Recently, one of my skeptical colleagues – Louise Kellar – attended the Creation Evidence Expo in Indianapolis, IN and she wrote up a guest blog on it over at Freethought Blogs. I wanted to share it with you here for two reasons: 1) it is a really thorough (and funny!) write-up of the whole event, and 2) Louise must have a much stronger stomach than me, because I don’t think I could have managed to attend this thing without rage-facing my brains out.
The entire post is quite long, but I wanted to emphasize one section which I considered to be very important…
Louise Kellar – kickin’ it at the Creation Evidence Expo
… Dye kept putting up slides about education. “The aim of education should be to convert the mind into a living fountain and not a reservoir” and “Education makes a people easy to lead but difficult to drive, easy to govern but impossible to enslave.” After that he went on about how god was taken out of school in 1963 and shared some statistics with us. Now bear in mind these statistics are all the direct result of God being taken out of school. (Also this is the short list)
- Violent crime up 995%
- Suicide up 300%
- Single parent families up 117%
- STDs up 226%
- Average SAT score down 80 points
- Assaults on teachers up 7000%
- Birth rate of unwed 10-14 year olds up 325% *last year he claimed it was 553%
- 84% of cities are in financial trouble
- 4000 churches close annually
- No new members added to 50% of churches
- 1400 pastors quit each month.
My mind was reeling from all these phony statistics, and of course he didn’t stop there. I am not even sure how he segued into the next topic. It was all about how evolutionists will try to trick you into not believing and he began explaining all the ways animals try to kill humans. He kept talking about how evolutionists will show up to your events and try to trick you. They will also stalk you and they will try their best to lead you away from god. “They kill, steal, and destroy.” He repeated that phrase about every minute. It appeared very much to be an attack on anyone who didn’t believe in creationism and how evil those people are. At one point he even mentioned that people will write bad things about him on the internet. I wonder if he saw what I said about him last year?
ZOMG – BEST FLOWCHART EVAR!!! Really, you can’t make this stuff up… even though the creationists kind of DID just make it up
This goofy flowchart (and the meme behind the statistics that Dye quoted above) were what I really wanted to make the focus of my comments in this post. Those things clearly show what we who call ourselves skeptics and defenders of science are up against when we fight against creationism: namely, we are up against a worldview which is completely devoid of any scientific understanding at all. Creationists are not only ignorant of scientific facts, they are ignorant of the entire process of science itself; and not only that, in many ways they are outright anti-scientific in their views because they have been convinced (likely through a lifetime of brainwashing in church and at events like the Creation Expo) that to accept evolutionary science will automatically turn one into a raving, immoral, baby-eating, murdering, AIDS-infested atheist intent on destroying all that is good and decent in society. Hence, stupidity like the flowchart above *facepalm*
And, quite frankly, when you’re up against that kind of crazy, all the science in the world won’t help you win these folks over.
Which is why, in many cases, I don’t try to fight a creationist with whom I’m arguing solely with scientific facts (since they seem to be largely impervious to such facts); instead, while I mention scientific information, I also try to engage them in a bit of a different manner, one which I think is more effective… I use religion. Specifically, I point out that the “evolution = atheism = evil” argument is completely bogus for one simple reason: there are numerous Christians (and people of other religious faiths) who accept evolution!
That one fact alone destroys their entire argument. Showing them that people of their own religion (Christianity, usually) disagree with their views on creationism is a killer, and it can lead to – pardon the pun – quite a lot of soul-searching on the part of more thoughtful creationists. In addition, I also engage them on the entire morality argument by challenging the assertion that atheists are inherently immoral and evil; this can, and often does, lead into deeper philosophical discussions on the nature of good, evil, ethics, etc. While they may be ignorant of science, they’re all about morals, so why not engage them on those terms using language they can understand?
I’m not saying that it will win them over to the PZ Myers or Richard Dawkins camp of evolution, but one thing it will get them to do is THINK. And that’s the first step.