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A Miscellany 392
Creationist Dishonesty

by: John Tyrrell

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As I've noted on this site several times when discussing creationism, in my view the promoters of creationism are fundamentally dishonest. They deliberately and knowingly misrepresent science in an attempt to cast creationism and intelligent design in a favourable light.

Donald R. Prothero in his devastating critique* of Stephen Meyer’s pathetic attack on evolution; Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, is not quite so harsh - but he says pretty much the same thing about those who profit by selling books advancing creationism:

The most familiar of these [blind spots] is confirmation bias, where we see only what we want to see, and ignore or forget anything that doesn’t fit our preferred world-view. When this bias emerges in argument, it takes the form of cherry-picking: finding a few facts out of context that seem to support what we want to believe, and ignoring everything else that contradicts what we are trying to promote.

The entire literature of creationism (and of its recent offspring, “intelligent design” creationism) works entirely on that principle: they don’t like any science that disagrees with their view of religion, so they pick tiny bits out of context that seem to support what they want to believe, and cherry-pick individual cases which fits their bias. In their writings, they are legendary for “quote-mining”: taking a quote out of context to mean the exact opposite of what the author clearly intended (sometimes unintentionally, but often deliberately and maliciously [emphasis added]). They either cannot understand the scientific meaning of many fields from genetics to paleontology to geochronology, or their bias filters out all but tiny bits of a research subject that seems to comfort them, and they ignore all the rest.

For those interested, the full article is a worthwhile read, and it establishes that Meyer's book is not.


* Stephen Meyer’s Fumbling Bumbling Amateur Cambrian Follies, by Donald R Prothero on eSkeptic. 

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