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Critical thinking and creationism

In his review of Expelled, Mike Biedler writes:

You’d think that Expelled‘s deliberate misrepresentation of the facts, both in terms of movie production and presentation of the scientific evidence, would make me angry. Not so much… So what is making me angry? Honestly, it’s the fact that one year ago I would have fallen for Stein’s presentation—hook, line, and sinker. I’m also angry at how easily Christians fall for half-truths and outright lies. I’m angry at how often we Christians check our brains at the door and are perfectly willing to serve as messenger boys for the most outrageous urban legends, folk sciences, doctrines, and just plain idiotic belief systems.

There’s a large segment of American Christianity which sees itself as a persecuted minority threatened by a secular mainstream culture intent on its destruction.*  When you’ve locked yourself in a bunker you are almost obligated to believe that they people inside are on your side.  If you applied critical thinking to the situation you would have to admit that you have locked yourself in a room with people who are actively working to promote lies and deception.  And that realisation is probably far too terrifying.

*There’s an interesting case you can make here that the “new atheists” feed this mentality, that they make the problem worse.  I think that’s a mistaken perception.  The bunker doors have already been locked.  They already see secular society as evangelically atheist.  A book by Dawkins or Hitchens just confirms what these people already “know”.  I think the net effect is trivial.  Of course, I may be wrong – I am going on nothing but a gut feeling, devoid of data.  Just like the critics of the “new atheists”.

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One Response

  1. I think you’re right (of course it would be better with substantial data ;). I tend to think there is a diffuse frame around that is setting western societies as basically atheistic (which they aren’t). This, as far as I can tell, is emanating from religious sources. (I guess it’s coming from the most fundamentalist part, but invading minds in general, and I join in your analysis here…).

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