09 June 2007

Creationism - a dangerous beast

Believing in creationism is not just stubbornly illogical, its propagation is also a threat to the public good. But does it not have the immunities we grant to religion? Full essay.


Yuri/Dee said...

Ooh, I followed the breadcrumb trail and found the domain where the cottage lies but I'm not giving anyone the GPS co-ordinates. Nya nya... you guys can email Yawning bread! =P

Sure, I do believe in stuff like "natural medicine"(what some science folks call psuedo-science, just like what creationism is too) but many of the beliefs within Creationism just make me go "huh?" I just find it very hard to believe that the Earth was created within 10 thousand years. After all, haven't there been heaps of archaeological evidence of gatherings of humans past 100 thousand years ago? As in: cultural, art, remnants of their cutlery and food, etc.

Anyways, I just can't believe that these folks are coming over. Makes me wonder how many are paying to hear them talk.

And I for one have encountered various folks whose attitudes are similar to the woman in your example. They cling to hope that their faiths/beliefs will outshine the evidence. Though most crumble in the face of evidence, the obstinate few will continue trumpeting their beliefs in your face. And when all "reasoning" fails, they launch their attacks as a last resort. They truly are a pain in the neck.

Anonymous said...

What we need is a protest with people shouting slogans that'll make 'em crawl back into their shell!


Anonymous said...

From the bigger picture, religion is almost as old as man. So it is likely not to disappear anytime soon.

All religions contain core superstitions.

In Singapore, there seems to be an attraction towards Christianity by non-Malay youths. This is disappointing, but not really surprising. The religion is associated with Western civilization and may be viewed as the Westernization of their beliefs. They are simply trading the superstitions of their culture for a new set of superstitions that is dressed up in modern garb.

The antidote to superstition is liberal and secular education. Unfortunately, many of our teachers are also Christians and may be partly responsible for feeding our young minds with superstitious ideas from young.


Anonymous said...

why pick on creationism? why not, say, reincarnation? are humans reincarnated dinosaurs? the issue is actually political: by using the legal system to intervene in public education, creationists are politically active, and we have to deal with it politically

of course religions are different from science; faith is not a matter of proof, but is based on a psychological need finding some belief particularly comforting; it goes without saying that to maintain such beliefs, you have to select your evidence and ignore inconvenient matters


~[z][x]~ said...

Hi I am a Christian, but I so want to petition against this nonsense. Is there anyone interested in doing something like that- to write a joint letter to the MDA or something requesting that this shit be banned?

It's not just an insult to Science, it's an insult to Christianity as well.

Anonymous said...

Please don't think about asking for things to be banned...that is a typical Singaporean reaction. I think refuting the creationist agenda is a much more intelligent approach than banning it. I think the MDA should be banned and all ideas should be debated openly. If you're upset that foreigners are ministering, then you should be equally upset when foreign democracy advocates visit Singapore and try to give speeches. C'mon... Singaporeans are intelligent enough to hear all sides to a debate. The problem is that they aren't allowed to protest or organize effectively against propaganda or nonsense.

~[z][x]~ said...

I think there are some ideas that cannot possibly and reasonably merit a meaningful debate. I've been to one of these Creationism talks before, and it isn't as simple as 'well if you disagree, just refute them' mainly because:

1) There wasn't a time allocated for Q n A.
2) Many who attended the talk LOVED the message. They kept applauding the speaker even though he was talking nonsense.

The problem with such messages is that they are mixed with Religion, and once people accept them as an article of 'faith', you will not be able to "refute" them anymore. That's the danger.

If a religious group knocks at Singapore's doors today and asks to hold a conference to preach the message that "Gravity is a lie, and true belief and faith in God can allow one to fly", the immediate and correct response should be 'NO!' and not 'ok fine, let them in, Singaporeans are intelligent enough to hear all sides to a debate'. Because if one, just one person, should be taken in and jumps to his death, that loss will be greater than the benefit reaped by the intellectual satisfaction of the rest.

"If you're upset that foreigners are ministering, then you should be equally upset when foreign democracy advocates visit Singapore and try to give speeches."

I don't think I'm upset about foreigners ministering. I generally find foreign pastors' sermons more inspiring and thought-provoking than local ones. I'm upset about foreigners flaunting their Masters and PhDs, feeding our citizens OBVIOUS scientific lies and masquerading as religious experts to help the uninformed swallow the lies as GOSPEL Truth.

Anonymous said...

To ~zx~,

While I wholeheartedly agree with you that the creationist dogma is dangerous for science in Singapore and probably deserves banning, I think it is too dangerous to ban such speech. The ones doing the banning may also not be the smartest group of people, and if they are given the power to ban anything, then in the future the may just ban something that is not so dangerous, or not so much at odds with science. For example, maybe they will start banning politically sensitive material on grounds that it is also dangerous. Oh wait! This is Singapore -- they already do that too!

Anonymous said...

it's a sad day when a voice for freedom and reason ends up advocating the repression of public speech.

your words: "We'd be too lax if we treat foreign pseudo-experts "ministering" creationism as mere oddities to laugh over. " no, I think that's exactly what most of us should do - treat them as oddities to be laughed over. when/if they attempt to influence public policy, it's another thing. if the mainstream media picks up the seminar, then it's nice if someone can be bothered to publicly refute them. but otherwise, leave the nutcases alone. I despise these particular nutcases, but the principle of allowing free speech is much more important. the 'public interest' line is way over-used already, and in this case there is no clear and direct link to actual harm caused - lots of indirect, possible links, but would you really want to ban speech on those grounds??

Anonymous said...

I agree that as long as the talk's private, there's no need for censorship.

What's scary is when these believers attempt to bring religion into politics.

Incidentally, for those interested, "Jesus Camp" is a must-watch documentary on the Evangelical movement in the US. It is frightening to see the political might and influence on the young the group wields. A church group highlighted in the movie brings primary school-aged kids to anti-abortion rallies and likens them to "Christian soldiers" and "God's army". Then there is the increasing trend of bringing the bible (and intelligent design) into public schools. I shudder to think of Singapore ever reaching this state.

And the thing about arguing with such believers of creationism is that faith is illogical. It supercedes any rational argument or logic, which is why i think the most important "battle" is that of our kids' minds.

Anders said...

Some of Chomsky's words seem to be in place here:

"If you believe in freedom of speech you believe in freedom of speech for views you don't like. Göbbels was in favour of freedom of speech for views he liked.. so was Stalin. [...] If you are in favour of freedom of speech, that means you are in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise - otherwise you're not in favour of freedom of speech."

Anonymous said...

~ [z] [x] ~
Why are you only against Creationism? Isn't that just one facet of religion? If you want to ban Creationism, you should also ban Christianity - both don't stand up to induction and deduction; logic and data.

Anonymous said...

"Anyways, I just can't believe that these folks are coming over. Makes me wonder how many are paying to hear them talk."

According to the web site http://www.creationontheweb.com/content/view/5051 it is free. So there's no need to wonder if anyone is paying to hear them talk. And since it is free, perhaps some of us might want to take up the free offer and check these guys out?