Creationists of the Secular Kind
“Secular theists” — economist Don Boudreaux’s term — produce governments gripped by the fatal conceit that they are wiser than society’s spontaneous experimental order. Such governments’ imposed order suffocates improvisation and innovation. Like religious creationists gazing upon biological complexity, secular theists assume that social complexity requires an intentional design imposed from on high by wise designers, aka them. In The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge, Matt Ridley refutes the secular creationists’ fallacious idea that because social complexity is the result of human actions, it must, or should, be the result of human design. In fact, Ridley says, “Far more than we like to admit, the world is to a remarkable extent a self-organizing, self-changing place.”
What explains the reluctance to admit this? Perhaps the human mind evolved to seek a Designer behind designs. (“On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel,” Ridley says, “Adam and God touch fingers. To the uneducated eye it is not clear who is creating whom.”) Or perhaps people feel anxious if no one is in charge. Ridley’s point is that everyone is in charge of social change. It is propelled by what Friedrich Hayek, echoing Darwin, called “selection by imitation of successful institutions and habits.” This is a broad-based, bottom-up process by which society, like Darwinian nature, is constantly experimenting.More.
Will’s a smart guy but his analogy doesn’t really make sense.
The trouble is, it doesn’t conform to social realities. Creationists are only rarely progressives and vice versa.
Creationists see human beings as independent creators, for better or worse, whereas naturalists see us as big-brained apes, whose brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. The top down approach of progressive government comes much more naturally to the progressive than to the creationist.
Maybe the explanation is simpler than philosophers might suppose: Will hates progressives. And he hates creationists. So he attempts to conflate them into a twofer. It will be interesting to see who finds his conflation persuasive.
See also: why is everybody a creationist now?
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