Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 78 (8964 total)
39 online now:
anglagard, AnswersInGenitals, Aussie, jar, JonF, PaulK, Percy (Admin), PsychMJC (8 members, 31 visitors)
Newest Member: javier martinez
Post Volume: Total: 873,014 Year: 4,762/23,288 Month: 1,667/1,286 Week: 334/615 Day: 26/42 Hour: 1/4


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Why Creationists' Willful Ignorance?
dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


(1)
Message 1 of 182 (628579)
08-07-2011 11:03 PM


I am in the process of bringing my site back up after having been taken down a few years ago by my provider suddenly going out of the business. I am now bringing it back up at http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/.

On my index page, I am endeavoring to summarize my position. Part of that is the question of why creationists persist in keeping themselves ignorant of evolution and the associated sciences. I will prsent here what I have posted and open it up to discussion and criticism. I am particularly concerned with my assessment #2, pertaining to the goals of creationist/fundamentalist education.

quote:
In order for a creationist to discuss claims involving science, they need to learn something about the science! Sounds so obvious, and yet it's something that they never seem to do and it's something that they seem to always refuse to do. Or else they back out of the discussion by promising to look into it, which they have absolutely no intention of doing.

Why do they refuse to learn the science when their ignorance works so much to their detriment? Two possible reasons come to mind:

{ABE: Restored portion of Item #1 in order to reduce confusion}
1. I believe it is because they desperately need that ignorance in order to preserve their faith. Because by learning the science, they will also learn that their claims are false, which then would destroy their faith in accordance with "creation science" theology.

To illustrate the delicate dance that a creationist must do to carefully maintain his willful ignorance while trying to learn something about science, I came up with this analogy in a forum:

quote:

{ go to my site to read the full quote, which I'm abbreviating for brevity }
And that is the analogy I see in operation with fundamentalists. They need to understand what's happening in the real world in order to deal with very real problems. But if they do understand what's really happening, then that could destroy their faith -- either they imagine that it will or it actually will, or both. So they avoid the truth instead of having to deal with it. That works for most whose everyday lives never need to deal with science or the truth. But those who must deal with such things need to find other ways to avoid the truth, other ways to understand just enough to get by but not enough to realize the truth and so endanger their faith. This is especially true of active creationists who try to carry on the fight against evolution; they need to know enough to discuss the subject matter, but not enough to actually understand the subject matter.

2. Another possible explanation may lie in their misunderstanding of what learning entails. According to the 1990 Science Framework for California Public Schools Kindergarten through Grade Twelve:

quote:

We repeat here the fundamental conviction of this framework: Education does not compel belief; it seeks to encourage understanding. Nothing in science, or in any other field, should be taught dogmatically. But teaching about something does not constitute advancing it as truth. In science, there is no truth. There is only knowledge that tests itself and build on itself constantly. This is the message that students should take away with them.


However, it appears that education has a different meaning for creationists. It appears that, in their experience, rather than being for the purpose of understanding, it's for the purpose of indoctrination, of telling the students what to believe. This would mean that they believe that studying evolution would require them to accept it, so they refuse to actually study it.


  1. In "creation science's" "balanced treatment" materials labeled for "public schools", we have repeatedly seen them trying to compel belief, repeatedly urging the students to choose what they believe; ie, compelled them to decide to believe in one thing or the other, counter to the goals of public education.

  2. In creationist rhetorics, they repeatedly describe public school education as "indoctrination" and accusing it of teaching their children what to believe. They appear to be projecting onto public education what they themselves do in their own schools.

  3. In my 25-plus years of on-line discussions with creationists, a number of creationists absolutely refused to learn about evolution, telling me explicitly that studying evolution would require them to believe in it. That makes absolutely no sense to a non-creationist, but it obviously does to creationists.

  4. In 1988, when the ICR's graduate school was being inspected for accredidation, the visiting committee found the school deficient in several ways, including "that the school's doctrinal tenets limited academic freedom" (citation). In one class the committee observed that they were using a standard graduate-level textbook also used in public universities, but the instructor was taking the entire class through the book page-by-page, telling them what to cross out because "we don't believe that."


Is my assessment of conservative/evangelical/fundamentalist/extreme-sectarian Christian education accurate?

Edited by dwise1, : clean-up and adding focus

Edited by dwise1, : fourth item

Edited by dwise1, : Restored part of Item #1


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 08-08-2011 7:46 AM dwise1 has responded
 Message 6 by Dogmafood, posted 08-10-2011 11:17 PM dwise1 has responded
 Message 8 by Butterflytyrant, posted 08-11-2011 10:17 AM dwise1 has not yet responded
 Message 20 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-11-2011 6:50 PM dwise1 has not yet responded
 Message 22 by NoNukes, posted 08-11-2011 9:24 PM dwise1 has responded
 Message 50 by marc9000, posted 08-14-2011 6:53 PM dwise1 has responded
 Message 54 by IamJoseph, posted 08-15-2011 5:37 AM dwise1 has responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 3 of 182 (628581)
08-08-2011 10:19 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
08-08-2011 7:46 AM


The table plus shading was for creating a quote box, but here that turned out unreadably ugly so I replaced them with quote tags.

HTML strips out white space, including carriage returns, but this forum does not.

I'll clean that up, plus on second thought I should only post item #2 since that is what I really want to verify. Anyone who wants to see the entire thing can go to my web page.

{ABE}
Done.

Edited by dwise1, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 08-08-2011 7:46 AM Admin has acknowledged this reply

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 4 of 182 (628582)
08-09-2011 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
08-08-2011 7:46 AM


I just added a fourth item to the list.

Is there anything else I need to take care of?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 08-08-2011 7:46 AM Admin has acknowledged this reply

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 14 of 182 (628629)
08-11-2011 2:39 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Dogmafood
08-10-2011 11:17 PM


DWise1 writes:

...conservative/evangelical/fundamentalist/extreme-sectarian Christian...

That is quite a sub group. Are all of those attributes required to apply?

Rather than treat those as intersection operators that AND the attributes together, they are intended to be union operators that OR them together.

Although many, including myself, will apply the label of "fundamentalist" to a particular type of Christian, it properly only applies to very particular sects. So I was trying to refer to the various types of Christians who would be of the "creation science" persuasion, so to speak, and wondering whether my assessment is accurate enough of what they consider to be the goals of education.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Dogmafood, posted 08-10-2011 11:17 PM Dogmafood has acknowledged this reply

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


(2)
Message 15 of 182 (628631)
08-11-2011 2:48 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Taq
08-11-2011 11:18 AM


Reminds me of a NASA channel broadcast of a press conference for the Galileo mission -- our company had made the data recorder which ended up saving the mission by being able to be operated well outside its design requirements in order to compensate for a high-gain antenna that failed to deploy. The company was running NASA coverage on the TV in the break area.

As the spokesman was taking questions from the press, a reporter from a fashion magazine got up and asked "What color is the probe's parachute?" That immediately got the attention of everyone in the break area. The spokesman just stood there for several seconds with a stunned look on his face, trying to figure out whether he had actually heard what he thought he just heard.

Of course, in Dawn's book, that would have meant that the reporter just won the debate.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Taq, posted 08-11-2011 11:18 AM Taq has not yet responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 16 of 182 (628632)
08-11-2011 2:56 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Taq
08-11-2011 12:59 PM


Re: Projection
Tied closely to willful ignorance is the need to project. I don't think creationists do this on purpose. In fact, I think it is part and parcel of the thought process that results in willful ignorance.

Exactly what I was thinking, that they are projecting their own view of education onto other systems and philosophies of education; eg, public education, science education.

My own concern is to verify whether they actually practice what they project.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Taq, posted 08-11-2011 12:59 PM Taq has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by jar, posted 08-11-2011 3:02 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 18 of 182 (628635)
08-11-2011 3:30 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Butterflytyrant
08-11-2011 12:34 PM


Re: Fundamentalist educator
I think part of the reason that nobody in the class asked any questions was that they didn't understand enough to be able to ask a question. Also, they weren't there to learn, but rather to "gather ammo" for their own proselytizing efforts. Fundamentalist Carl Drews noticed that to be what most of the other students in his creationism class were there for; when he brought in the results of his research into the claims made on the previous week's tape, most of the class would even look at it -- they just want more of that convincing-sounding ammo, so they could care less whether it was false.

{ABE: On another forum years ago, a creationist's response ("Well, you don't think our claims are convincing because you're not already convinced {like we are}") made me finally realized that they don't care about the truth, but rather they just want something that sounds convincing. In reply, I outlined the differences between scientists and "creation scientists". Later, I converted that to a table and started to write a web page around that table. I never finished that page, but here's a link to it: http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/cs_vs_sci.html -- nothing on my site links to it, so this is the only link ... well except for one link down towards the bottom of my "My Position" outline on my index page. }

We've got a local creationism activist, Bill Morgan, who seems to hold Kent Hovind as his model and idol. Guy's a pathological liar, even lying about things that made no sense at all to lie about. In one of his "publications" (mainly a really poor man's remake of Chick Pubs' Big Daddy?), he used the old misrepresentation of Punctuated Equilibria (PuncEq), that a lizard laid an egg and a bird popped out. I pointed out that it was wrong and in response he came back with an incredibly good and accurate summary of what PuncEq is and what it teaches. And then he continued to feed his public that old misrepresentation, even though he knew better. He even responded to me once that nothing is more important than the truth and immediately followed it with yet another lie. It appears that part of his motivation is the adulation he receives from his followers; like my one dog would do anything for a belly scratch, he'd do anything for an ego stroke.

From what you describe of what your friend was going through leading up to his conversion, that sounds likely to be part of his motivation. I've read other accounts of others who got sucked into fundamentalist churches by the overwhelming displays of love and acceptance that they got bombarded with. Say, don't cults use the same tactics?

Dan Barker was born and raised a fundamentalist and as a teenager was personally called into the ministry by God. Then after many years of preaching, he began to think and to read and developed into "America's Leading Atheist". I'd like to share a couple of his observations:

1. The mind of a fundamentalist can be described as "when your theology becomes your psychology." I think we can all see that at work in the fundamentalists we encounter. Because I got recruited to help a local mega-church's singles ministry (about 15,000 singles) with its weekly dance class, I also got talked into going through its DivorceCare program as well as attend a few very popular presentations by two Christian counselors. Although they made use of fairly standard counselling ideas, everything was twisted around to all depend on Jesus and what Jesus wants for us and whether the choices we make work to bring us closer to Jesus. In DivorceCare, the overriding message was that only Jesus can help you to recover from divorce, so {subtext}if you're not a Christian then you are sh*t out of luck{/subtext}.

2. Barker saw preachers who were spouting theological nonsense and he even engaged in it himself at times. Nobody in the audience ever questioned them, even though somebody out there had to have know that it was nonsense. Rather, the reaction was that "he was caught up in the Spirit" so they accepted what he was saying. And then after his deconversion, none of them would accept anything that Barker said, even when it was the plain simple truth.

Edited by dwise1, : ABE & link to http://cre-ev.dwise1.net/cs_vs_sci.html


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Butterflytyrant, posted 08-11-2011 12:34 PM Butterflytyrant has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by jar, posted 08-11-2011 3:47 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 23 of 182 (628662)
08-11-2011 11:57 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by NoNukes
08-11-2011 9:24 PM


OK. So how do we keep them from screwing up science education for the rest of us? And for their kids after they deconvert.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by NoNukes, posted 08-11-2011 9:24 PM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by NoNukes, posted 08-12-2011 11:13 AM dwise1 has not yet responded
 Message 41 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-12-2011 12:25 PM dwise1 has not yet responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 30 of 182 (628698)
08-12-2011 10:34 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by New Cat's Eye
08-12-2011 9:59 AM


hooah212002 writes:

There happens to be a large enough group of scientifically illiterate people that we have to have debates about scientific facts.....

Honestly, how many of these people do you think there are?

According to P.T. Barnum, a new one's born every minute.

Of course, the scientific illiterates I'm talking about are creationists, who are fed a steady diet of PRATTs in the creationist literature while being kept ignorance of the fact that many/most of those PRATTs were refuted decades before they were born.

Case in point: at local "just jump right in" amateur debate nights circa 1990, a young creationist jumped in announcing "a brand new scientific finding that will just blow you evolutionists away": the speed of light is slowing down. Immediately, half the audience broke into howls of uncontrollable laughter and started explaining to him that that PRATT was more than a decade old and immediately refuted and here's what's wrong with it. Blew the poor guy away.

My addition to this sub-topic: If someone wants to remain ignorant about something, then no problem. Not only is everybody ignorant about many things, there are also things that they would want to remain ignorant of; eg, for me that would be sports, "reality" TV, fashion, most post-1971 popular music, especially rap.

The problem is when their ignorance has a political agenda that will sabotage society. To quote the women in British personal ads after listing what they don't want in a man: "You know who you are!"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-12-2011 9:59 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-12-2011 10:42 AM dwise1 has not yet responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


(1)
Message 52 of 182 (628973)
08-14-2011 11:20 PM
Reply to: Message 50 by marc9000
08-14-2011 6:53 PM


Your assessment #2 is about "education", and "what learning entails", and that is not a scientific subject, any more than is math, history, etc. It doesn’t make much sense to criticize someone (or group) for disagreeing with you on something that is a completely different subject than what you are criticizing them for.

Well, nothing like leading with a non sequitur. No idea what that's supposed to have to do with the topic.

So a small committee of people, at one time and in one place (California), determine for themselves and their state what they believe learning entails, and you accept it without question 21 years later, for all 50 states, or the whole world? Do you also assume that the entire scientific community in the other 49 states or the rest of the world accept it without question?

It's a policy statement adopted by a state board of education. By professional educators with degrees in education, which would mean that they should have been up-to-date on what the profession considers education and its means and goals should be. We should have no reason to expect all members of the board to have only been educated in California and, what with accredidation standards, there shouldn't be much reason to expect California to be that much different from the rest of the nation.

Of course, if you know of other states with radically different policy statements than was quoted, such as expressing the need for strict indoctrination and ensuring that the students end up holding specific beliefs, then do please cite those policy statements and provide quotes from them to that effect, plus links for us to be able to go directly to the source and verify them for ourselves.

Otherwise, that makes your second non sequitur in one message.

Is everyone supposed to accept this paragraph without question?

And there's a third non sequitur!

The purpose of an educational framework is to define at the state level what they plan the curricula to be for teaching these subjects in the different grade levels.

“Teaching about something does not constitute advancing it as truth”? Really? Students are supposed to understand that as they’re taught math, history etc, that it may not actually be true, but they have to learn it anyway? That’s what education is – to learn things that may be false?

quote:
Education does not compel belief; it seeks to encourage understanding. Nothing in science, or in any other field, should be taught dogmatically. But teaching about something does not constitute advancing it as truth.

As they teach the history of the development of ideas in science, they do indeed teach about old ideas that are no longer accepted, such as Lamarckian evolution, spontaneous generation, antiquated ideas about the nature of heat and of electricity, social Darwinism, the Divine Right of Kings, flat earth, etc. The goal is for the students to understand those ideas, but not to accept them as true. In the middle of the Cold War, USAF Communications Command NCO Leadership School taught us Communism. Do you expect that they wanted us to accept and believe in Communism? Or that they wanted us to understand something about the enemy? In comparative religions class, we learned about several different religions. Do you really expect that the students should have been required to accept and believe in all those religions?

Now, may I interpret your response as agreeing with my assessment that to Christians of the various stripes that embrace "creation science" view education as requiring the indoctrination of the students to adopt specific beliefs? And that that is quite different from the public school view of education as expressed in official state board of education frameworks and policy statements.

I'll take that as a "yes".


This message is a reply to:
 Message 50 by marc9000, posted 08-14-2011 6:53 PM marc9000 has not yet responded

dwise1
Member
Posts: 4047
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 132 of 182 (629250)
08-16-2011 4:00 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by IamJoseph
08-15-2011 5:37 AM


None of that had anything at all to do with the topic.

Simple question: Among those Christian groups that would embrace "creation science", commonly called "fundamentalists" though that term properly applied is too narrow, is the purpose of education to compel the students to adopt certain beliefs?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 54 by IamJoseph, posted 08-15-2011 5:37 AM IamJoseph has not yet responded

Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2020