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Pants in knot II: Creationism growth sparks concern in Ivy League

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A friend writes re a 2014 Johns Hopkins book, Creationism in Europe, “It’s nice to know you’re wanted:

For decades, the creationist movement was primarily fixed in the United States. Then, in the 1970s, American creationists found their ideas welcomed abroad, first in Australia and New Zealand, then in Korea, India, South Africa, Brazil, and elsewhere—including Europe, where creationism plays an expanding role in public debates about science policy and school curricula. In this, the first comprehensive history of creationism in Europe, leading historians, philosophers, and scientists narrate the rise of—and response to—scientific creationism, creation science, intelligent design, and organized anti-evolutionism in countries and religions throughout Europe. The book provides a unique map of creationism in Europe, plotting the surprising history of creationist activities and strategies there. Over the past forty years, creationism has spread swiftly among European Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims, even as anti-creationists sought to smother its flames. Anti-evolution messages gained such widespread approval, in fact, that in 2007 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a Resolution advising member states to “defend and promote scientific knowledge” and “firmly oppose the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution.” Creationism in Europe offers a discerning introduction to the cultural history of modern Europe, the variety of world views in Europe, and the interplay of science and religion in a global context. It will be of interest to students and scholars in the history and philosophy of science, religious studies, and evolutionary theory, as well as policymakers and educators concerned about the spread of creationism in our time.

A friend notes that the article on Germany is written by a known ID foe — which, in our experience, often creates difficulties determining what the person even means by creationism anyway.

Sometimes, it means young Earth creationism, but then the person goes off on a rant against any ideas about nature other than full bore Darwinism. Thus “creationism” can just mean doubting Darwinism or the multiverse or Nicholas Wade, for whatever reason.

It’s a safe bet that no one who thinks the book is an achievement will wish to consider the possibility that people don’t believe what sounds unbelievable, and that is the true reason for growing dissent.

Note: All the chapters are free in pdf format.

See also: Pants in knot, Part I: Creationism in Louisiana schools

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22 Replies to “Pants in knot II: Creationism growth sparks concern in Ivy League

  1. 1
    logically_speaking says:

    The Creation Science Movement claims to be the oldest creationist movement in the world, and it’s based in England.

    https://www.csm.org.uk/whoweare.php

  2. 2
    daveS says:

    Sometimes, it means young Earth creationism, but then the person goes off on a rant against any ideas about nature other than full bore Darwinism. Thus “creationism” can just mean doubting Darwinism or the multiverse or Nicholas Wade, for whatever reason.

    If creationism can mean doubting the multiverse, then I’m a creationist, and so are a majority of actual physicists. I think the term becomes useless with such a broad definition.

    Edit: Which is the point of the OP, I presume.

  3. 3
    Axel says:

    ‘The book provides a unique map of creationism in Europe, plotting the surprising history of creationist activities and strategies there.’

    Why surprising? It was always the default understanding throughout mankind, but particularly scientists, based on the evidence all around us. That the world was not designed is stupid beyond parody. Although didn’t Monty Python parody a naive realist/hypersceptic?

    The nexus between nature and science only manifests to the human mind qua a special creation, within the larger creation. There are no great scientists today, Hawkins being surely over-rated. But perhaps it could be said he has been at the foothills. Nevertheless, the preponderance of non-atheist scientists of great stature right up to the second part of the last century is overwhelming. It is clearly only the money and power of the louche principals of the large multinationals, which has made a faux silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

    Really classical, reductionist mechanistic physics needs to be disowned as science all together, in favour of designation as engineering theory. Quantum mechanics is the only manifestation of science that qualifies as physics, since it brooks no epistemic rival in terms of the depths to which it penetrates matter, and the metronomically regular successes of even its most abstruse and mysterious predictions.

    Epistemically, it is simply incompatible with what we now might describe as classical physics, only tongue in cheek. It’s a different ball-game all together; a different world, the microcosm, which hooks up with the ‘a priori’, unfathomably-mysterious, divine matrix. THE HUMAN PERSON qua Observer, not the objects studied, being the key to any understanding of the latter.

  4. 4
    REC says:

    What is the Ivy League connection? Looks like a book on European creationism, written and edited primarily by Europeans.

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Challenging question, REC.

    How about: “Creationism growth sparks concern among academic elites”

  6. 6
    Mapou says:

    Darwinists use the term “creationists” against non-Darwinists the same way I use the term “dirt worshippers” against Darwinists.

  7. 7
    News says:

    REC at 4: The book was published in the US by Johns Hopkins U, so far as I can see.

  8. 8
    buffalo says:

    Catholics are creationists as we believe God created all.

  9. 9
    daveS says:

    For me, the dividing line is the existence of a literal Adam and Eve. Anyone who believes that they were specially created and begat all of humankind is a creationist. This criterion only applies to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, of course.

  10. 10
    Robert Byers says:

    What is it with European state control of conclusions in human thought? Firmly oppose creationism as a science on equal footing thery say.
    How about a unequal footing? Who is measureing the footing? This could be read as a open declaration to involve a , unequal, creationism in origin subject options?
    They just never could do anything rioht!! Call me anti-eoropeanic if you must!!!

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    News – I guess REC would say that Johns Hopkins is not an Ivy League school. I used a little sarcasm in #5 – that is, not a very interesting or challenging question at all.

  12. 12
    Bob O'H says:

    Silver Asiatic – would anyone (other than News) say that Johns Hopkins is an Ivy League school? This can be confusing for us non-USians.

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H – I can’t speak for News except to say that she’s a non-USian herself and yes, even USians ask and wonder if Johns Hopkins is an Ivy League school. You might want to google that question and notice the results. It’s not as obvious a question as you’d think.
    JHU is ranked academically as equivalent to Ivy League schools and is actually ranked higher in medicine.

    I find this an amusing example of how you guys are desperate to win points somehow. Why not try to defend your theory against the day to day beating it takes here? Instead of looking for spelling errors in Denyse’s headlines?

    🙂

  14. 14
    daveS says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    I would agree that mistaking Johns Hopkins for an Ivy League school is not such a big deal (although it’s a curious mistake given that News blogged at thebestschools.org for some time). However, I think when you regularly put up posts which 1) insult scientists and 2) often contain fundamental errors, much more serious than this Ivy League misidentification, you should expect readers to be extra vigilant in their fact-checking.

  15. 15
    daveS says:

    PS: And let’s not forget the critiques of “legacy media” that we frequently read on these pages:

    In traditional media, fact doesn’t matter any more, only social virtue. Legacy media is now largely popular fiction.

  16. 16
    REC says:

    Silver,

    You’ve misread my complaint. Looks like you stopped at the “?” and didn’t read on to the substance. Typical. “News” did make an error in describing Hopkins as an Ivy.

    My complaint is that a book, written and edited primarily by Europeans, published by JHU Press, is not an indication of “Concern in the Ivy League” as the headline stated.

    I’ve published with Oxford Univ. Press, but I don’t go around calling myself an Oxford Scholar. Similarly, having a conference at Cornell doesn’t indicate Cornell supports the subject.

  17. 17
    Virgil Cain says:

    So a book written outside of the Ivy League cannot cause concern within the Ivy League? (I jest)

    I bet the majority of Americans cannot say how many schools are in the Ivy League nor which schools are in it. Also “Ivy League” is just the name given by the NCAA to an athletic conference. Johns Hopkins doesn’t have a D 1 sports program other than Lacrosse.

    And News is not from the US

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Ok, REC. Two points for correcting a headline. I’d hope you’d consider offering something a bit more challenging next time.

    Beyond that, JHU published the book but it doesn’t represent any shared concern about the growth of creationism?
    How about “sparked concern within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe”? Is that organization less significant than the Ivy League? And does the Ivy League have no interest in what European scholars have to say, and do not share their concerns?

    Plus two for the mundane correction. Minus 3 for missing the bigger issue.

  19. 19
    Silver Asiatic says:

    daveS

    you should expect readers to be extra vigilant in their fact-checking.

    Just about every day on UD I read devastating critiques of evolutionary thought or materialist ideas (BA77’s links alone are enough). Most of these generate no response.

    Denyse then makes a very mundane error in a headline and REC emerges from his silence to make it sound like he’s going to win something against ID with this.

    As far as posts that “insult scientists”, I don’t see it that way. Many posts praise scientists and almost all have a concern to generate interest in science. This also has nothing to do with catching trivial errors, except to show that it’s vindictive.

    When Denyse talks about legacy media she’s talking about corporate entities with large staffs and big payrolls.

    If you want to compare the UD news desk with that, then it’s quite a good compliment.

  20. 20
    daveS says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Denyse then makes a very mundane error in a headline and REC emerges from his silence to make it sound like he’s going to win something against ID with this.

    As far as posts that “insult scientists”, I don’t see it that way. Many posts praise scientists and almost all have a concern to generate interest in science. This also has nothing to do with catching trivial errors, except to show that it’s vindictive.

    To be fair, REC is a bit more high-minded than me, so I think he was making a more significant point than what I interpreted, as stated in #16.

    And let me stress I have nothing personal against the author; I can understand how difficult it is to write up such a great volume of posts without making the occasional error. I would probably last half a day on this beat before I gave up.

  21. 21
    anthropic says:

    daveS 2
    “For me, the dividing line is the existence of a literal Adam and Eve. Anyone who believes that they were specially created and begat all of humankind is a creationist. This criterion only applies to Christians, Jews, and Muslims, of course.”

    That’s an interesting definition, dave. I tend to define creationism as a belief in a particular interpretation of Genesis that requires a relatively young Universe and Earth. Evidence re the age of the dinosaurs, lack of a global flood, speed of light, etc, is reinterpreted to fit this scenario. In this respect, creationism is much like Darwinism: Observations must fit the theory, rather than vice-versa.

    Most IDers are not creationists by my definition, though many may be by yours.

    There is some ambiguity in your definition, however. Someone can believe there were a real Adam and Eve but have very different thoughts on who they were and how they came to be. Perhaps they came from a long line of primates that had a sudden leap in intellect & spiritual development. Perhaps they were created de novo by God, assuming one believes in God.

    Adam means “man” and Eve means “woman” in Hebrew, so even some Christians would say that the story is a parable, not meant as history any more than the story of the Good Samaritan is meant as history. Of course, this runs into difficulties with other scriptures, particularly since Jesus appears to treat Adam and Eve as real people.

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    daveS

    I can understand how difficult it is to write up such a great volume of posts without making the occasional error.

    That is considerate – thank you.

    It upsets me a little to read from ID-opponents occasionally (I’m not talking about you or REC) that they actually learn something here and then they complain when there’s a lull and things aren’t as interesting.

    Nobody’s requiring you to send money to the DI (I do myself but I’m an IDist), but a word of thanks or a little consideration once in a while would certainly be appreciated.

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