I don’t subscribe to HBO, so I missed the new documentary on creationism, Questioning Darwin. I did manage to catch a few clips, like this one from Gawker. Hear creationists say what they really think!
Amanda Marcotte has a sound take on their position. It’s not stupidity driving these weird excuses, it’s fear.
By going back and forth between creationists and Darwin’s life story, the documentary crafts a compelling image of the conflict between two world views: That of curiosity and that of incuriosity/fear. I agree with the New York Times reviewer that the creationists are presented non-judgementally, but as these clips amassed by Gawker make clear, the creationists do all the work for you anyway. There’s a pastor explaining he would have to accept it if the Bible said “2+2=5″ and people talking, over and over again, about the strategies they have to employ to shut down their minds in the event that they’re presented with an opportunity to think more broadly. The major emotion that comes off them in waves is that of fear: Fear of asking questions, fear of the “world” (which is always talked about negatively), fear of difference, fear that thinking might lead them into dark places, fear that they really aren’t special that manifests in making up a God who loves you so you never have to go a moment without that feeling, fear that they will fall into the abyss without blind obedience to authority, and, of course, fear of death.
Listen to creationists or to most any sort of denialism and you can hear the fear driving their thoughts.
If the Bible said that 2+2=5 they would have to believe it. They fear the complexity of the world and ceate Cargo Cult worlds that bear little resemblance to reality.
It is not that denialists are stupid.But they have to disengage their System 2, higher reasoning processes to make their arguments.
Because, deep down, they are afraud that the Unvese was not just specificially for humanity and that we are not really that special.
And by doing this, they miss all the things that do make humanity special.