Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Why are creationists so successful? (part 2)

This is the second post of some thoughts I have regarding the successfulness of creationists. Why are they so successful? Why do so many believe what creationists say - hook, line and sinker? I had the opportunity to listen to a radio debate between creationist Kent Hovind and evolutionist Massimo Pigliucci, and these are some of the thoughts I had.

Before I continue I want to spend a little time defining whom I refer to when I speak of creationists on any of my posts. In part 1 of this post (click here), I defined a creationist as someone who advocates a six thousand year old earth model. I’ve been thinking about this, and I want to narrow this definition even further. When I refer to creationists in my posts, I’m not necessarily referring to those who believe in a young earth. Rather, I’m referring to those who appeal to science to advocate such beliefs. I have no problem with anyone who holds onto a young earth belief. However, when someone claims that science supports their case, I feel that their claims – like all other claims in science – have to undergo the necessary scrutiny to be qualified as science.

That being said, lets continue.

In the last post I suggested that creationists are successful because they appeal to unquestioned beliefs and assumptions that we have regarding science and evolution. In this post I cover two more reasons.

The second reason why I think creationists are successful is that they appeal to common sense. The design argument, for example, is incredibly appealing, and makes sense to anyone. However, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to realise that the design argument is actually logically flawed, as Pigliucci pointed out in the debate.

The third reason why creationists are successful is that they paint evolution as a ludicrous idea. Hovind made the comment that evolution states that bananas turned into dogs. Naturally, this sounds incredibly ludicrous. However, this is an incorrect statement of how evolution actually works. I’m glad that Pigliucci corrected Hovind by pointing out that evolutionary theory actually states that dogs evolved from the same common ancestor as the banana, and this ancestor was not a dog or banana. Evolution makes a lot of sense when one takes time to learn about its intricacies. Creationists ignore the intricacies and make sweeping, incomplete statements that make evolutionary theory seem like a laughable concept.

There are probably many other reasons to why creationists are successful, but these are the few that came to mind.

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