Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Russia Falls Victim to Creationist Whining

Here's one to make those of us in favor of logic and reason depressed: Russia is experiencing its first lawsuit to have creationism taught alongside evolution in science class:

The case revolves around 16-year-old Mariya Shraiber, who says her biology text presents a one-sided version of life's origins based on Darwin's theory and is dismissive of the view that God made man. The lawsuit challenges Darwin's theory as anti-religious, atheistic and unproven. It quotes the textbook as referring to biblical teachings as "legends" and calling it "stupidity" to assume that God created the world.

Anti-reglious? Maybe, but SO WHAT? I swear, Christianity is becoming a religion of whiners who see nothing inherently good about their religion other than the political clout it can give them. Christian creationism lacks the evidence necessary to allow it it to compete as a viable alternative in science classes. It lost that battle centuries ago when it failed to account for mounting evidence that life on this planet is billions of years old, that it changes through time, and that it goes extinct. I do not think the Russian textbook should be calling the idea that God created the world "stupid", if it in fact did - it is not the place for a science textbook to do so (it's a judgement call, not a verifiable scientific principle). However, calling biblical passages "legend" or "myth" is perfectly acceptable, particularly when it comes to addressing whether the bible provides any scientific foundation for the study of biology - it does no such thing.

Once again, those bringing the lawsuit set up the usual straw man argument about Darwin, Stalin and Hitler:

He, like the lawsuit, contends that Darwinism, while not a political ideology, stems from Marxist-Leninist ideology; after all, both Darwin and Karl Marx, who is said to have offered to dedicate Das Kapital to the scientist, wrote of grand struggles for survival.

Darwin stems from Marxist-Leninist ideology? I thought the usual argument is the other way around - that Marxist-Leninist ideology (or Hitler's fascism) stemmed from Darwin. This relationship has been debunked over and over again. The only way to make such a linkage is to 1) absolutely lie about Darwin and his ideas; 2) absolutely ignore the Christian backgrounds of both despots (as well as the Christian symbolism they used in their rise to power); and 3) absolutely forget about a very long Christian history of using ancestral texts to justify equivalent slaughter of fellow human beings because they weren't of the correct religious "type".

Here's another old wives tale that always makes me laugh: the Darwin-leads-to-lack-of-morality argument:

"If we want to have a high level of morality, not just in Russia but all over the world, we have to challenge Darwin's theory," Vuima said. "Darwin's theory kills morality. It denies the copyright of God."

You can believe that if you wish, but data show quite the opposite: red states don't do any better at promoting "Christian" values than blue states, and in fact probably do much worse. More to the point, it is difficult to see how the Bible can be a standard for morality when so much of it is actually violent and perverse. This is just more clear evidence to me that Bible-believing folks largely throw reason out the window and have to contantly create "facts" out of thin air to support the fantasy world they live in. Too bad Russia is falling victim to the religious plague upon freedom and democray that is currently sweeping the world.

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