Creationism is boring

In light of some recent creation/evolution sniping in the comments, I think it worth mentioning why I don’t spend much effort on creationism on this blog.

Creationism is boring.

Science is fascinating for its mysteries, and for how it resolves these mysteries by poking, prodding, and measuring the pokable, prodable, and measurable parts of the universe. Science is full of people being wrong about things, and being right about other things, and for not knowing which is which until the universe comes up and smacks them around for a bit.

That’s what I like about science. The constant, curious engagement with the world around and inside us.

Creationism is about overlaying that engagement with a simple declaration that God did it. And that’s fine, I’m not going to argue the belief. But “God Did It” doesn’t suggest any new experiments. It doesn’t explain why anything happens, or doesn’t happen. Creationism does not seek to explain how or why or where God did it, and as such it doesn’t leave those of us with an interest in nature anything of substance to talk about.

24 thoughts on “Creationism is boring”

  1. It’s about dumbing people down and making sure they don’t ask questions about anything, and that they take things as they’re told to take them.
    It’s about control, and as a result, power.
    The comfort of thinking that there are no unsolved mysteries, that you have all the answers (or THE answer), that there’s a safe place waiting for you no matter how crappy life can get, that someone is watching over you all the time, that you don’t have to THINK, WONDER or INQUIRE.
    There’s many movies about the walking dead, I say, just go to any religious gathering…
    (sorry if I offend, but those are my thoughts, and they’re just as valid as someone posting on their wall some religious message).

  2. Michael Suttkus

    Creationism boring? Creationism is hilarious! Where else can you learn that light from distant galaxies can’t have been traveling for millions of years because the viewer is only 20 years old?

  3. Hi Myrm,

    Teleology can be a good motivator for research: Why would a designer use amino acids and nucleotides? Why would a designer use the genetic code that we have? Why would a designer use double stranded DNA? All good questions that could be the start of research projects.

        1. It is also possible that teleology could be “un-boring” in general, but that a specific type of teleology, Creationism, is boring, from a scientific point of view. I think golf is boring (no offense to anyone!), but I don’t think all sports are boring.

          1. I guess I need to be more specific about what I mean about teleology. One definition is, “the use of design or purpose as an explanation of natural phenomena.”

            I’m taking this to mean the exploration of natural phenomena with the assumption that they have a purpose, and trying to determine what that purpose is. One need not be a Creationist to do this. But there’s no reason why a Creationist couldn’t do it.

            I agree that if all one wants to say is, “God [or the designer, or the FSM…] did it,” then indeed, it would be very boring. But if one wants to use this as an assumption and springboard for research, I don’t see why it needs to be boring.

  4. Nah, creationism isn’t about power, it’s mostly just an over-reaction to evolution-ism, which I use here to mean the equally misguided and unscientific notion that because evolution exists –> Bible is wrong –> Christians are stupid. If the proponents of evolution stuck to actual science and didn’t try to play at philosophy or theology, creationism would lose most of its energy.

    As a Catholic, I believe in complete harmonization of faith and reason, so if there is an apparent conflict, I conclude that there’s something there that we don’t fully understand yet. While I’ve always been suspicious of the grander claims of “evolution” (they don’t seem reasonable, logically speaking), I must say that Alex’s comment on Creationism is probably the best I’ve seen to date. A Creationism (I think there can be different forms) which does not permit asking why or how or where God did things is very, very boring, and I do not believe in a boring God.

  5. But Jonathan, evolution does exclude the biblical god. We aren’t some perfect being above all other creatures who fell from a holy garden. And women aren’t made from men’s ribs. The idea that you would have to take that seriously and consider it as an alternative is borderline insulting. The bible isn’t just ‘a bit off’, it’s like the ramblings of a crazy person. 500 year old people, people living in whales, women turning into salt pillars, talking snakes, burning bulls to please god, not wearing cloths of two kinds of cloth or else get stoned to death, keeping slaves and killing them with icepicks when they don’t listen, etc, etc, etc.

    And turn it around: studying psychology or human culture without referencing evolution is insane; you can’t possibly understand why humans function the way they do without knowing where they came from. Actually knowing where we come from is a gigantic leap forward in our progress to figuring this whole thing out.

    It is only logical that in the next few decades evolutionary theory will dominate psychology, philosofy and economy. Not to mention the effect it will have (and has had) on designing machines, computer programs and medicine.

    And your last sentence is just straight funny. Jezus asks blind and unquestioned worship, just read the story about doubting Thomas. Whatever you’ve turned christianity into in your mind is not what the bible teaches. Which is probably a good thing and I like your version far better. I’m just not sure why you’d keep the book at all.

    1. IMO, evolution is to natural selection as climate is to weather.

      Climate is what you expect but weather is what you get !

      In both cases, the larger concept is a human construct derived from the aggregation of the smaller reality. Weather and selective pressure are demonstrable, phenomenon that can be characterized numerically, while the larger aggregates are more nebulous depending on their framing for their definition. In both cases the larger concepts are useful to some degree but vulnerable because of their artificial boundaries. (If you can’t use numbers, it isn’t really science).

      In any case, there is no reason why natural selection and spiritualism can not coexist without conflict. It is also easy to refute dogmatic creationism by observing simple effects of natural (or unnatural) selection on organisms.

      IMO, teleology is perhaps for philosophers, but not scientists. No numbers there…

      1. I find that I’m having a hard time forming arguments since I’m not sure what I’m debating here. Opposing creationism is easy, opposing religious/biblical influence in science is easy, but now we’re getting in that weird gray area where we can believe being created and having evolved and using science and using an old book at the same time. I find that position completely impossible. It’s like saying you believe markets should be totally free and the state should own nothing and then declaring that you’re a firm believer in communism.

        So, I’m just going to state what I meant in clear terms: I’m not claiming that there is no room for spiritualism in your personal life. I’m claiming that there is absolutely no room for the bible in science, that any overlap between scripture and science is pure coincidence and that the places where there is room for scripture are simply places that sciences hasn’t reached…yet.

        Also, that evolution is somehow not observable is nonsense. The genome is filled with our evolutionary history. There is no reason why a perfect designer would use some patched up monkey-genes to create our second chromosome.

        1. Observation of evolution means exactly what ? Were you there for it ? Cladism is an effort to rationalize the (generally unobserved) history/pathway of natural selection, for what it is worth, but the assumptions can often be pretty thick on the ground.

          The bible is not one thing, one book, by one author and it’s interpretation always an issue. Is it allegorical or stories based on observation. Is every piece and every phrase without merit or use ? Don’t be absurd. The bible has a place in human history and in the philosophy of science that underlies western civilization. There is a reason why science as we practice it developed in certain cultures & traditions and not others. Absolutes and science generally do not go together well.

          “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

          “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

          Relax. Enjoy the pure coincidence. It’s not our job as scientists to refute coincidence but is instead to lay out the numbers and our interpretations of them for all to see.

  6. Yup! It’d be good to know if the first ant descended from the skies, or if a bit of mud turned into an ant, or if it just materialised out of thin air, but unfortunately creationism isn’t about that kind of detail. It’s completely devoted to one thing that DIDN’T happen (in their mind, of course!).

    It’s like a parasite that drinks evolution’s blood and turns it into fecaes

  7. It’s occurred to me that perhaps God created evolution because even He would have been bored by the static universe of creationists.

  8. Hey! I love you’re blog and follow your posts regularly.

    I just wanted to mention though that I disagree with your last statement…

    “Creationism does not seek to explain how or why or where God did it, and as such it doesn’t leave those of us with an interest in nature anything of substance to talk about.”

    One of the coolest things about creationism, I think, is exactly that! Particularly, for me, how he did it. Obviously the infinite amount of detail in the universe, which I’m sure you appreciate through your macro photography, must have some kind of underlying structure. I believe that mathematics were discovered by man not created, which makes it really interesting when you start recognizing fractal patterns in nature. Fractals, being sort of a building block of “the creator” show endless possibilities and applications. Sort of “blueprints” from coast-lines to insect proportions. Similar un-explainable algorithms and patterns popping up everywhere. It’s fascinating to observe and start to unravel.

    I hope you find this as interesting as I do. Keep up the awesome posts!

    1. Have to agree with Ryan here.

      I’ve heard that the reason we use the word “nature” in reference to the outdoor world in the first place is that it was once viewed as the physical revelation of God’s “nature” (in the older sense of the word . . . personality, or essence of being).

      Whether or not that is actually the case, perceiving nature as a way to connect with or understand the Creator does add a layer of interest for many people.

  9. Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

  10. Over many years of reading and following web sites about science from an atheist view (Dawkins, Coyne, Zimmer, Stenger, etc. etc.), and perusing as much as I can stomach from Creationists/ID people (Meyer, Behe), I have long ago concluded that evidence-based reasoning wins by a landslide. It ‘aint even close. The probability of there being a god is so vanishingly low that it is safe to assume there is no god at any level. I do not say ‘there is no god’, but that is only b/c I take the formal stance that it is very hard to disprove anything.
    Like all people I still crave fulfillment in what one might call spiritual needs, but I have no notion that spiritual needs are somehow immaterial. Those needs are all very material b/c they are in my very material head. My spiritual needs are amply fulfilled by a life-long passion for nature (especially for insects), learning about other things in the universe besides insects, and caring very much for members of my fellow species.

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