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Bringing Creationism to Heel Requires Making America Less Socially Darwinistic

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Message Gregory Paul
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Until the mid 1800s science had seemed to verify the existence of a creator by revealing his work through the intricate wonder of nature Ś Paley's natural theology with the proverbial watch on the beach. After Darwin's research went public the great majority of the scientific community abandoned the concept of an intelligent designer in favor of natural causes. As well documented as atomic theory and germ theory, evolutionary science has long been a core component of sophisticated biological research and application, and in most first world democracies, up to eight in ten, accept human descent from animals. But Europeans, Canadians, Australians and Japanese and not consistently better educated than are Americans, nor is their general knowledge of science always better. Creationists -- from the likes of fundamentalist Ken Ham whose Creation Museum shows humans riding dinosaurs Flintstones style, to the intelligent design Discovery Institute whose researchers argue that only God could contrive diseases sophisticated enough to kill humans -- are better skilled at communicating with their theocon base than are scientists, but there is no evidence that European scientists are more PR savvy than their American counterparts.

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In their effort to convince the masses that evolution is an ungodly deception creationists have resorted not only to Biblical theology and their version of science. They have also made the socioeconomic argument that societies that fail to believe in a moral creator are doomed to suffer societal chaos. This is the theme of leading creationist proponents such as Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberalism that blames just about everything that has gone wrong on the evolutionists, and Ben Stein's film Expelled that does the same thing. The creationists happen to be right in that the social and especially economic conditions found within a country certainly do play the critical role in how popular or not is creationism. Where the creationists could not be more wrong is in their delusion that creationism helps improve the national condition.

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This is where advanced demographic science comes in. In recent years I and other researchers have used sociological analysis to discover the real reason why levels of creationist belief vary so much in the advanced democracies. The investigation starts with the fact that in first world countries the level of proevolution sentiment tracks closely with the level of religiosity as measured by rates of belief and practice versus atheism. This makes sense -- in nations where only a minority thinks there is a God even fewer are going to believe in some form of creationism. It follows that the next question is what determines the degree of religious opinion, and that brings us to the fact that lower levels of religiosity and creationism are associated with lower levels of income disparity and poverty in the first world. The primary role played by socioeconomics in determining popular opinion on the existence of a creator is becoming a key paradigm of 21st century sociological research. It is the thesis of the now classic Sacred and Secular by Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart of a few years ago, Phil Zuckerman's A Society Without God describes the success of the European secular way, and I have brought the collective body of research together in a comprehensive synthesis detailing and documenting the inability of creator worship to thrive in well run nations in Evolutionary Psychology. The latter includes the Successful Societies Scale, the first comprehensive comparison of societal conditions in the advanced democracies (based on two dozen indicators, see, also and

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Gregory Paul is an independent researcher interested in informing the public about little known yet important aspects of the complex interactions between religion, secularism, culture, economics, politics and societal conditions. His scholarly work (more...)
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