A whopping 46% of Americans say they believe God created humans in the present form, according to a recent Gallup poll.
As Science Guy Bill Nye puts it in this video, denial of evolution is unique to the United States. The fundamental ideas behind the theory of evolution have been scientific gospel for decades — and yet, defying Darwin, creationists refuse to go the way of the dinosaurs.
Even St. Augustine, the most influential of the early Christian theologians, knew that there were all sorts of problems if the Bible was taken literally, and cautioned that much is metaphorical or allegorical in the Bible.
And yet some Americans continue to need to put themselves, human beings, at the center of the universe, and deny evolution.
Look at what’s happening now:
Northern Kentucky is fast becoming a mecca, of sorts, for those attracted to the lucrative business of creationism.
Answers in Genesis, an organization that embraces a “literal” interpretation of the Book of Genesis and believes the earth is only 6,000 years old, is the main group responsible for bringing so-called creation tourism to the region. First, it opened the Creation Museum, which depicts an earth where dinosaurs and humans co-existed. The 70,000-square-foot complex has attracted well over 1 million visitors since it opened in 2007.
As soon as it reaches its funding goal of $24.5 million, Answers in Genesis will help open the nearby Ark Encounter, a Biblical theme park that will feature a full-sized, 500-foot-long, 80-foot-high recreation of Noah’s Ark, a zoo, a first-century village and a mock-up of the Tower of Babel.
Now another group, the online-only Creation Science Hall of Fame, hopes to establish a real-life creationism center located between the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter. That’s in addition to another creationism museum in Texas, and a mobile museum that takes fossil exhibits to churches and schools.
The hall of fame website was launched in February and honors “those who honored God’s word as literally written in Genesis.” Any scientist who the institution believes furthers the scientifically inaccurate idea that God created the world 6,000 years ago can be included.
“We honor these people, not because we believe everything they say, but because they made critical contributions to creation science and to the explanation of the Genesis story,” secretary/treasurer of the hall of fame Terry Hurlbut told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Curious as to who “these people” might be, I checked out the hall of fame website, and discovered that it honors 104 deceased male scientists including Leonardo Da Vinci, Michael Faraday and Guglielmo Marconi. To explain why these individuals are included, the site excerpts biography information from the book “Men of Science, Men of God,” written by a man widely recognized as the father of creationism, Henry Morris.
Hmm, I’m pretty sure these dead white males would not have agreed to be a part of this endeavor.
It turns out that not everyone in Kentucky is thrilled about these developments. Last year, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority granted more than $40 million in tax incentives for the planned $172 million Ark Encounter. At the same time, they cut millions of dollars for education.
Let’s give the last word to Bill Nye and his awesome Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children video:
Denial of evolution is unique to the U.S. The U.S. is where most of the innovation still happens. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in evolution, it holds everyone back. Evolution is the fundamental idea of all of life science. It’s like trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. It makes everything more complicated.
I say to the grown-ups: If you want to deny evolution and live in a world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it — we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.
It would be easy to dismiss the notion of creationism as belonging to the lunatic fringe, but it’s not. Anti-evolution bills have been introduced this year in at least six states, and in 2008 Louisiana passed a bill that gives teachers license to equate creationism with evolution.
Is the United States the laughing stock of the world yet?
Photo Credit: David Berkowitz