, Is How a Public Servent, MUST Put The Needs of The People, Ahead of his Own Beliefs ...

    Bush Could Too, If he Wanted to!


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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    Alright. So, why the fundamentalists? How were we spared that? I'm trying to find the very root of the problem.
    I associate the upsurge in this stuff with having had an administration for the past five years (and congress for longer) that tends to lean in that direction.

    With the recent Canadian election results, you could be seeing more of it there.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet
    I associate the upsurge in this stuff with having had an administration for the past five years (and congress for longer) that tends to lean in that direction.

    With the recent Canadian election results, you could be seeing more of it there.
    [SHUDDERS]

    When, Will The Insanity ....

    Stop?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZaphodBeeblebrox
    So Was, Jimmy Carter ...

    In his Book, Our Endangered Values, One of The Things he Talks About, Is How a Public Servent, MUST Put The Needs of The People, Ahead of his Own Beliefs ...

    Bush Could Too, If he Wanted to!

    Why is it that the only words you don't capitalize are "he" and "his"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet
    With the recent Canadian election results, you could be seeing more of it there.
    Not so much. I've also been noticing that the U.S. media has been drawing parallels between the Bush administration and the Harper government. But the Conservative party falls somewhere between the Democrat party and the Republican party on the right-left scale. And Harper isn't an evangelist.

    So if the problem is the administration in the U.S., we'll escape that.

    But why are there more/louder fundamentalists in the U.S. than in Canada? Why are there so many in government? I really can't understand it.

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    HI

    Thinking about the question of Cannuck and transposing it to France i did a little googling.I found this document and found it interesting :

    http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/rnc...12_30_1899.asp

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    I would say if this issue keeps getting bigger in the US (as it will) It will start to become a bigger issue for other countries as well.

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    I agree entirely. I don't want to see that.

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    Why do we have more and why are they so loud? Well.....

    Beginning in the mid-1970s, Fundamentalism as a reaction to a preceived moral and spiritual vacum began to attain an unprecedented prominence in the South. It disrupted two major denominations, the Presbyterian and the Southern Baptist, altering the place of each in the society. It also brought into being and prominence various new congregations, fellowships, media networks, and educational institutions that have become a major political force ever since. Furthermore, Fundamentalism's ascent took place concurrently with the rise of the Republican Party as the white population's political home of choice, a political realignment that was clearly interrelated to the religious one.

    If you're not in politics your not gonna change things. Like anyone else with a mission they're out to change things.

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    Supreme Canuck, I do believe that you are the first person to state that you entirely agree with what I said, thanks.

    Yea, we US folks tend to blow up the stupidest things with our media...sadly enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Selenite
    Beginning in the mid-1970s, Fundamentalism as a reaction to a preceived moral and spiritual vacum began to attain an unprecedented prominence in the South. It disrupted two major denominations, the Presbyterian and the Southern Baptist, altering the place of each in the society.
    Okay. So why the South? Why the Presbyterians and Baptists? Forgive me if I keep pushing the point, but I feel that finding the ultimate cause would probably help in fighting creationism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragon Star
    Yea, we US folks tend to blow up the stupidest things with our media...sadly enough.
    Your media isn't alone in that, believe me...

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    Hmm...just a thought, I wonder how we could introduce a bit of 'Reverse Psychology' into this...

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    How's that?

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    Baa..Just wishful thinking.

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    [QUOTE=The Supreme Canuck]I've asked this in a few ID/creationism threads, but I've never really gotten a satisfactory answer. So I'll ask again: just where is this recent upsurge in the popularity of ID/creationism in the U.S. coming from? Why now? Why at all?[/url]

    There has been no recent upsurge in the popularity of creationism in the United States.

    What we are seeing is an upsurge of political activity related to antievolutionism in a larger context of the so-called "culture wars." Fundamentalist Christians in the United States feel threatened as more and more of society rejects their ideas of how society should be. Evolution is getting some of the blame.



    I ask simply because this appears to me to be a uniquely American problem. We just don't get this sort of stuff up here. Just what is going on?
    If you don't think that Canada has little antievolutionism then you are just kidding yourself. What Canada lacks is political activity related to it. The religous right is FAR weaker in Canada. Thus they are not in a position to take advantage to exploit the fact that most people don't accept modern evolutionary biology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by harlequin
    If you don't think that Canada has little antievolutionism then you are just kidding yourself. What Canada lacks is political activity related to it. The religous right is FAR weaker in Canada. Thus they are not in a position to take advantage to exploit the fact that most people don't accept modern evolutionary biology.
    I'll buy that. I just want to know why there is more related political activity in the U.S.

    And I dispute the statement that most people reject evolution. Most people tend to accept it.

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    Two steps forward, one step back. We happen to be in a backstep.

    Religious revivals have occurred throughout history. Historically, that's probably all it is.

    If you look at a longer section of time, say the last 100 years instead of the last 10-20, you see a completely different trend. Science is expanding it's realm. Considering the discoveries, the successes, the benefits, the fact we have been solving world problems with technology (and causing a few but on the whole scientific advances are very positive), it is extremely unlikely that fear of change or fear of having to question one's beliefs will stop the progress of human discovery. [/documentary narrative ]

    People with deep religious convictions have grown up in a world that can see Earth is a planet that orbits the Sun. But a lot of them grew up with a primary school that taught them evolution wasn't certain. Most people chose to believe science over the Bible when it came to the Sun and stars, but some people chose the Bible when it came to creation over evolution.

    Now science has shown evolution is as certain as gravity. I still have to explain to some highly educated people on this board that genetic research has confirmed evolution, so you can imagine how it is for folks who are not only unaware of the advances in genetic research but who also, sometime back, established the belief that evolution was just an idea and not close to being proved. For too many people, learning stops or slows down considerably in early adulthood. If they didn't learn it by then, they often remain blissfully unaware of advances in knowledge that occurred since.

    Enter the Bible defenders who began to hear things like Dr Behe's unsupported claims (and supposed scientific evidence there was a global flood and supposed evidence the Earth is really 6,000 years old) and those Bible defenders preferred to believe that science supported their beliefs rather than challenged them. Believing science doesn't challenge what you have come to hold as true is a lot easier than not believing in science.

    And it is a better recruiting tool to get converts into your group. You get things like the Discovery Institute and the Wedge Strategy to add to your proselytizing arsenal. (Sorry, don't know how to leave religion out here.)

    People are susceptible if they are not educated about scientific methods and how to tell when they are being hoodwinked. As far as evolution though, it will be common knowledge by the next generation, at least in the USA. The non-believers (in evolution) will shrink to the numbers such as those that still think the Earth is 6,000 years old and the Grand Canyon was carved out in Noah's flood. The genetic evidence confirming evolution is already overwhelming, it just isn't common knowledge yet.

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    May be it is a demographic problem ? On average how many children in a fondamentalist family and how many in a scientifically educated one ? I ask the question , i dont know the answer . If there are 3 in the fondamentalist family and only one in the other we can say cynically this is proof of evolution. Creationism is the best fit to survive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    I've asked this in a few ID/creationism threads, but I've never really gotten a satisfactory answer. So I'll ask again: just where is this recent upsurge in the popularity of ID/creationism in the U.S. coming from? Why now? Why at all?

    I ask simply because this appears to me to be a uniquely American problem. We just don't get this sort of stuff up here. Just what is going on?
    The book which helped me a great deal to understand the situation was "The Battle for God" by Karen Armstrong. heres the link to bn.com

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...45391691&itm=1

    its a pretty good read and goes into Jewish, Islamic and Christian fundamentalism. They're really not all that different. Basically, once you start getting religious sects breaking away from the mail religion, these sects need to compete for worshippers. And then it becomes like a business in that they need to offer bigger and better things. Eventually, they either overextend themselves or become so infatuated with the number of converts they've managed. In either case, the max out their popularity with the "carrot" and so they resort to the "stick". It's happening over there and its happening over here.

    Anyway. she does a more through job than that explaining it
    John

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    I'm doing research on William Tyndale, the Protestant firebrand who first translated the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into English, and laid the foundations for what would become the King James Bible. A lot of the phrases from the Bible that we take for granted ("eat drink and be merry," "the salt of the earth", "the fat of the land," "judge not, lest ye be judged," "fight the good fight," "the powers that be," even "thou shalt not kill," were first written by him.

    I should point out at this point that I am not, never have been, and never will be a practicing Christian. My interest in this is purely historical.

    Reading his works I can understand how Biblical fundamentalism emerged (I cannot answer for Islamic funtamentalism; having read much of the Quran myself I find it difficult to understand how anyone could take something so poetic and free-associative "literally").

    Basically, it emerged as a reaction to Catholic traditions and a rebellion against Catholic power. Much of the church's wealth was generated by the doctrine of Purgatory; the idea that, before you went into Heaven, you had to spend a little time in a hellish place to burn away your sins. People would then pay through the nose for prayers spoken by "holy men" to speed their relatives' passages through Purgation (even if the holiness of most monks, drunk on wealth, power, food and sex, was arguably inferior to that of the average person). This and other ideas, like the Miracle of Transubstantiation, in which the Host of communion was magically transformed into the flesh of Christ while in the mouth of a believer, were propagated by the Church as a means of ensuring control; since the Bible was in Latin, very few people, even educated churchmen, had read all of it, and most were ignorant of even the most basic Biblical tenets. A poll of clergymen in one parish I read claimed that most when pressed could not recite the ten commandments or the Lord's prayer.

    Hop along the Protestant Reformation, and people like Tyndale and Martin Luther started realising that hey, the Bible isn't really in Latin; it's in Greek and Hebrew, and if it can be translated into Latin, then it could be translated into any other langugage. They also note that the Bible makes no mention of Purgatory, no explicit mention of a church, no mention of the Miracle of Transubstatiation (or even of Mass) no mention of monks, nor of Popes. Much of the authority that they had been living under for 1500 years was, it seemed, based on misinformation.

    So Protestants decided to break away. But they were up against a tide of authority and tradition that could swat them like gnats if they lacked the proper shielding. The shield they chose was the Bible. The Bible was the word of God, it was inerrant and the only text worth consultation on any matter. This was, in many ways, a liberation. Suddenly people felt that having access to the Bible gave the poorest peasant more authority on religion than the richest Cardinal. Women and children who had never read before were suddenly (and, to conservatives, shockingly) quoting scripture better than their pastors; people were suddenly realising they didn't need to pay homage to the grand edifices they had bowed before for so long.

    Many Protestants, denied the right to practice their faith unfettered at home, came to America to establish a pure Christian society. They've been there ever since. For the most part, they've kept quiet, but in recent times their political voice has gained strength, largely due to what they see as a kind of atheist ascendancy, which they've taken on as if it were a new Catholic Church. Thus a doctrine meant to free people, like most such doctrines, ultimately becomes a doctrine of control.

    That's how I see it anyway.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beskeptical
    People are susceptible if they are not educated about scientific methods and how to tell when they are being hoodwinked.
    So, as always, the answer is education. I firmly believe that schools should teach critical thinking from elementary school onward.

    parallaxicality:

    Mostly right, but you've got a few details wrong. (My history course this year dealt heavily with the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation). Specifically:

    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality
    Hop along the Protestant Reformation, and people like Tyndale and Martin Luther started realising that hey, the Bible isn't really in Latin; it's in Greek and Hebrew, and if it can be translated into Latin, then it could be translated into any other langugage.
    Saint Jerome was one of the first to return to the original Hebrew and Greek Bible; he wrote the Latin Vulgate Bible. It was well known by the time of Luther that one could go back to the original if one wished. It was part of the humanist tradition (not to be confused with modern humanists). Also, the notion that only the clergy knew the Bible is a bit of a myth. Any scholar worth his (and in some cases, her) salt was well-versed. It was just the illiterate common people who couldn't read the Bible; that illiteracy wasn't helped by their feudal lords, either.

    Anyway, you make a very good point here:

    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality
    Many Protestants, denied the right to practice their faith unfettered at home, came to America to establish a pure Christian society. They've been there ever since. For the most part, they've kept quiet, but in recent times their political voice has gained strength, largely due to what they see as a kind of atheist ascendancy, which they've taken on as if it were a new Catholic Church. Thus a doctrine meant to free people, like most such doctrines, ultimately becomes a doctrine of control.
    I had never thought of it that way, but it seems to parallel the fall of the scientific culture of the Middle East after the middle ages. Apparently, some theologian or another decided that the Koran wasn't written by humans (and thus possibly erroneous) but was direct from Allah (and thus was perfect and literal). Which meant that there was no reason to search for "truth" in nature: they had it already. The opposite happened in the West: natural philosophy (the precursor to science) grew out of a desire to discover "truth" through God's works, not through someone's interpretation of God's words. Really, we lucked out that we didn't go the way of the Middle East.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality
    ...
    Basically, it emerged as a reaction to Catholic traditions and a rebellion against Catholic power. ...
    Very interesting post.

    And you can add modern events such as the Catholic Church accepting evolution and considering (or did they do it?) a posthumus apology to Galileo as continuing the separate paths the two religions have taken in regards to science.

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    Yes, Pope John Paul II apologized for the Church's behaviour with Galileo in 1992 (or 1993, I can't really remember).

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Supreme Canuck
    I had never thought of it that way, but it seems to parallel the fall of the scientific culture of the Middle East after the middle ages. Apparently, some theologian or another decided that the Koran wasn't written by humans (and thus possibly erroneous) but was direct from Allah (and thus was perfect and literal). Which meant that there was no reason to search for "truth" in nature: they had it already. The opposite happened in the West: natural philosophy (the precursor to science) grew out of a desire to discover "truth" through God's works, not through someone's interpretation of God's words. Really, we lucked out that we didn't go the way of the Middle East.
    Some of the "we" anyway. This is also interesting stuff.

    But it seems a bit rigid as to how religion influenced the fate of science. There would have been additional social-cultural forces in play here. After all, science overcame burning at the stake for discovering things the powers at the time saw as a threat to their power.

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