Have you ever looked at the website of the Richard Dawkins http://richarddawkins.net, and then I mean especially the store section: http://store.richarddawkins.net/? I recently noticed that “they” (I don’t presume Dawkins is selling stuff in person) sell jewelry. In itself there’s of course nothing wrong with that. But notice that The Richard Dawkins store sells jewelry in the form of DNA-strands, and Darwin’s sketch of the tree of life. These apparently are adopted as the symbols of the atheism that Dawkins is preaching. It’s interesting to see how science and symbolism here go hand in hand. But what is also interesting, is particular dynamics that is at work here. Creationism and Intelligent Design are taking evolutionary theory as a symbol for evil. Evolutionary theory symbolizes everything that in the eyes of creationists and ID-adherents is morally wrong in our contemporary society. Creationists and ID-people consider especially Darwin’s tree of life, representing common ancestry, a deeply problematic symbol. And now here you have Richard Dawkins who does exactly that: Dawkins takes DNA and Darwin’s idea of the tree of life, and turns them into – yes jewelry, I know, but also – symbols for atheism. Science, symbolism, and ideology are getting lumped together in the discourse of the new atheism. In my view a highly problematic combination and potentially dangerous because of its ideological undertones. Wacky stuff.
Does evolution really need to be such a stumbling block for so many? Is it really that bad that we descended from monkeys? Doesn’t that make us even more amazing, primates that can write poetry and design scientific experiments? Behind this strong resistance to evolution there is a deep dislike for a scientific understanding of how nature works. The problem seems to be related to the age-old God-of-the-Gaps agenda, that the more we understand of the world the less room there is for a creator God. This is bad theology, as it links belief to the development of science.
Yes, it is bad theology indeed! This theology assumes a competition between God the Creator and the created world. Such a view is theologically totally inadequate. Thanks Marcelo!
Actually, I’m trying to get away from discussions concerning creationism and Intelligent Design, since I think in the last couple of years everything there’s to say about it has already been said. There are topics in the field of science and religion that are more interesting, rewarding, and fruitful. However, every once in a while I simply come across something that infuriates me and that I need to write about. Creationist brainwashing strategies to confuse the whit out of young children’s minds is one of them…
Quite disturbing news today. A poll by LifeWay Research shows that apparently many US protestant pastors have big issues with evolutionary theory. 74% of the pastors believe that Adam and Eve were real people, and 64% reject the claim that God used evolution to create people. A startling conclusion follows:
“Recently discussions have pointed to doubts about a literal Adam and Eve, the age of the earth and other origin issues,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “But Protestant pastors are overwhelmingly Creationists and believe in a literal Adam and Eve.”
What for me was especially shocking that only 25% of the mainline pastors agrees that God used evolution to create people – meaning that 75% disagrees or doesn’t know. This means that even the more liberal pastors fall under the creationist category. Of course, I don’t know how reliable this poll is. But it seems obvious that there’s still much, very much to do for scholars in the field of science and religion…
The Dutch have their own creationist movement, although so far it is not very much structured (and let’s hope it stays that way). The individuals that push the movement organize mostly meetings on an ad hoc basis. One of those meetings is scheduled to take place on 2-3 March 2012, in Almere. To me it seems to be one of the biggest creationist meetings we’ve had in the Netherlands so far. I haven’t the slightest idea how many people wil attend. The program, it seems, is very preposterous, and it not even completely filled in yet. The names mentioned in the program do actually represent the creationist movement in the Netherlands (meaning: this is all there is to it).
If you’re able to read Dutch, visit the conference website to see what they’ve put together:
Update, 12 January, 11:30: The (new) website of the Dutch Creation Science group can be found here: http://www.dutchcreationscience.com/.
The British government has revised the model funding agreement for Free Schools by the Government in order to preclude “the teaching, as an evidence-based view or theory, of any view or theory that is contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations.”
This means that free schools that do want to teach creationism instead instead of evolutionary theory cannot get any government funding. The revision was necessary because British creationist organizations intended to found their own free schools based on creationist ideas. This was followed by a campaign by the British Humanist Association followed, which now seems to have proven succesfull.