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The double standard of creationism

The double standard of creationism

by David Veksler

Let’s consider the double standard posed by Creationists. They insist that we must see something directly for it to exist. Since we did not see the origin of the universe (actually we can still see it today, but never mind that), the formation of the earth, or of life, they insist that we cannot know how these happened. But THEY know, even though they never saw Genesis themselves, the seas parted, the dead come to life, and ghosts rise into to the sky. They don’t need evidence, because they have a book. We have thousands of independent data points which all point to the age of the universe and the earth and the common ancestry of all life, but this evidence does not count because we learned these things indirectly, through systematic observation and induction. But they have a book, and since they operate entirely on the primitive level of concrete-bound perception, deduction from the words in a book trumps any kind of inductive evidence.

The amazing and unique thing about human beings is that by the use of reason we can know all kinds of things that we cannot see with our senses: we know that matter is made of atoms, we know the earth is round, we know the shape of our galaxy, we know what dinosaurs looked like, we know what the continents looked like hundreds of millions of years ago.

There are many things we knew in detail before we ever saw them and then confirmed by observation: for example, we learned about atoms over hundreds of years and only “saw” them for the first time a few years ago. But there were no surprises in seeing atoms because we had indirectly learned all the relevant facts from indirect observation. We knew the earth was round long before we saw it from space. We sent probes to precise destinations at the edge of the solar system across billions of kilometers by deriving the universal laws of gravitation from dropping weights on earth.

Even as they deny our kinship with other animals, creationists demand that we operate on a pre-human animal level: reject everything but the lowest-level perceptual induction, abandon the scientific worldview which makes your civilization possible and uncritically accept the theology you grew up with. This incidentally is the cause of ideological and religious violence: those who abandon reality as the arbiter of truth have nothing but raw coercion to convert the unfaithful to their side.

Here is the one way that Creationists are more consistent than theists who accept evolution: they recognize that if the systematic application of reason in science spreads to ethics, politics or metaphysics, it would invalidate all religious beliefs not based on evidence, and thus they reject reason in science, against all the evidence in the world.

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