If you’re looking for an explanation for why creationism is rife in America, don’t ask religious scientists. Their answers tend to be evasive and weird and unbelievable.
For example, Ken Miller claims it is due to the American virtues of rebelliousness and disrespect, and has nothing at all to do with religion. No, not one thing. All the blame for creationism lies on…those awful New Atheists. Then there’s the paleontologist Robert Bakker, who similarly misplaces the blame.
We dino-scientists have a great responsibility: our subject matter attracts kids better than any other, except rocket-science. What’s the greatest enemy of science education in the U.S.?
No way. It’s the loud, strident, elitist anti-creationists. The likes of Richard Dawkins and his colleagues.
Bizarre, isn’t it? Yet this is more or less the position taken by the NCSE, NAS, the AAAS, and most museums, which seem to bend over backwards to avoid offending religious sensibilities of any kind.
At last, though, somebody speaks the plain truth: Jerry Coyne has published a paper in Evolution, “Science, religion, and society: the problem of evolution in America“, that correctly answers the question about why Americans hate evolution.
The answer seems pretty clear: religion (I define it as “those systems of belief that accept and worship the existence of supernatural beings whose actions affect the universe”). Religion is an answer that many people don’t want to hear, but there is much evidence that America’s resistance to evolution is truly a byproduct of America’s extreme religiosity (I use “religiosity” in the first sense given by the Oxford English Dictionary, as “religiousness; religious feeling or belief”). Evolution, of course, contravenes many common religious beliefs—not just those involving Biblical literalism, but those involved with morality, meaning, and human significance.
To argue any other way is madness. Creationism is an entirely religious concept that denies science, and to throw it on the shoulders of atheism is absurd to an incredible degree. I’ve been asked to write a paper for a different journal that discusses the fallacious reasoning of scientists who argue for the compatibility of science and religion — we’re going to have a fun time in the scientific community finally paying attention to the obvious on this issue.