Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Creationist propaganda

I visited the dentist today, and was forced to survey the pitiful array of special interest magazines stacked up in the waiting room, in order to pass the time and keep myself from strangling the loud mouthed gossiping women who were sharing the waiting room with me. After a brief flick through a motorcycle magazine I came across the most disgraceful compilation of blatant misinformation I have ever seen outside The Sun.
Creation magazine looks innocent at first, with no agenda outside an evangelical Christian perspective of vaguely scientific news. I soon realised that science, news or innocence were in no way the concern of the editors or contributors, merely attacking rationality, attempting to defame the scientific community by the spread of misinformation, pseudo scientific theory and by associating everything that is negative in history with scientists, the enlightenment, Darwin, evolutionary theory, and everything that is positive including the abolition of slavery with Christianity. The great leaps of logic would make a kangaroo who, according to these guys, lept from the mainland Asia at the beginning of time a mere 6000 years ago to populate Australia, blush.

"82% of Americans believe in God, and 62% in the devil. Only 42% believe in Darwin's theory of evolution - a figure that falls to 16% among born again Christians." The Daily Telegraph

I am perfectly aware of the popularity of creationism in America and Australia, and also of the pseudo science used to justify it. What I was completely unaware of, and deeply offended by, was the personal slander and selective acceptance and rejection of scientific achievement of various key figures in scientific history. The outrageous claims include the fact that some dinosaur fossil’s heads are thrown back as “a sober reminder of what happened to the Earth during Noah’s flood.” and stories of carnivorous cows and herbivorous lions which are an “echo of the originally perfect world in which all animals were vegetarian (Genesis 1:30).”
The most sick and defamatory of the claims made in the text is that “Darwin was himself a social Darwinist.” and that he was somehow responsible or supportive of the Nazi race policy despite the fact that as well as being a part of the dedicated opposition to slavery he also opposed the polygenism theory which postulated that the different human races were distinct species and created separately, in fact, Darwin considered that all human beings were of the same species, and that races were just sub species. Darwin’s revolutionary theories are a huge benefit to the entire human race. He was a brilliant scientist as well as being a Christian, racked with guilt for his magnificent discovery. Darwin is no more responsible for the actions of the Nazis than Jesus is for the actions of the Spanish Inquisition.
The magazine unashamedly exhibits double standards such as the claim that when the word slave is used in the bible it refers not to slaves but to paid workers, so what was Moses then? A union leader? They go on to credit the abolishment of slavery to Christianity using Wilberforce as an example, despite the fact the church itself did very little to prevent slavery or speak out against it, and many of the members of the Church of England who supported the anti-slavery movement in England were, as is the tradition with the C of E, adaptable in their faith.
The problem with such publications is not that they print lies, and are able to attack and defame key historical figures in an attempt to push their own misguided ideology on impressionable and dutiful Christians. The problem is that scientists are not a united community in the sense of a faith, and are far less likely to respond to an attack of a fellow scientist emotionally; on the contrary they are likely to listen intently and consider its validity. Religious hatred laws allow for an imbalance of neutrality in print media, whereas to attack religious clerics, institutions and texts and to publicly denounce the authenticity of religious belief that contradicts scientific fact is considered politically incorrect, bigoted and even fascist. 
The logically minded are not represented politically nor are they defended from discrimination by legislation. The persecution of Jews throughout history is by no means as wide spread and consistent as the persecution of heretics and scientists who have at times simply been labelled witches and subjected to the most horrific forms of torture. 

Tell these people how you feel.