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The dangers of creationism

To continue with creationism, here’s Michael Pearl:

It is one thing to reject Creationism and ID; it is another thing to have good reasons for rejecting Creationism and ID and to express those reasons well, and it is yet an altogether different matter to veritably trumpet that Creationism and ID are great dangers either in and of themselves or because of consequences that will follow uncontrollably from these notions – hence, threats to be fought by any means necessary.

There certainly seems to have been a lot of alarms trumpeted, but it is not blatantly obvious just what is the danger posed by Creationism and ID.

As I noted almost a year ago, there’s an ironic lack of evidence in our arguments against creationism.  At some point we’re going to have to response to Pearl.

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Categories: Intelligent Design
  1. January 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

    it is not blatantly obvious just what is the danger posed by Creationism and ID.

    Oh, come on. In the classroom, that it isn’t science is enough. No one needs to generate the “dangers” of teaching kids astrology as science to argue it shouldn’t be taught as science, either.

    In larger society…well, did you see the clip of John Shimkus that was circulating a couple of months ago, saying we didn’t have to worry about global warming because the Bible says no other cataclysm will happen after the Flood? Enough said.

    • Michael S. Pearl
      January 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

      it is not blatantly obvious just what is the danger posed by Creationism and ID.

      Oh, come on. In the classroom, that it isn’t science is enough. No one needs to generate the “dangers” of teaching kids astrology as science to argue it shouldn’t be taught as science, either.

      The reference to “danger” denotes the tenor of the the most public arguments against Creationism/ID — the point being, hopefully, that it will be acknowledged that Creationism/ID notions are not actually dangerous. Unless they are. In which case, let us see that argument. The analogy to astrology is a poor one. After all, the referenced Smith paper interprets polling data as indicating that “creationists are slowly winning the battle for the hearts and minds of the American public”, and that movement does not seem to be noticed with regards to astrology.

      Since “the public believes that they are being asked to choose between their faith and science, it’s hardly surprising that they choose the authorities with the white collars over the ones with the white lab coats” [Smith, p. 231], and it is stunningly inadequate to respond to those public impressions with the brush-off: It isn’t science.
      Not only is it very much beside the point to respond in a way that seems to regard science as perfectly insulated from everything that “isn’t science”, that sort of response seems not to even have considered just what is science education. I have suggested that the first step in dealing with Creationism/ID could be to adopt an approach something along these lines:

      There are conventions and traditions within sciences. So, what would be the problem with regarding science classes as introductions to these conventions? Is that not precisely how math, history, and English classes are regarded and conducted? … Accordingly, call what is being taught in schools “normal” or “normative” science if need be. Done correctly, this would even keep folks from confusing scientific perspectives for metaphysical positions.

      Of course, this still leaves open the possibility that questions about Creationism and/or ID might arise in classrooms. Were I a teacher, I would hope that some of my students would be interested enough in the subject being taught (in this case evolution) and aware enough of possible tensions between what was being taught and other common beliefs to bring up the matter of Creationism/ID. It would be a tremendous disservice to such students to respond with a simple: It isn’t science.

    • January 16, 2011 at 11:13 am

      Thanks for the comment. I agree we should teach only science in science classrooms. But that’s not the argument we usually make. We specifically say that learning creationism will lead to all sorts of specific harms, and we’re the ones who don’t provide the evidence. As I said in my earlier post that I linked to, it’s mostly our tone that I oppose.

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