Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Weaponizing the term “creationism” in debates on racism


That includes, for example, dragging it into debates over repatriation of the remains of Indigenous peoples:

This isn’t the first or only time that the language of “creationism” has been used in recent years to question the anti-racist criticisms of particular scientists. About ten days before Tezuka’s article was published online, Elizabeth Weiss of San Jose State University delivered a talk at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology titled, “Has Creationism Crept Back into Archaeology?” In this speech and in her writings on the issue, she has argued U.S. laws that regulate the use and allow for the repatriation of Native American human remains (including many long unearthed by archaeologists) have prioritized the religious values of Indigenous people over the need for scientific research. She decried the “threat of religious literalism” being invoked to override science. By claiming that Indigenous people’s rights to reinter desecrated human remains is based on a religious belief, Weiss and her co-author James Springer suggest that the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)—or the way that it is typically applied—violate the Establishment Clause.

In both of these instances, “creationism” becomes a powerful rhetorical term. At a time when the politicization of science-based public policy has led to overly broad platitudes about “belief in science,” and at a time when increased awareness of historical and current inequities and wrongs have raised fresh questions about systemic racism, this trend towards labeling opposing viewpoints as “creationism” combines these two political issues in a way that stretches the limits of what counts as “religious” identity. The effect is to use religious rhetoric and reframe discussions about “pseudoscience” or “science denial,” as well as about anti-racism in science. This linguistic tactic has implications for both how the public understands these issues as well as potential policy and legal ramifications.

Adam R. Shapiro, “Why Creationism Appears in Debates About Scientific Racism” at Religion & Politics

Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

You may also wish to read: More on how few Black people choose evolutionary biology… Given the history, it would be harder to explain why they would than why they wouldn’t.


Darwinian biologist Jerry Coyne speaks out on a SciAm op-ed’s claims that denial of evolution stems from white supremacy It seems obvious, on reflection, that Hopper’s piece is a disastrously clumsy effort on the part of Scientific American to get Woke. Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne thinks the mag is not just circling the drain but “approaching the drainhole.” Considering that the editors couldn’t find someone who at least gets basic facts right, he has a point.

Worse yet, here are some excerpts from native American religious beliefs from the Native American Red Book:
At the beginning, the sea everywhere covered the earth. Above extended a swirling cloud, and within it, the Great Spirit moved. Primordial, everlasting, invisible, omnipresent--the Great Spirit moved.
From The North American Indian:
The Yuki believed all souls return to Taikomal when they die. In one creation account, Taikomal was hovering over the water before there was light, and by a spoken word, the earth was created and then populated with people. "After the creation of people, there was a deluge in which only the top of a few mountains remained uncovered."
-Q Querius
Fascinating - the left caught between persecuting the Native Americans for their religious belief and accepting creationism. They didn't have a problem before in supporting Islam when that was the trendy thing to do. Silver Asiatic
Maybe someone will define creationism correctly. If one believes there is a creator of the universe then that person is a creationist. Of course we all know how and why the term is used. jerry
Good point, Polistra at 2, but the controversy over archaeologists' use of the remains of Indigenous peoples without permission is surely not dependent on Indigenous creationism. Indigenous creationists probably helped fuel the fire. But it is hard to see how the controversy wouldn't have started and raged anyway. Some of us think that trying to tar every inconvenient cause in these areas as "creationism" may well backfire on the archaeologists. People will think better of creationism when they consider the issues. News
In this case "creationism" is associated with Native creation stories, which is a high-caste connection. It improves the brand and makes it harder to use negatively in Christian contexts. The elites WILL use it negatively, of course, but some people will notice the cognitive dissonance. polistra
The 'Establishment Clause' is pretty clear. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Which religion is being established by Congress? BobRyan

Leave a Reply