About creationism

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10835898

The story has so many angles I do not know where to start.

So we have a creationist group claiming that the proponents of natural evolution are crypto-racists because, judged on the appearance, the Blacks must have evolved less than the Caucasians. Before I sink my teeth into their argument it is worth noting that the issue was brought to the NZ Herald’s attention by Danielle Hayes. She is the winner of “NZ’s Next Top Model 2010” and a delightful, grounded person (not to mention good looking). She once famously said that, growing up in Rotorua, girls have three options: go on the benefit, get pregnant or do something with their lives – she chose the latter. Why the article is graced with her posed photo is a mystery; some sort of pictorial reference to the creationism debate would be more relevant. What if the offending pamphlet were sent to the NZH by a balding, overweight male in his 50s – would we be treated to his photo in the header of the article?

Now the beef of the matter. The argument presented in the pamphlet is manipulative and political but no less logical than other viewpoints reported in the media as legitimate. I will bring up some examples to show that inconsistency and manipulative intent do not appear to automatically condemn an argument as flawed.

The environmentalists (led by Greenpeace) lament that the World is running out of oil and alternatives must be actively promoted. Their rationale is that free market is incapable of making this mid-course correction and so wind/solar must be subsidised. This claim is directly contradicted by their own analyses from 1980s in which we were going to run out of oil by 2005-2010 and coal soon after. None of this has eventuated. The World is awash with oil which is why petrol is still cheaper than most brands of bottled drinking water at the supermarket. If we start running out of it, the price of oil will go up making the alternatives economically viable – at present they are not. There is no regulation required to make it happen. No one has ordered Exxon or Shell to start tapping shale gas. When the price justified it and technology became available the shale gas exploration took off. With or without government regulation when we run out of shale gas other technologies will take over. Yet the Greenpeace manipulative stance is reported in the media without the sneer awarded to creationists.

Another example – the social “progressives” espouse to a package of views which includes belief that women should be equal to men in all aspect of social, political and economic life. They also believe that all cultures are equal in terms of what they can contribute to modern societies – to deny it would be judgmental, Euro-centric and racist. The problem is that some cultures treat women as subservient to men and one of the Worlds religions even claims that this is the God-given order of things. Logically, it is impossible to claim that women are equal to men while holding cultures and religions which do not agree with this view as equivalent to the ones that do. When was the last time the NZH published a piece exposing this hypocrisy? Another funny inconsistency is to claim on one hand that the capitalists are greedy bastards who would do anything for an extra buck while also holding that women and minorities are discriminated against when it comes to the wages. If some groups of workers were paid less for doing exactly the same job, the greedy capitalists would only employ women, immigrant and the disabled, to increase their profits! Yet, political correctness which rules the media glosses over all these inconsistencies because “green” and “progressive” views are by definition legitimate.

One more thing struck me this morning. While in the gym I watched a local TV program “The Voice of Islam”. It screened a doco piece about Darwin’s theory of evolution. Invoking some Western science (Pasteur, Hoyle) as well as theological arguments the program claimed that Darwin was dead wrong and the life on Earth was created by Allah. This, apparently, is a mainstream view in Islam. I will email the NZH editors to let them know that fundamental Christians are not the only ones promoting creationism and a news item about Islam’s views on the matter would make a good read. I will even attach my photo – one never knows!

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2 Responses to “About creationism”

  1. Jan Chamski Says:

    The leaflet contains a factual error, the evolutionists do not say that we’ve evolved from chimp. It’s a different thing to actually argue that we have evolved from chimp or that we have not evolved from chimp, this is up for discussion, at least theoreticaly. But what evolutionists say is not up for discussion. it’s a fact.

    This is the main fault that I find with the leaflet, the insulting content is mere consequence. Perhaps legal action could yet be taken if some evolutionary science society were to sue the authors for slander.

  2. da-boss Says:

    You are correct – the scientific claim is that humans and chimps have a common ancestor, not that humans evolved from chimps. However, going by the appearance, the Africans or Amazonians bear more resemblance to the common ancestor than the Nordics so an argument similar to the one in the leaflet could easily be framed in more scientific terms. Would it make the argument acceptable? The NZH labelled the leaflet offensive so the issue is that the creationists’ argument is racist, not that it is factually wrong.

    Incidentally, a similar misunderstanding exists with regards to reincarnation. In a popular view Buddhism claims that “I” can be reborn as a dog. Not unlike the chimp argument this is incorrect. The “I” we habitually refer to cannot be reborn as a dog but whatever manifests in the future springs from the same pool of stored mental impressions as the “I”. A common karmic ancestor, if you will. But I digress…

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