Why Europe has been in decline for so long:
At the Post-Darwinist, I received a message in my inbox regarding my update to the file I keep up on opinion polls relevant to the intelligent design controversy:
Immigrant from Europe, I have been living in the country for a little over 7 years now.
SInce then, I have been flabbergasted by the creationism-intelligent design movement in the States. Before coming here, I have never, ever seen anyone even remotely question evolution, and this in a number of countries were I have stayed and lived. To be fully exact, in none of what we usually call “civilized” countries; not to put some countries down but just that there education level is not at the typical “western world” level.
I am always amazed by hearing comments by citizens of this most advanced country about what has been accepted as basic fact, not even subject to discussion outside the physical walls of churches, in all advanced countries.
This post is not intended to hurt anyone. I would just like to understand why and how a vast number of American came to so firmly believe in creationism (or intelligent design if you want to call it that name). – xxxxxx
I assume that by “this country” my correspondent meant the United States. I replied, a tad frostily,
xxxxxx, you wrote, “This post is not intended to hurt anyone. I would just like to understand why and how a vast number of American came to so firmly believe in creationism (or intelligent design if you want to call it that name).”
Please be assured that you are not “hurting” anyone.
You are providing a valuable demonstration of why so many North Americans think that Europe is in decline once again.
I can offer two thoughts in response to your question:
1. Here in North America, people have the right to question authority and to offer alternative accounts. Twice in the last century, we have had to rescue Europe from descending into chaos precisely because of mass belief in the doctrines promulgated by authorities. Many thousands of Canadians died – indeed, Canada suffered more than the United States did, and was in both wars much longer.
I am glad to think you appreciate our efforts. Certainly, the Dutch government who hosted my father (a veteran) did. Because of that history, many of us have nothing to be ashamed of in our tradition that permits broad skepticism of the ideology of the authorities.
2. If you feel free enough while living here to get and read books like Behe’s Edge of Evolution , [Wilson and] Dembski’s (ed) Uncommon Dissent, or my own By Design or by Chance?, you will understand much better why reasonable people can think that there is a case against Darwinian evolution as a source of major innovations in life forms. If you do not feel free enough, there is not much I can do to help.
whereupon he replied,
Thank you for your answer but it doesn’t really give me more insight about the subject of interest.
Regarding the “rescue of Europe”, if you are to study well WW1 and ‘2, you will discover that the intervention of the US was marginal and short-lived (just 1 year) on a tactical level during WW1 -while very important on a logistical point of view.
During WW2, the States were equally reluctant to get involved in Europe and only did so when it became evident that it would be the next target of Hitler’s plans.
Contrary to what many people believe, Europe would not have become Nazi but… communist. Never forget that the bulk of the war in Europe was on the eastern Front, whatever British, French, Dutch or Italian might say.
SO!! Yes, Western Europe should -and is- grateful of the intervention of the United States… even if this one too often forgets that it would never have been without the French intervention during the Independance War…
I really consider myself as an open person. I was baptized as a Catholic, got married in a Methodist Church, got interested in learning of Islam when I was living in the Middle East and attended Baptist Churches -including Sunday school- during my years in Texas. All that to say that I am always looking for answers to all sorts of questions.
Faith, of whatever kind of denomination, I do not discuss and nothing can upset me worst than when someone tries to impose his or her faith. But about creation, I do not -really do not- understand how some people want to make it pass as science while it is only faith…
and I said,
Xxxxxx, you apparently did not notice that I am a Canadian, and was referrring to Canada. That’s okay. Canada is often overlooked.
If you consult the history books, you will discover that Canada was in both World Wars from the very first day till the bitter end.
Proportionately, Canada sustained far more casualties than the United States in consequence.
So, you better believe, we had a bellyful of the European propensity to accept materialist dogmas. I’m not typically impressed when a European is amazed to discover that it isn’t mandatory here to believe that flapdoodle.
In fact, there are lots of places you can go in North America where people will think you a sap for believing it – whether or not you indulge in a smorgasbord of “faith” positions, while insisting that the materialist view is the one that matters.
I am puzzled by your assumption that I should rejoice to think that Europeans would be communists rather than fascists. How is THAT good?
In particular, how is it better than learning to think for oneself?
I remember the flood of refugee children from Hungary and Poland (countries which had attempted to break free from Communism) who sat beside me in school. The lucky ones, they were.
Anyway, to enjoy your time “here” – I assume you are in the United States, not Canada – note that it is simply okay not to agree with the honchoes. It is also okay to proselytize peacefully for one’s “faith.” It is part of the celebrated dynamism of the continent.
Learn to love it, or go home and quit boring us. Well, one thing about having a blog, you do learn a lot about your cyber-neighbours. By the way, anyone interested in the least in Canada’s war contribution in the twentieth century, go here. The “anti-war” tag was the product of hippies in high office, courtesy in part of American draft dodgers, and doesn’t bear historical scrutiny.
Also, at Mindful Hack: Evolutionary psychologist fails to acknowledge earlier source.
Here is what Michael Behe has to say about The Spiritual Brain.