Blinded by the Olympics and far enough away not to hear the noise many of us in the Antipodes will have missed the hue and cry in the United Kingdom over a creationist exhibit in the National Trust information cerntre for the Giant's Causeway. This prompts Andrew Brown to some interesting reflections.
Creationism isn't a kind of benevolent nonsense . . . It's malevolent, and it makes sense about society. It says that the bastards run the world, and they will lie and cheat and persecute to keep their power. Science is almost irrelevant in this context – certainly, no YEC can take seriously the idea that scientists are primarily motivated by the love of truth and so they cannot engage with science as it is actually practised. But it's not completely irrelevant. There is one myth of science that bears on creationist hatred. This is the claim that modern science shows that human beings don't matter. In one modern form, it says we don't even exist, that we're "vast lumbering robots built by genes" (Richard Dawkins) or "An animal infested with memes" (artificial intelligence philospher Daniel Dennett); in older forms it claimed that the individual was nothing compared to the race, or the species, or the universe as a whole.Brown is referring to Young Earth Creationism by the unfortunate shorthand of Creationism, but he correctly diagnoses the problem with a reductionistic materialism and our market economy. What Brown doesn't point us to is where outside science and the market we are supposed to get what we need. Rather than creationism it is the Incarnation and Resurrection which for Christians gives each human being their unique and priceless worth. It is God's identification with us in the person of Jesus Christ which reveals what it means to bear the image of God (as opposed to squirrels, etc), and it is the hope of the Resurrection that proves our worth beyond any perishable part of the cosmos or quantity thereof. Please stop buying creation science magazines and instead start worshipping Jesus, then you will know the answer to the satanic dehumanising narratives of 21st century modernity.
The claim that ordinary, powerless people don't matter at all is central to our contemporary market economies, too. It is not just assembly line workers who are treated as machines. Increasingly, all of us are, even in jobs that once seemed skilled or really difficult. . .
If we are to change it, we need reasons and explanations, not just wants. And we can't get the reasons and explanations that we need without reaching outside science, and outside the market.
To the extent that creationists, too, are trying to do that, we should sympathise. The trouble is that their answer involves erecting a whole other structure of lies, with which we should not compromise.