The author of the piece, republished at Snopes from The Conversation, also says snide things about ID figures.
The author’s handling of data is quite sloppy. For example, he writes:
In the US today, up to 40% of adults agree with the young Earth creationist claim that all humans are descended from Adam and Eve within the past 10,000 years. They also believe that living creatures are the result of “special creation” rather than evolution and shared ancestry. And that that Noah’s flood was worldwide and responsible for the sediments in the geologic column (layers of rock built up over millions of years), such as those exposed in the Grand Canyon.Paul Braterman, “Why Creationism Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory” at Snopes (February 4, 2021)
The way the paragraph quoted above is written would lead the reader to believe that the link offered (which leads to a 2019 Gallup Poll) will confirm the prevalence of beliefs about the origin of living creatures in general and about Noah’s Flood.
Now, yer news hound (O’Leary for News) has followed polling on these issues over the years. And that doesn’t sound right, as Gallup’s by now familiar question covers only human origins and does not mention Adam and Eve. I checked. Sure enough, my memory is correct. Braterman is riffing. One is not supposed to riff when reporting this kind of material.
How did he decide, in any event, that creationism is a conspiracy theory?
Haeckel’s name appears on the Answers in Genesis website 92 times. He is also the subject of a lengthy chapter in Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution; Science or Myth?. This book, which even has its own high school study guide, was what first convinced me, back in 2013, that creationism was a conspiracy theory.
It is a splendid example of creationist tactics, using long-rectified shortcomings (such as those in early studies on Darwinian evolution in peppered moths, in response to changing colours following reduced pollution) to imply that the entire science is fraudulent. Wells has a real PhD in biology, a PhD acquired with the specific goal of “destroying Darwinism” – meaning evolution science – from the inside.
Wells is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a conservative thinktank which promotes creationism under the banner of “Intelligent Design”, and is also linked to other conspiracy theories, such as claims that the consensus on climate change is bogus, and that last November’s US presidential election was stolen.Paul Braterman, “Why Creationism Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory” at Snopes (February 4, 2021)
For the record, Jay Richards does not say that the consensus on climate change is “bogus” but that, in the context of the March for Science, scientists can be as prone to herd instincts as anyone else. There is plenty of evidence for that.
While we are here, the article on the “stolen” election, republished at the Discovery Institute site from American Thinker should be read in the context of a recent Time Magazine article on the “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election” (February 4, 2021). Just what happened will take some while to straighten out but people who suspected that something was afoot were actually right.
And, as a matter of fact, Jonathan Wells found plenty of nonsense about evolution in textbooks used in schools in 2000. Enough for a book the size of Icons of Evolution, where he actually charts it for the reader.
Having worked in textbook publishing, I am well aware of how rubbish can get dropkicked from one edition to the next if no one intervenes. When Wells came back to the question in 2017 in Zombie Science, he found that much of it still persisted.
Curiously, Snopes admits, regarding the piece from The Conversation, “This content is shared here because the topic may interest Snopes readers; it does not, however, represent the work of Snopes fact-checkers or editors.”
So… they can get away with publishing this kind of thing because they did not check it out?
That is further evidence that Snopes is going downhill fast as a rumor squelching site.
But then, didn’t they get into a ridiculous flap a while back, “fact checking” — of all things — the Babylon Bee?
Snopes has fact-checked whether Democrats demanded that “Brett Kavanaugh submit to a DNA test to prove he’s not actually Hitler.” It’s fact-checked whether Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly “guessed ‘free’ on TV show ‘The Price is Right,’” and whether Ilhan Omar actually asked, “If Israel is so innocent, then why do they insist on being Jews?” Perhaps my favorite (non-political) fact check was of the Bee’s “report” that VeggieTales had introduced a new character named “Cannabis Carl.” If you peruse Snopes’s many, many Babylon Bee fact-checks, you’ll find it’s quite diligent in policing hits on progressive politicians and far less concerned about the Bee’s many satirical swipes at Trump.David French, “Hands Off the Babylon Bee” at National Review (July 30, 2019)
You’d think there were no more actual rumors in the world for Snopes to take on.
When people suffer from a self-important sense of mission, they often become self-parodies and that seems to be happening to Snopes.
Have you read @TheBabylonBee? It’s great!!