Creationism sub-thread

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Tyndmyr
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Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:42 pm UTC

Per long chat on humorous news, splitting it out here. I don't have the ability to copy over posts, but replying here so as to limit the amount that needs to be moved.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 16, 2015 3:43 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
The issue is not just that those folks "make things up". Plenty of folks make shit up. But the dude who really believes in aliens probably isn't going to force you through training in an attempt to alter your mind. Those sorts are mostly harmless cranks. The gay-curers and the young earth creationist folks are not this. They actively view children as weapons to be molded in service to a culture war.


That issue is tangential to creationism. As noted, my brother in law is rather quiet about the issue (which leads me to think that he's young earth creationist and just doesn't want to admit it to me). But my sister is probably going to raise him hell if her kids are to grow up young earth creationist.

I think we can agree that anti-intellectualism is harmful. But there are plenty of creationists who aren't in that camp.


It's not wholly tangental. Creationists and religious fundamentalists are essentially the same group. Atheistic creationists are not really a thing sort of by definition. I suppose you could have someone who believes we were created by aliens or something, but that's really not the same ball of wax at all, and it's not culturally significant.

Creationism, religious fundamentalism, and anti-gay beliefs are all pretty closely linked. Sure, anti-gay stuff, you *do* see outside of those groups, but the sort of folks that run camps dedicated to "curing" it are those people.

commodorejohn wrote:I love how teaching Wrong Thinking (particularly in a field that has literally no impact whatsoever on daily life unless you are a paleontologist) equals inflicting mental handicap equals abuse. That's definitely a sensible view of things and not ridiculous extremism.


It is not mere exposure to the idea that is damaging. It is the way in which it is taught, and the ends sought by doing so. It's certainly possible that other ideas could be taught in a similarly strange manner...but that seems fairly unlikely in practice. Creationism, however, is at it's core endorsed by folks that are fairly extreme. Yeah, they do try to mainstream it repeatedly, as a way to mainstream their religious beliefs...but at it's core, creationism is considered fundamental to, well, fundamentalist christianity(yes, other types of creationism exist, with regards to other religions, but in the US, it's all about christianity).

KnightExemplar wrote:
It is not merely failing to believe in evolution, though I feel safe saying that many a biologist would say that overlooking such basic concepts in education is unwise in itself, but in the training of an individual to believe falsehood, and to not be able to even be able to properly converse with the opposition. They go beyond mere anti-intellectualism to actively teaching folks to misunderstand what the opposition is saying.


That has not been my experience actually. Creationists have "trained responses" to "evolutionists", and I bet that most people will not be able to beat them at their own game on their own turf.


Trained responses to misdirect the conversation and circumvent discussion is exactly what I mean when I say they are being trained to be unable to properly converse.

KnightExemplar wrote:Sure, 90% of creationists aren't going to be making arguments like this... but your standard evolutionist on the street probably won't be able to tell you whether or not the carbon dating argument is bunk or not. At the end of the day, the arguments that make up evolution... on both sides... are filled with falsehoods. From Charles Darwin's original viewpoints of pangenesis, to misunderstandings of carbon dating... there is enough misinformation out there for a serious Creationist to attack.


They're not particularly equal, though. Sure, not everyone is wholly informed on every topic, and lower levels of education only give you a partial picture...that's true of nearly any topic. However, not every realm of knowledge has religiously motivated opposition, dedicated to opposing it on a grand scale. Sure, the average guy on the street may be merely misinformed, but if you look at the structure of the opposition, a pattern becomes clear. Where do all these pre-programmed arguments originate? Who's running the narrative?

And that's these few, tightly linked organizations who are not seeking the truth, but seeking instead to perpetuate falsehood. Let us take a look at the loyalty oath you gotta sign when you joining Answers in Genesis(similar statements exist for the others), which can be read in whole at https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/. Look in particular at "•By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record." Does that seem like a reasonable criteria for scientists?

Additional objectionable content can be found within there, including various anti-LGBT statements, which ties back in with the above stuff.

Whizbang wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote: From Charles Darwin's original viewpoints of pangenesis, to misunderstandings of carbon dating... there is enough misinformation out there for a serious Creationist to attack.


It is important to note that attacking misinformation about Evolution is not the same as attacking Evolution itself. "Evolutionists" should be more than happy if others attack misinformation.


Precisely. It's actually pretty normal to chat about recent discoveries and what not, and how this changes our understanding of evolution. Creationism is not that. When we speak of creationism in this manner, we are not talking of a diefic acceptance of evolution, but intended by god or some such. That's fine, and does not require discarding a wide body of knowledge. We're talking about Creationism as doctrine.

morriswalters wrote:Whatever Ben Carson or Creationists are or aren't, they don't get a pass because bad things happened to them or because they were fed information that is wrong by my lights. They have the capacity to know. And the capacity to find the data. My son has Downs and that is what it is. Ben Carson has several degrees, if he chooses to ignore what he has been taught then it is on him.


Sure. People can overcome many things. Mr Carson could, perhaps, overcome being filled with creationist nonsense. But, he hasn't. There is no need to give a pass. One can have sympathy for people subjected to such teaching, and also act against those who would spread this nonsense, even when they're the same folks.

gmalivuk wrote:But they didn't describe teaching wrong thinking as abuse, they described actual abusive actions. I don't know if they think those always or usually go hand-in-hand with teaching creationist bullshit, but even if they do, it's the actual abuse that counts as abuse, not the creationism.


The sort of ultra-fundamentalist religion that embraces creationism is that which embraces the Quiverfull doctrine. I'm not sure if you've heard of it, but basically, the logic is that we're in a culture war, and your children are to be used as weapons. Thus, you should have lots of them. You're a tool to spread belief, and if science happens to contradict those beliefs, then science is bad, and most also be attacked.

There is absolutely no use discussing creationism apart from religion. It does not exist as a belief apart from religion. When a religion embraces such a belief, describes it as utterly fundamental to their faith, and takes such steps to spread it, it *is* their religion. Intelligent Design has only ever been employed as a false front to further religious ends. When we observe this religious group promoting various evils, including through the very same institutions preaching Creationism, and themselves crediting belief with Creationism in supporting other "proper" beliefs, how can we not credit it with being harmful?

As a trivial example, the anti-LGBT thread that wends itself through the entire lot should be easy enough to describe as harmful. Do you think it mere coincidence that Creationist organizations happen to have such virulently anti-LGBT views, or is their a relationship there?

commodorejohn wrote:Of course you are, because it's the Others who are "dangerous" and not you. But you'd be singing a different tune if it were the Others talking about how you're the "dangerous" one, no doubt with some rationalization that makes just as much sense to their way of thinking as yours does to you. It's astonishing to me how few people understand this, when practically all of history has been a lesson in the various guises that line of thinking can take.


I grew up among the others. They did indeed preach about how dangerous the outside world was, pretty much all the time. This preaching, however, was incorrect. There was no LGBT agenda trying to make me gay. Most people genuinely give zero craps about religion in the US(or actively like the stuff), there isn't some active war on it, or a war on christmas.

Just because everyone is making allegations does not make all allegations equally plausible.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:38 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Just because everyone is making allegations does not make all allegations equally plausible.

No it doesn't. But it does make for an instructive comparison when you hear diametrically opposed people each talking about how the other guy's ideas are "dangerous." Because there's hardly a group out there that doesn't think its own beliefs are fundamentally rational and objectively correct, and plenty of them conclude that therefore anybody who disagrees with them is irrational and possibly "dangerous." And all of those people, from hardline fundamentalists to hardline atheists, when you point out that the other guy is saying the same thing about them, will respond with "yes, but I'm right!"
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby mathmannix » Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:47 pm UTC

Why is there so much hatred for creationism and creationists? Okay, I get it, you think creationism is a bunch of malarkey, and it doesn't fit with your personal non-theistic worldview. So we disagree. But this seems to go way beyond that, to saying that people are foolish or worse by choosing to believe in creation. Or that it's child abuse to teach your (or other peoples') children your worldview. I don't know if it's a case of association fallacy ("Hitler ate sugar") or ad hominem attack or something else.

I understand that creation science / "intelligent design" has been labeled as pseudoscience because it can't be backed up with testable hypotheses. I'm not trying to argue this, even if I automatically flinch at the term "pseudoscience" because of its fully-intended negative implication.

But there are many creationists who are scientists, and just because you believe in creation and/or God before anything else, as your fundamental axiom of the universe, doesn't mean you can't be a scientist. Or does it?
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 16, 2015 5:49 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Just because everyone is making allegations does not make all allegations equally plausible.

No it doesn't. But it does make for an instructive comparison when you hear diametrically opposed people each talking about how the other guy's ideas are "dangerous." Because there's hardly a group out there that doesn't think its own beliefs are fundamentally rational and objectively correct, and plenty of them conclude that therefore anybody who disagrees with them is irrational and possibly "dangerous." And all of those people, from hardline fundamentalists to hardline atheists, when you point out that the other guy is saying the same thing about them, will respond with "yes, but I'm right!"


Not everyone who disagrees with me is someone I see as dangerous. That's not the problem.

And yes, I suppose atheism does represent a risk to very religious folks. It's quite rational for them to dislike it, even if their belief is in error. The thing of it is, we're not sticking people in camps forcing them to be gay, but the reverse IS happening. Other differences exist as well, but, that whole "involuntarily sticking people in camps" is kind of a big deal.

If your ideology embraces harsh methodologies, then yes, it's a problem. We can accept different viewpoints without accepting the sort of viewpoint that demands to impose itself by force.

mathmannix wrote:But there are many creationists who are scientists, and just because you believe in creation and/or God before anything else, as your fundamental axiom of the universe, doesn't mean you can't be a scientist. Or does it?


When you start requiring pledges to prioritize religion over any scientific discovery, then yeah, you're kinda abandoning science.

You can believe in God and be a scientist, sure. There is a very significant demographic skew against it, but it's possible. However, if you've abandoned science as a means to find truth, you are indeed not really a scientist.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:00 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:If your ideology embraces harsh methodologies, then yes, it's a problem. We can accept different viewpoints without accepting the sort of viewpoint that demands to impose itself by force.

Again, you're treating one idea (creationism) as inseparably part and parcel of every negative thing you've heard of creationists doing, with no regard whatsoever for whether that's actually part of the doctrine or just one approach people take to it, whether it's commonly the case or just a certain fringe within the movement, or whether it even has anything to do with the idea itself at all (how, exactly, do gay-conversion camps have anything at all to do with creationism as an idea?) That's not an argument against the idea, that's an argument that "this idea is dangerous because I don't like the people I think are associated with it."
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Autolykos » Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:27 pm UTC

I think the matters become a lot clearer once we stop asking "Who is right?" and instead ask "Which system of beliefs is more failsafe?". Not only is the second question often easier to answer, it is also much more relevant in the long term.
If it turned out in ten years that the current scientific opinion is all wrong, no big deal. We have a debate about it, and once that's settled, we get it fixed and print new books. But history shows that attempts to settle disputes in important religious questions tend to be quite a bit more messy. Probably has something to do with regarding blind faith as a virtue and not a flaw, but what do I know?

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby KrytenKoro » Wed Sep 16, 2015 6:44 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If your ideology embraces harsh methodologies, then yes, it's a problem. We can accept different viewpoints without accepting the sort of viewpoint that demands to impose itself by force.

Again, you're treating one idea (creationism) as inseparably part and parcel of every negative thing you've heard of creationists doing, with no regard whatsoever for whether that's actually part of the doctrine or just one approach people take to it, whether it's commonly the case or just a certain fringe within the movement, or whether it even has anything to do with the idea itself at all (how, exactly, do gay-conversion camps have anything at all to do with creationism as an idea?) That's not an argument against the idea, that's an argument that "this idea is dangerous because I don't like the people I think are associated with it."

Tyndmyr and other editors have explained this several times.

The core method of teaching creationism, at least as practiced on Earth, requires cult-style conditioning -- teaching the initiate canned responses to avoid true, open discussion, creating self-reaffirming cycles of illogical arguments, teaching that being open to revising your worldview is unacceptable, and so on. It is very literally brainwashing, and for all your "we should tolerate intolerance!", you've failed to demonstrate that Creationism even can be taught without indoctrination, much less that it is. Constantly asserting that Tyndmyr and others are just "associating" a broken system of logic with Creationism, when it is a fundamental part of how it propagates and they have provided evidence of this, is engaging in denial, and you're relying on a particularly blatant false equivalence despite many other posters pointing out how the situations are not equivalent at all.

Demonstrate that it is actually possible to teach Creationism without the exact features that Tyndmyr and others are saying makes it "dangerous", before regurgitating the same line again.

But there are many creationists who are scientists, and just because you believe in creation and/or God before anything else, as your fundamental axiom of the universe, doesn't mean you can't be a scientist. Or does it?

Like Tyndmyr said, if your core belief is that the scientific process is not reliable and should not be trusted if it requires you to reevaluate any preconceived notions (which is essentially the purpose of the scientific process, meaning you simply don't trust science), then no you can't be considered a scientist.

You can't choose to denigrate the fundamental principles of something and then still try to claim the honor society gives that thing. Anton LeVay doesn't get to say that he can worship Satan and still be a Pope, Trump doesn't get to call himself a free-market capitalist, etc.

...

Personally, I believe in God but I don't see how a Creationist could. If you believe the Bible is literally correct, you're immediately forced to believe the idea that it can be majorly misunderstood or mistranslated -- a major part of Jesus's ministry (you know, that one guy in the Bible with the sandals and the fishing obsession, you might have heard of him) was how it was totally possible for an entire society to entirely misconstrue major parts of God's Word. Biblical literalism, because of this...is kind of fundamentally self-contradictory, even without getting into "mustard seeds aren't really the smallest!" pedantry. You want to believe God's Word? God's Word created the universe. God's Word created nature and everything in it. You want to believe God's Word, then don't be claiming that the things it created are specifically designed and arranged to lie to us and mislead us about how they work. Claiming that science is bunk (not, "currently incomplete and inaccurate", but "fundamentally lies"), that fossils and geochronology are just tricks, is calling God a cheat, a con artist, a phony, a deceiver, a falsifier, a misleader, a trickster, a false witness, a damned Prince of Lies.

I don't think He'd like that.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Cradarc » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:10 pm UTC

How do people go about teaching creationism? As far as I know, only Genesis 1 talks about the world being created. There's only so much you can milk out of that before it becomes "some person thinks this happened".

People who think creationism should replace science clearly has no idea what science is ultimately about. Creationism is a philosophical answer to where we came from, but offers no tools to predict and model our world as we know it. Science and creationism are not contradictory if you keep them in their separate scopes. That being said, kids who are taught creationism (whatever that means) do not have to be anti-science. Kids who are taught to be anti-science are the ones who grow up to be anti-science.
I assume all the animosity towards Creationists are actually disdain for anti-science attitudes. In that case, why don't we just lump all the anti-science people together instead of singling out those who are anti-science for religious reasons?

Nobody in the xkcd demographic would disagree with "Anti-science mentality is harmful to intellectual development". Some interesting questions would be:
How do we reach out to those that vehemently distrust science?
How do we show people that science is not about imposing opinions, but about the process of continually learning and refining how we predict and interact with the universe?
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:18 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:Demonstrate that it is actually possible to teach Creationism without the exact features that Tyndmyr and others are saying makes it "dangerous", before regurgitating the same line again.
Dangerous to who? Either convert them or forget them. But in no case would I accept a suggestion that we should treat them like broken toys and try to fix them. Stupid ideas will always have appeal to someone. Suggesting that a Creationist is damaged in some fashion denies the basic idea of choice. And everyone is indoctrinated in some fashion. That they may wish to out breed you to pass on what they believe in is nothing new. It is practiced, and has been practiced, by many nation states in the last two centuries. And both Russia and China operated re education regimes to fix unpopular thinking. Is that a goal you wish to shoot for?

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:34 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:If your ideology embraces harsh methodologies, then yes, it's a problem. We can accept different viewpoints without accepting the sort of viewpoint that demands to impose itself by force.

Again, you're treating one idea (creationism) as inseparably part and parcel of every negative thing you've heard of creationists doing, with no regard whatsoever for whether that's actually part of the doctrine or just one approach people take to it, whether it's commonly the case or just a certain fringe within the movement, or whether it even has anything to do with the idea itself at all (how, exactly, do gay-conversion camps have anything at all to do with creationism as an idea?) That's not an argument against the idea, that's an argument that "this idea is dangerous because I don't like the people I think are associated with it."


Look, they've created a helpful visual aid so you can understand how this all works!
Spoiler:
Image


The above image isn't particularly new, you can find it updated in various forms with different sets of things, if you wish.

The important bit is, creationist organizations themselves view Creationism as the essential foundation of Christianity, and as inherently opposed to evolution(which they mostly view as the foundation of an alternate competing religion).

It isn't ME inventing the idea of creationism as being part and parcel. It's straight from their mouths.

As for how gay conversion camps have anything to do with creationism, I suggest you visit one of them, and try to find a single person on staff who will cop to believing in evolution, or who isn't highly religious. Good luck.

KrytenKoro wrote:You can't choose to denigrate the fundamental principles of something and then still try to claim the honor society gives that thing. Anton LeVay doesn't get to say that he can worship Satan and still be a Pope, Trump doesn't get to call himself a free-market capitalist, etc.


Precisely. You can't simply redefine commonly understood things solely for your benefit. Claiming the title without acting likewise is garden variety hypocrisy. Claiming the title while actively working against the thing is...more of an intentional deception. It's a much more motivated deception.

Cradarc wrote:How do people go about teaching creationism? As far as I know, only Genesis 1 talks about the world being created. There's only so much you can milk out of that before it becomes "some person thinks this happened".


Right. There's not really a lot of testing of creationism. Nor is there a ton of direct biblical text to draw from. So, you focus on the enemy. You teach his "ideas" in a twisted form, and teach pre-conceived answers to them. It's essentially ritual. He says this, you say that.

Occasionally, you get other interesting ideas bound up in there. It's pretty common for such folks to believe in dinosaurs living side by side with humans, for instance. I mean, if you're going with a strict biblical interpretation on a literal level, that does kind of follow. If humans existed since god churned 'em out, then they almost certainly existed alongside...just about everything at one point or another. So, a lot of effort goes into trying to find evidence for that, and attack all evidence to the contrary. It's pursued with a fervor that makes climate deniers look positively lackidasical.

morriswalters wrote:
KrytenKoro wrote:Demonstrate that it is actually possible to teach Creationism without the exact features that Tyndmyr and others are saying makes it "dangerous", before regurgitating the same line again.
Dangerous to who? Either convert them or forget them. But in no case would I accept a suggestion that we should treat them like broken toys and try to fix them. Stupid ideas will always have appeal to someone. Suggesting that a Creationist is damaged in some fashion denies the basic idea of choice. And everyone is indoctrinated in some fashion. That they may wish to out breed you to pass on what they believe in is nothing new. It is practiced, and has been practiced, by many nation states in the last two centuries. And both Russia and China operated re education regimes to fix unpopular thinking. Is that a goal you wish to shoot for?


Uh...we can fix people without resorting to forcible re-education camps. Nobody has suggested we pursue such a thing, so it's kind of a straw man.

Yes, the whole ball of creationism is bad. And yes, we should educate people who are uneducated, and help people who have been damaged. This does not usually require force. Usually, simple awareness is a decent first step. It's becoming clear to me that we're further behind in this than I realized.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:47 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The important bit is, creationist organizations themselves view Creationism as the essential foundation of Christianity, and as inherently opposed to evolution(which they mostly view as the foundation of an alternate competing religion).

It isn't ME inventing the idea of creationism as being part and parcel. It's straight from their mouths.

The fact that they view that belief as essential to their theology has fuck-all to do with the question of whether it's inherently linked to the behaviors you're associating with it.

As for how gay conversion camps have anything to do with creationism, I suggest you visit one of them, and try to find a single person on staff who will cop to believing in evolution, or who isn't highly religious. Good luck.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:52 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:That isn't how set theory works and you goddamn know it.
Who said anything about set theory? If gay conversion camps are run entirely by creationists, but the general population is not made entirely of creationists, then there's some kind of connection.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:55 pm UTC

You have ridiculously strong links between the three elements of fundamentalist christianity, creationism, and anti-LGBT issues.

They, themselves, tie these beliefs together. Creationism justifies their religion, with which they justify their anti-LGBT beliefs and actions. What alternative theory do you propose? Random chance? Some other connection? Would you care to name such an option?

Or can it be that you not believe that belief and action are connected? That the preaching of hatred as doctrine is unconnected to the acts of hatred against the same "enemy" that they then do?

Edit: Strictly speaking, "intolerance" might be a better term than hatred. It's a fine point, though, and I don't feel particularly fussed about leaving the original word there.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:57 pm UTC

It may be that all employees of gay conversion camps are creationists (although that hasn't actually been established beyond the level of "well, I assume that...") That does not mean that all creationists are in favor of gay conversion camps (beyond the level of "well, I assume that...") And it certainly doesn't inextricably link the ideas themselves. This is basic junior-high-level critical-thinking shit here.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:03 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:It may be that all employees of gay conversion camps are creationists (although that hasn't actually been established beyond the level of "well, I assume that...") That does not mean that all creationists are in favor of gay conversion camps (beyond the level of "well, I assume that...") And it certainly doesn't inextricably link the ideas themselves. This is basic junior-high-level critical-thinking shit here.


Uh, you don't have to have a 100% bad outcome ratio to make something dangerous.

And they explicitly teach the ideas as linked. So....

Edit: Also, if you'd like a stronger link, creationism pretty directly requires a creator. So, that links you into religion, at minimum. Not really much in the way of atheist creationists by definition. You'd need to believe a pretty contradictory set of facts. And, their particular religion happens to be cited directly as their reasoning for generally being anti-LGBT. Now, maybe that's a lie, but...if it is, then you have to explain why those religious sorts happen to be significantly more likely to be overtly anti-LGBT than the general populace. There's a direct connection there, and it's increasingly strong as you get to fundamentalist sorts, the kind of folks who embrace creationism. Sure, other causes for anti-LGBT behaviors exist, but...just because other causes for lung cancer exist doesn't mean you should ignore smoking.
Last edited by Tyndmyr on Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:16 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Uh, you don't have to have a 100% bad outcome ratio to make something dangerous.

No, but you have to actually be able to demonstrate that it's the thing you're saying is "dangerous" that leads to the bad outcome, and not some other thing entirely.

And they explicitly teach the ideas as linked. So....

Even taking this as a given, that does not make them correct. Ideas are distinct, defined things, not subject to the whim of some undetermined subset of their adherents.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:22 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:You have ridiculously strong links between the three elements of fundamentalist christianity, creationism, and anti-LGBT issues.
You have a local bias. Are Russians fundamentalist? Are Catholics? Catholics dwarf Evangelical Christians, and they are not LGBT friendly, despite the Popes overtures. And how you formulate the questions changes the results when you talk to people about these issues. I think Creationists or Evangelicals are misguided, but they have a lot of fellow travelers in the general population that believe quietly, and lie when you ask them.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby KrytenKoro » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:36 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
KrytenKoro wrote:Demonstrate that it is actually possible to teach Creationism without the exact features that Tyndmyr and others are saying makes it "dangerous", before regurgitating the same line again.
Dangerous to who? Either convert them or forget them. But in no case would I accept a suggestion that we should treat them like broken toys and try to fix them. Stupid ideas will always have appeal to someone. Suggesting that a Creationist is damaged in some fashion denies the basic idea of choice. And everyone is indoctrinated in some fashion. That they may wish to out breed you to pass on what they believe in is nothing new. It is practiced, and has been practiced, by many nation states in the last two centuries. And both Russia and China operated re education regimes to fix unpopular thinking. Is that a goal you wish to shoot for?

There is a wide margin between recognizing (and accounting for) the fact that a certain method of indoctrination fundamentally damages how someone can contribute to the quest for knowledge, and reeducation camps.

I'm not suggesting mandatory "fixes" of people. I am suggesting that we don't spread the false idea that teaching someone to think in the creationist mindset is totally harmless and can't possibly have any negative effects, like letting them eat chocolate on Christmas.

It may be that all employees of gay conversion camps are creationists (although that hasn't actually been established beyond the level of "well, I assume that...") That does not mean that all creationists are in favor of gay conversion camps (beyond the level of "well, I assume that...") And it certainly doesn't inextricably link the ideas themselves. This is basic junior-high-level critical-thinking shit here.

It would, at the absolute least, make it explicit that creationism provides a more conducive seedbed for that level of homophobia, though. You're hitting the "Not All" liquor pretty hard, here. It's a red herring.

That they prominently advertise to their audience and peers that the ideas are linked (i.e. Neo-creationism), and the groups who originated each platform engage in the homophobics as part of their campaigning...well, it's pretty indefensible.

Science and creationism are not contradictory if you keep them in their separate scopes.

It's very possible to believe that the universe was created by an admittedly very whimsical entity who chose to employ natural selection as his tool, but the creationism we've been discussing includes specific contradictions to science, i.e. the idea that Adam and Eve were "genetically pure", and a whole host of misunderstandings of genetics.

Even taking this as a given, that does not make them correct. Ideas are distinct, defined things, not subject to the whim of some undetermined subset of their adherents.


You're DA-ing pretty gotdamn hard here. Tyndmyr has already illustrated how Creationism provides a hotbed for the other issues, and your response has been a continual "these are two things, so how can we possibly know that one leads to the other?"

Well, people have explained to you how one leads to the other. They've demonstrated that there is very high correlation between one and the other. They've done everything short of personally running a double blind experiment to demonstrate the mechanism. Stop being solipsistic and contribute something worthwhile to the discussion.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Whizbang » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:41 pm UTC

I know that the conversation has moved on from this, but I wanted to respond to this and it took a while to get the time to compose.

mathmannix wrote:Why is there so much hatred for creationism and creationists? Okay, I get it, you think creationism is a bunch of malarkey, and it doesn't fit with your personal non-theistic worldview. So we disagree. But this seems to go way beyond that, to saying that people are foolish or worse by choosing to believe in creation. Or that it's child abuse to teach your (or other peoples') children your worldview. I don't know if it's a case of association fallacy ("Hitler ate sugar") or ad hominem attack or something else.


The reasons for anti-creationism(or anti-religion even) are many.

  • People vote. People buy and sell goods and services. People share ideas and information. As such, your beliefs impact the world around you. Your beliefs are not in a bubble where you can say, "I believe what I believe, you believe what you believe, and that will be that." Your beliefs inform your decisions and actions, which then influence the wider world.
    • If you get enough of the same belief together, then that influence grows significantly, to the point of setting policy and laws. This is especially so when beliefs are handed out from the pulpit and people then blindly vote and/or influence others.
    • If your beliefs lead you, like some sects, to refuse necessary medical care for your child, then those beliefs need to be challenged. Likewise, if your beliefs lead you to attack and humiliate people who use or work at women's clinics, then your beliefs need to be challenged.
    • All forms of religious inspired violence and terrorism.
    • Treatment of LGBTQ people
    • And so on and so on
  • Proselytizing: It would be one thing if you held your beliefs and I held mine and it was left at that, even considering the above, but religion only lives through indoctrination and conversion. You(plural) actively seek to change the beliefs of others. This must be challenged. See above for reasons.
  • Violence and hate toward people of other beliefs (even including, and maybe especially toward, people of non-belief). Part of this could be placed under religious violence above, but I am specifically referencing things like disowning your children for labeling themselves atheist (or firing employees, or just generally calling atheists evil and amoral monster baby killers and such). This can also be addressed to apostate killings and whatnot, though here we are talking of fundamentalists of different sorts.
  • Suppression of investigation and reason: See all of European history since the fall of Rome. You may claim that Christianity somehow created or inspired the scientific method and the enlightenment, but that is false[citation needed]. Those things came about in spite of, not because of, Christianity. Even today religious lobby groups work tirelessly to White Wash history and eliminate scientific thinking and education. (Creation Science is not Science)
  • And so on and so on and so on

In short it boils down to this: It is better to believe true things than to believe false things. In an effort to increase the former and decrease the latter, scientific thinking has been shown to be the most useful. This means not accepting claims without supporting and convincing evidence. This means not swallowing whole 2,000+ year old religious stories. Further, much of Atheist Activism is in response to religious people's actions or declared intentions. If religious people weren't so hell-bent to change the world to fit their ideals, then Atheist Activism wouldn't be a thing.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:50 pm UTC

KrytenKoro wrote:It would, at the absolute least, make it explicit that creationism provides a more conducive seedbed for that level of homophobia, though.

All it indicates is that people who have a tendency toward being involved with gay-conversion camps also have a tendency to favor creationism. It indicates nothing whatsoever about any kind of causal link between the two, no matter how hard you want it to, and it is absolutely trivial to conjecture possible root causes for the simultaneous exhibition of these tendencies in some people that do not involve a causal link.

That they prominently advertise to their audience and peers that the ideas are linked (i.e. Neo-creationism), and the groups who originated each platform engage in the homophobics as part of their campaigning...well, it's pretty indefensible.

You're DA-ing pretty gotdamn hard here. Tyndmyr has already illustrated how Creationism provides a hotbed for the other issues,

He has illustrated nothing of the sort, except by blind insistence and the proposition that, because some undetermined subset of creationists claim these ideas are linked, they must therefore be linked, which is exactly not how that works at all. If we followed that logic, creationists could just as easily argue that, because various groups of racists have claimed evolution as evidence that their race is superior, evolution is inextricably linked to racism.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Quercus » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:07 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:But there are many creationists who are scientists, and just because you believe in creation and/or God before anything else, as your fundamental axiom of the universe, doesn't mean you can't be a scientist. Or does it?

I would say that it's very difficult to be a good scientist if you hold any faith-based narrative about the world to be unassailable truth. The only way I can see it being possible is if you work on an area of science with which those beliefs do not interact in any way.

I say this because the whole point of science is to not hold anything about the world to be unassailable truth. The world-view of an ideal scientist is entirely supported by direct evidence of some nature, and how sure they are of each aspect of their views is related to the strength of evidence which supports it. Now, nobody actually manages to achieve that ideal, but the point is that that has to be what a scientist is aiming for. If someone says that some of their beliefs are absolutely not open to re-evaluation or change, then they have fundamentally abandoned science IMO, at least in the areas which relate to those beliefs. It is effectively impossible to do reliable science under those constraints.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:40 pm UTC

You can believe in God and (old) creation and still be a good scientist, I think, but you cannot be a good scientist if you believe in young-Earth creationism, with its flood geology and genetically perfect Adam and Eve and all the other explicitly antiscientific things it entails. Those things are antiscientific because in order to believe them, you have to believe in something contrary to all the evidence, and that necessarily makes you a shitty scientist.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Cradarc » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:45 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:You can believe in God and (old) creation and still be a good scientist, I think, but you cannot be a good scientist if you believe in young-Earth creationism, with its flood geology and genetically perfect Adam and Eve and all the other explicitly antiscientific things it entails. Those things are antiscientific because in order to believe them, you have to believe in something contrary to all the evidence, and that necessarily makes you a shitty scientist.

Shitty biologist/geologist/paleontologist/etc.

I can think of some fields where young-earth creationism won't get in the way. Of course that's assuming they don't let the same type of mentality spill into their field of research.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Sep 16, 2015 9:58 pm UTC

No, young-Earth creationists make shitty scientists in any field, because their creationism makes them shitty at thinking scientifically about the world, and you can't be a good scientist if you can't think scientifically.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Quercus » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:05 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:You can believe in God and (old) creation and still be a good scientist

I'd say that falls into my "beliefs do not interact" clause. I'd still say it might be hard to be a good cosmologist, depending on the specific nature of your beliefs.

gmalivuk wrote:No, young-Earth creationists make shitty scientists in any field, because their creationism makes them shitty at thinking scientifically about the world, and you can't be a good scientist if you can't think scientifically.

I'd agree with that in a general sense, but I think it underestimates how capable of compartmentalization and doublethink human beings are. I can well imagine a young-Earth creationist having a successful scientific career in a religiously uncontroversial field, say materials science. Now are they shitty scientists in the broad philosophical sense? Sure - because they don't apply scientific thinking to their factual beliefs as a whole, but in the narrow sense of having a successful career and making a significant contribution to their field of research - It's certainly not impossible.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby ObsessoMom » Wed Sep 16, 2015 11:22 pm UTC

Given the frequency with which anti-homosexual arguments cite Adam and Eve as the Creator's blueprint for all subsequent human love relationships, I don't think it's a stretch to say that Creationism leads directly to homophobia.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:50 am UTC

While I agree that young earth creationists make poor scientists, a part of me says, so what? What percentage of the overall population are scientists of any type? And people believe all types of screwy things, that ghosts are real, the CIA blew up the twin towers, and the moon landings didn't happen. And hundreds of other examples of various types of silliness of varying levels of hazard, including scientists.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Whizbang » Thu Sep 17, 2015 2:06 am UTC

They don't have to be scientists to prevent science education, funding, enact legislation to limit things like stem cell research or things like planned parenthood and so on. Even things like prevent or deny medical care in favor of useless prayer, and encouraging others to do so as well.

No, religious fundamentalism is far from harmless.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Cradarc » Thu Sep 17, 2015 2:54 am UTC

Whizbang, you're making the argument that a belief is harmful because it leads to behavior that goes against what you believe is morally good. I think we're drawing awfully close to the subject of another thread that wanted to ban religion.

Just to be clear, are we discussing the merits of promoting creationism in this thread? Because I think we all agree that there is virtually none. To have a real discussion, we will need to bring a "religious fundamentalist" into the conversation. I don't know about you, but I don't have any such acquaintances. I don't think it's right to put down a belief, especially a religious one, just for the sake of reaffirming one's (supposed) intellectual superiority.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Sep 17, 2015 3:23 am UTC

Whizbang wrote:They don't have to be scientists to prevent science education, funding, enact legislation to limit things like stem cell research or things like planned parenthood and so on. Even things like prevent or deny medical care in favor of useless prayer, and encouraging others to do so as well.

No, religious fundamentalism is far from harmless.
No, it isn't. But we have chosen as a society to be inclusive. To let everyone have a say. And this is a direct result of that decision. In the US the Founding Fathers may have been smarter than we are. They set conditions for voting for instance, I believe they restricted it to property owners. But no matter. In one man and one vote all the ways we have of doing it are corrections intended to balance the vagaries of us. Things like Creation Science will happen. Nazi's, Communists, Socialists, on and on ad nauseum. You can only stop it by making society less inclusive, which oddly enough is the goal of Evangelicals.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 17, 2015 3:34 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:Whizbang, you're making the argument that a belief is harmful because it leads to behavior that goes against what you believe is morally good. I think we're drawing awfully close to the subject of another thread that wanted to ban religion.

Just to be clear, are we discussing the merits of promoting creationism in this thread? Because I think we all agree that there is virtually none. To have a real discussion, we will need to bring a "religious fundamentalist" into the conversation. I don't know about you, but I don't have any such acquaintances. I don't think it's right to put down a belief, especially a religious one, just for the sake of reaffirming one's (supposed) intellectual superiority.
You really need to read the threads you're participating in, and try to have some familiarity with the other people participating in it.

There are religious fundamentalists, creationists, biblical literalists in this thread. That's why the discussion started in the first place.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby commodorejohn » Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:00 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:There are religious fundamentalists, creationists, biblical literalists in this thread. That's why the discussion started in the first place.

Eh? Unless I missed something, the opinions being expressed here relate solely to the idea of whether or not it's cool to label ideas as "dangerous" because you disagree with them and/or don't like the people you think are representative of their adherents.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Sep 17, 2015 7:50 am UTC

You make it sound like there could be no fact of the matter about whether an idea is actually dangerous or not.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Sep 17, 2015 8:39 am UTC

mathmannix wrote:Why is there so much hatred for creationism and creationists? Okay, I get it, you think creationism is a bunch of malarkey, and it doesn't fit with your personal non-theistic worldview. So we disagree. But this seems to go way beyond that, to saying that people are foolish or worse by choosing to believe in creation. Or that it's child abuse to teach your (or other peoples') children your worldview. I don't know if it's a case of association fallacy ("Hitler ate sugar") or ad hominem attack or something else.
I actually know and care very deeply for someone raised in a creationist household. While they still maintain a positive relationship with that household, I am fairly certain they would be comfortable describing the 'scientific' instruction they received as ultimately harmful to them -- academically, intellectually, and emotionally.

I do not believe that teaching children creationism constitutes child abuse. I do, however, think it's very similar to teaching them that Santa Claus is real. Imagine: You insulate them from all counter-evidence, inundate them with videos and textbooks dedicated to explaining away the contradictions ("How does Santa travel to every house in one night? Time-zones!"), and otherwise do everything you can to ensure that these children continue to believe in a magical man who delivers presents -- well into their adulthood and beyond. You do this with the hope that they will never abandon this belief; you hope they will teach it to their children, who will grow into believing adults who will teach it to theirs.

And while I don't think it's my place to tell parents what they should teach their children, there's something unsettling about parents who raise their children to believe in things like Santa Claus. It's even more unsettling when they raise them to never stop believing.

I realize you might take the comparison of creationism to Santa Claus as offensive; if that's the case, all I can do is point out that belief in a magical man who delivers presents all around the world seems a little less contrived than the belief that all bio-diversity was produced in a few days -- rather than billions of years.
mathmannix wrote:I understand that creation science / "intelligent design" has been labeled as pseudoscience because it can't be backed up with testable hypotheses. I'm not trying to argue this, even if I automatically flinch at the term "pseudoscience" because of its fully-intended negative implication.
I'll stop calling it pseudoscience when creationists stop calling it science.

You can't have it both ways; if you can't back it up with testable hypotheses, it's not science. End of discussion. I mean, that is the definition of science: Making (and testing) testable hypotheses. If you're not doing that, you're not doing science; if you claim you are doing science, you're actually doing pseudo-science.
mathmannix wrote:But there are many creationists who are scientists, and just because you believe in creation and/or God before anything else, as your fundamental axiom of the universe, doesn't mean you can't be a scientist. Or does it?
A mechanic doesn't need to understand how a car works to fix it; they just need to know what to do to make the car work again.

Of course, understanding how a car works will probably make you better at fixing cars -- and having completely wrong beliefs about how a car works will probably make you worse! And if you think parts of the car run on pure magic, those are parts of the car you will never understand. Another way to phrase this: Having magical beliefs about cars can make you less competent at fixing cars.

If you're a scientist -- and you believe bio-diversity happened by magic -- well, you can still do science! You just won't ever understand how bio-diversity came about -- and that might make you less competent at doing science.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby speising » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:34 am UTC

The thing is, believing in God, and believing in a literal interpretation of the bible, are two very different things.
There are many scientists who say they believe in God, but usually only as an intagible entity, an invisible "first cause", something that "gives meaning to it all".
This does not prevent them from evaluating any evidence about physical phenomena critically and objectively.

OTOH, if you believe in a being which made the whole world in 6 days, 4004BC, and mischievously planted all the evidence to the contrary, you have to turn your critical thinking capabilities off, and i can't believe there are a lot of successful (natural) scientists who can unite these conflicting points.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby Autolykos » Thu Sep 17, 2015 9:58 am UTC

I think the only reason one can still, with the current (lack of) evidence available, believe in god and be a half-decent scientist is that humans are scary good at compartmentalizing. This would, in theory, also allow for young-earth-creationists to do ok in some sciences (as long as they don't contain any biology, physics or geology). But there are probably limits to how much compartmentalization can do for you before you go stark raving mad. And you're likely a much better scientist if you don't have internal conflicts about what method to use when determining whether something is true. Going whole hog and applying the scientific method everywhere you can will likely help you in thinking more clearly, making more accurate predictions in fields you didn't study and preserving your sanity without closing your eyes to some evidence.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:43 am UTC

commodorejohn wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:There are religious fundamentalists, creationists, biblical literalists in this thread. That's why the discussion started in the first place.

Eh? Unless I missed something, the opinions being expressed here relate solely to the idea of whether or not it's cool to label ideas as "dangerous" because you disagree with them and/or don't like the people you think are representative of their adherents.
You missed many things.

For one thing, this thread is an offshoot from the other one, so the ideas being expressed here relate to earlier discussion, which would never have happened if it weren't for a biblical literalist talking about the imaginary genetics of Adam and Eve. (I mention that because Cradarc seemed to think the rest of us were inventing and arguing against a strawman position, as though no one here believed the nonsense being discussed and it was just some kind of purely intellectual exercise.)

For another, you're falling for that ridiculous notion that the only problem someone could have with a thing is by disagreeing with it.

Teaching creationism is objectively harmful because it objectively results in various types of harm. I disagree with it because of that, not the other way around.
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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby morriswalters » Thu Sep 17, 2015 12:54 pm UTC

Someone wrote:You make it sound like there could be no fact of the matter about whether an idea is actually dangerous or not.
Ideas are what they are. I once heard an argument where someone claimed that science doesn't have a conscience. So they developed a something called a thermonuclear explosive. Certainly that something is dangerous. I don't like it, and it couldn't have been built without physicists. Are physicists dangerous? And if they are, should we do something about it? Science itself has a belief system that says no idea should be forbidden. So they dig up influenza victims from one of the greatest pandemics we have experienced and then play with the virus that they find in the frozen corpses. And despite their claims that it can be done safely, we have labs all over the country mishandling materials like these and worse. Maybe we should label these scientists as dangerous.

I doubt that many people who believe in the Young Earth Creation Myth go into fields that challenge their belief systems. The small drips of the facts that they have to accept would break any conditioning over time.

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Re: Creationism sub-thread

Postby KrytenKoro » Thu Sep 17, 2015 2:13 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:He has illustrated nothing of the sort, except by blind insistence and the proposition that, because some undetermined subset of creationists claim these ideas are linked, they must therefore be linked, which is exactly not how that works at all.

He, and several other people, have provided links to the primary Creationist groups where they explicitly argue that "Evolutionism" is tied to stuff like the "gay agenda". I listed one of the groups (neocreationists) in the post you just freaking quoted.

"It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" is a well-known propaganda phrase that was even brought to Uganda by people like Scott Lively, and is straight-up a claim that "IF Creationism THEN Homophobia". A bulk of the religious arguments against homosexuality rely on the Genesis account and the assumption that, if that's how God arranged the first couple, that's the only acceptable way to be.
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