Friday, November 02, 2012

Creationism, quack medicine and the solidarity of the conmen, the gullible and the superstitious

Jann Bellamy in CAM and Creationism: Separated at Birth? Science-Based Medicine 11/01/2012 takes note3 of the affinity between advocates of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine), aka, medical quackery, and Creationism:

I imagine some of those who promote CAM diagnostic methods and treatments would be perfectly happy being associated with Intelligent Design or any of its previous iterations, such as creationism. After all, if you think all interpretations of how the world works are equally valid you are not likely to quibble with the idea that God created the earth in 6 days any more than you would argue with acupuncture’s meridians and qi. And some CAM providers are so deficient in scientific training we can well imagine they might view the creation of man from clay as a plausible explanation of human evolution. On the other hand, if you are in, say, academic medicine, you would likely bristle at the idea that you have anything in common with an ID [Intelligent Design creationsim] proponent. Even some of those in the Health Care Freedom movement, who endorse the concept that all treatments, no matter how implausible or ineffective, should be available to anyone who wants them, would probably draw the line at the notion that their arguments are no better than those which supposedly support ID.
She notes the religious/superstitious basis of creationism, even when it's pretending to be science. (One thing often misunderstood about Christian fundamentalism is that it insists on being scientifically legitimate, though its image of science is typically a grotesque caricature.)

ID, on the other hand, is exclusively a fundamentalist Christian concept, although with variations within that single ideology. (Mainstream Christianity does not reject evolution as an explanation for the origins of life.) As explained on the NCSE website, which I highly recommend, there are several types of anti-evolution creationists with differing points of view. (Below is but a rough summary and may somewhat conflate the various subtypes in the interest of brevity.)

Originally, anti-evolution creationists argued that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Thus, if the Bible says that God created the sun, moon and stars on day four of creation, then that is exactly what happened. That was fine as long as those views were confined to religious settings. But the creationists wanted to go further by banning the teaching of evolution and teaching creationism in public schools. Here they ran into trouble in the form of the First Amendment and courts consistently held that creationism is religion, not science, and could not be taught in science classes. The creationists regrouped and invented "creation science," which argued that the creation story is actually supported by good science. That didn’t fly as an end-run around the Constitution so they came up with Intelligent Design, which attempts to expurgate creationism of all religious language. ID argues, as the name suggests, that science supports the existence of an Intelligent Designer (code for God) and that Darwinian evolution (which is, after all, "just a theory") is full of holes so, by default, ID correctly explains the origin of life. [my emphasis]
I first saw the bumper sticker "Gravity Is Just A Theory" in a photo with Pete Seeger somewhere.

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1 comment:

Brandt Hardin said...

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 with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.