Conspiratorial concepts coalesce in creationism


I’ve mentioned kook magnetism before — the idea that people prone to accept one loony idea are likely to adopt other loony ideas. When we promote one brand of absurd nonsense, we’re opening the door to a whole asylum worth of batshit stupidity to follow. Here’s another example: creationism and QAnon, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

And all of this leads to the fact that – as PRRI polling reveals – 23% of white evangelical Protestants are QAnon believers (other polls have the numbers higher) and 20% of QAnon believers identify themselves as white evangelicals.

Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis (AiG) sit quite comfortably within the QAnon-loving camp. Not only have they established that to hold a “secular worldview” is to be a pedophile, but they opened Ark Encounter to right-wing conspiratorialist Trey Smith for the filming of The Coming Storm: A Donald J. Trump Documentary. The title of this nearly unwatchable video – the production values are non-existent, and the unwatchability is exacerbated by Smith’s determination to stick his face as close to the camera as possible – gives away the QAnon connection. So does Smith’s assertion that the Antichrist is present in contemporary culture, as evinced by Hollywood culture and the omnipresent ”witchy people” in the background. So does the fact that Smith – speaking just before the 2020 election – echoes QAnon predictions that God commanded that Trump would have two terms as president.

It is not surprising that young Earth creationists would find the QAnon conspiracy persuasive. The folks at AiG are the same folks who find the notion of climate change to be a hoax, as is the idea of the COVID pandemic (and thus, vaccination mandates are oppressive).

It’s conspiracy theories all the way down. Creationism itself is a conspiracy theory: it’s built on the bizarre idea that hundreds of thousands of scientists are all lying and trying to cover up the fact that a few paragraphs in a holy book are in fact the true and accurate and compleat history of the entire universe.

But let’s be fair. AiG unambiguously rejects the flat-earth BS, maybe QAnon is another bit of silly fluff they disavow. Let’s ask them!

AiG’s Bodie Hodge responded to Braterman’s argument in an AiG article, “Fact Checked: No Conspiracy Here (But a Lot of Fallacies There)”, in the process inventing some, well, nonstandard fallacies (e.g., “emotive language fallacy,” “insufficient evidence fallacy”). What is particularly interesting in Hodge’s lengthy and often tedious narrative is that he fails to make the obvious defense that young Earth creationism is nothing like the QAnon conspiracy. In fact, he has not one negative word to say about QAnon . . . just like his boss and father-in-law, Ken Ham. Pretty telling.

No negative word…in fact, no word at all. Ken Ham also commented on the accusation, and like his son-in-law, only brought up the “Q” word in citing the original article by Braterman, Why creationism bears all the hallmarks of a conspiracy theory, and rather than rebutting anything Braterman wrote, instead accuses scientists of being conspiracy theorists, going on and on about Haeckel’s embryos. But coming out and saying QAnon is wrong? Nope. No can do.

That might alienate those white evangelical Protestants who are their bread and butter.

They love their alliteration, with their Seven Cs of History. Go ahead, throw “conspiracy” in there. It fits perfectly. If they like that magic number of 7, I recommend replacing “Consummation,” which ain’t never gonna happen, with “Conspiracy,” which they embrace enthusiastically.

Comments

  1. ardipithecus says

    I guess god had to wait for English to be developed before he could execute his eternal plan, because I can’t find any c’s at all in Aramaic writing.

  2. robro says

    There’s an “opinion” piece in this months Scientific American by Asher Lawson and Hemant Kakkar from Duke University titled, “Personality Type, as well as Politics, Predicts Who Shares Fake News” in which they report on research about which personality types are likely to spread fake news. They focused specifically on one of the personality characteristics of five-tactor theory: conscientiousness, “which captures differences in people’s orderliness, impulse control, conventionality and reliability.”

    They did eight studies with over 4,600 subjects to determine whether “low-conscientiousness conservatives (LCCs) disseminate more misinformation than other conservatives or low-conscientiousness liberals.” They did assessments of the subjects to determine their political ideology and conscientiousness. Then they showed them real and fake news stories related to COVID and asked them to rate how accurate the stories were, and “whether they would consider sharing each story.”

    Their studies showed that both liberals and conservatives saw false stories as true, but on sharing, LCCs were significantly more likely to share a false story than liberals and conservatives who were not low-conscientiousness, and liberals who were low-conscientiousness.

    They then sought an explanation. “To explore this question, we gathered information about participants’ politics and personalities and administered questionnaires to assess their need for chaos—the desire to disrupt and destroy the existing political and social institutions—as well as their support of conservative issues, support for Donald Trump, trust in mainstream media and time spent on social media. LCCs, we learned, expressed a general desire for chaos, and this need may explain their proclivity to spread misinformation. Other factors, including support for Trump, were not as strongly related.”

    If you’re interested, here’s the link to the article, although it may be behind SA’s paywall.

  3. says

    kook magnetism may explain why an unproportionally large part of russian dezinformation comes from the antivax misinfo spreading sources.
    Either a lot of antivax was already a kremlin supported or antivax was targeted by kremlin to push its agenda or just antivax channels of spreading misinfo are more adept at spreading any news

  4. robert79 says

    “As of 2017, according to The Economist, white evangelicals overall account for about 17 percent of Americans” — Quick Google

    So it’s entirely unsurprising that 20% of QAnon believers are white evangelicals. This is what you would expect if wacky conspiracy beliefs are completely unrelated to wacky religious beliefs… so no, or fairly minor, kook magnetism here…

    Let’s get the statistics right, shall we?

  5. says

    This is why I regard Ken as “Dumb Idiot Ham.” He and his son-in-law are really dumb idiots! Hands down! Dumb Idiots no different than the lying buffoons of Faux News, the Fundie church leaders, and that Stupid Idiot and his clown army that invaded the Capitol building to do their circus performance from Hell on 1/6/21.

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