August 23rd, 2005

The Power of Faith

In an editorial observer in today’s Times, Verlyn Klinkenborg asserts (rather than argues) that creationists are simply dumb. Of the 2004 poll showing that 45% of Americans believe that the Earth’s creation proceeded according to the description in the book of Genesis, he writes, “This isn’t a triumph of faith. It’s a failure of education.”

The implication is that with a little more schooling, creationists will turn the corner and embrace evolution.

Unfortunately, most will not, for Klinkenborg underestimates the power of faith.

Moreover, the real failure of education here is Klinkenborg’s attribution of ignorance to creationists. For instance, my conservative Christian friends not uninformed; they understand evolution, but reject it. Why? Simply put, because they’re ideologues, and, like all ideologues, no amount of textbooks, lectures or secular conversations will change their core values.

Footnote: For a brilliant analysis of “intelligent design,” read William Saletan’s essay, “Unintelligible Redesign.”

Addendum (9/4/2005): Another excellent article on I.D.: Daniel C. Dennett’s “Show Me the Science.”

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