Sadly, No! throws an offhanded dig at Mark Noonan’s description of the “Kingdom of God” as a state of existence. While Noonan eventually does come out in favor of democracy, you’ll note that it’s only because you can’t guarantee you’ll get a competent and benevolent dictator (one who only oppresses The Other) not because the idea of being ruled by fiat—being forcibly infantilized for life—is simply repugnant on it’s face.
The post reminded me of a discussion I had a while ago, about Intelligent Design. During the discussion, I had mentioned a story I had read online about the emphasis of certain stories (whether grounded in science or not) over others in education. I was, regrettably, unable to properly explain myself the person in question, mainly because I was spending more time attempting to recall the story than explaining what it meant. With today’s renewed search I found it, and I’m blogging a huge excerpt so I don’t lose it again:
You see, Cap was a scientist, after all. That said, I felt I just had to ask a few things commonly held to be true amongst American Christians which seem to be completely at odds with science. You know the list. The two big ones are “how old is the world?” and “so what about evolution?”
He didn’t answer me philosophically. He answered me politically, and it shocked me how right he was in his observation.
In his thick brogue, he gently answers about evolution, “Out of curiosity, then son, do you know what the Soviets taught their children regarding the origins of species of the world?”
“Well, certainly they didn’t teach creationism,” I answered. I didn’t know the answer, but I figure Godless commies don’t do creationism, right? I assumed evolution.
He looks at me and says, “Lamarck. You remember that one from biology class, don’t you?”
“Lamarck? Isn’t that the theory that said giraffes stretched their necks their whole lives trying to get at food in the trees and their bodies responded by creating children with longer necks?” I was proud of myself for remembering the theory. It was one that we were taught was primitive, disproven, and taught solely to show us predecessors to modern theory. “I mean, the Soviets were supposed to be all about science, why would they teach Lamarck?”
“Well, for one, it doesn’t really matter where schoolchildren think they came from, does it? I mean, factory workers and clerks and farmers and mechanics — does it really matter one way or the other for the vast majority of folks if they think they came from fish or from God or whatever?”
“I suppose not, but that doesn’t explain why they would knowingly teach something known to be false science.”
“No. It doesn’t. But that’s because it wasn’t science they were teaching. Think about it. In a Lamarkian worldview, all the cells of the body are striving for a single goal which will only be realized by the next generation. All the cells of the body working together as a collective for a better future in which they may not even participate. They taught Lamarck not because it was scientific or true — they taught Lamarck because it made good little commies.”
I felt relieved for a moment that I wasn’t in a totalitarian state that valued faith to the state over truth. Unfortunately, Cap kept talking.
“And what type of a society do you suppose schoolchildren taught Darwin would create, lad? One where the best, the fittest, the strongest, the fastest luxuriate in the spoils of their victory at the expense of the ones they vanquished along the way? What is to be said of the losers? They were weak, weren’t they? They didn’t fight hard enough. They were stupid. If that’s the world you want, you’ve got to teach the kids right, don’t you?”
Sure, I knew about the popularity of Social Darwinism amongst the Gilded Age thinkers. It never occurred to me that we never really left that time. More importantly, for the first time it occurred to me that whether or not something is true doesn’t determine if it is taught. There are plenty of true things that we don’t spend time on in the class room. Why so much emphasis on some true things instead of others? Because they confirm our worldview. It’s not a conspiracy or anything. It’s just that we teach what we value.
So that brings us full circle to the world of Evangelicals. Commies taught their kids Lamarck because they valued collectivism; even after they knew that the theory was faulted. Capitalists teach Darwin; even after the statistical success of anti-Darwinian programs like Social Security and the Interstate Highway system. What type of person — what type of a worldview values creationism?
What is to be said of creationism and values? I mean, beyond just the “it’s what’s in Bible” stuff. What worldview does it espouse?
Things are as they are and always will be as they are because God made it that way and wills to keep it that way.
I’m here where I am in this place and this position in life because this is how I was made by God. I was divinely willed to push this broom, so I have to learn to deal with it. Whining is for the faithless.
Humans aren’t powerful enough to harm the environment.
It doesn’t matter how much this world sucks.
The wealthy and powerful are where they are because God wants them there. George W is president because God wants him to be so.
Creationism is the value system of the monarchists, is it not?
Brad from Baltimore, writing to Joe Bageant in “Yes, I’m an Urban Liberal“