Wrong Not Crazy

Are creationists crazy?  Dumb?  Ignorant?  Guilty of child abuse?

Of course, some creationists might be all or any of those things.  But in spite of the overheated accusations of some science advocates, creationists are not dumb or crazy BECAUSE of their creationism.  More to the point, assuming that creationists can only be crazy stops any authentic attempt to understand creationism.  In the long run, that sort of ignorance on the part of evolution educators hurts the cause of evolution education itself.

This is not a popular thing to say.  Creationists don’t like it because it suggests that many people think of them as idiots.  Many anti-creationists don’t like it because they take the idiocy of creationism as an article of faith.

When I made this simple point in the pages of the Chronicle of Higher Education a few months back, I was called an idiot and worse.

Recently, Josh Rosenau, Policy Director of the National Center for Science Education, emphasized this important idea in a talk to an audience at Santa Clara University.  Rosenau has argued this unpopular position before.

In his recent talk, Rosenau pointed out (minute 15 of the 45-minute video) that “Science Denial” may be wrong, but it is not irrational, nor is it antiscience.  People who do not believe in evolution often know about it.  People who do not believe in evolution have their own consistent, internally logical, socially supported intellectual community.  As Rosenau noted, creationism is often “driven by personal identity and deep, real, important concerns.”

Continuing kudos to Rosenau and the NCSE.  This message is often politically unpalatable, but it is the only way to make progress in these depressingly durable creation/evolution battles.  Name-calling and point-scoring only deepen the culture-war trenches.

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