Clarifying Creationism: Five Common Myths

ArticleinHistory & Philosophy of the Life Sciences 33(1):129-39 · January 2011with17 Reads
Impact Factor: 0.21 · Source: PubMed
    • "Also the quotes of scientists used to promote creationism in Finland were often direct translations of the English original. This emphasizes the international nature of creationist claims as noted also by Numbers [15]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Creationism is a religiously motivated worldview in denial of biological evolution that has been very resistant to change. We performed a textual analysis by examining creationist and pro-evolutionary texts for aspects of "experiential thinking", a cognitive process different from scientific thought. We observed characteristics of experiential thinking as follows: testimonials (present in 100% of sampled creationist texts), such as quotations, were a major form of proof. Confirmation bias (100% of sampled texts) was represented by ignoring or dismissing information that would contradict the creationist hypothesis. Scientifically irrelevant or flawed information was re-interpreted as relevant for the falsification of evolution (75-90% of sampled texts). Evolutionary theory was associated to moral issues by demonizing scientists and linking evolutionary theory to atrocities (63-93% of sampled texts). Pro-evolutionary rebuttals of creationist claims also contained testimonials (93% of sampled texts) and referred to moral implications (80% of sampled texts) but displayed lower prevalences of stereotypical thinking (47% of sampled texts), confirmation bias (27% of sampled texts) and pseudodiagnostics (7% of sampled texts). The aspects of experiential thinking could also be interpreted as argumentative fallacies. Testimonials lead, for instance, to ad hominem and appeals to authorities. Confirmation bias and simplification of data give rise to hasty generalizations and false dilemmas. Moral issues lead to guilt by association and appeals to consequences. Experiential thinking and fallacies can contribute to false beliefs and the persistence of the claims. We propose that science educators would benefit from the systematic analysis of experiential thinking patterns and fallacies in creationist texts and pro-evolutionary rebuttals in order to concentrate on scientific misconceptions instead of the scientifically irrelevant aspects of the creationist-evolutionist debate.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · PLoS ONE
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of our article is threefold. First, we present and discuss the extant literature on creationism in Europe (the “facts”). Within this section, we offer a review of the literature as well as an overview of the most remarkable developments and events recorded therein. Second, we indicate which material is missing from the literature (the “gaps”) and signal which gaps we think should first be filled. Third, on the basis of a forthcoming international historical study, we outline the possible factors that affect the popularity of creationism in Europe (the “prospects”). We also sketch how a sustained study of European creationism can contribute to other research domains such as the study of cultural evolution and the relation between science and religion.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Journal of the American Academy of Religion
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current books on evolutionary theory all seem to take for granted the fact that students find evolution easy to understand when actually, from a psychological perspective, it is a rather counterintuitive idea. Evolutionary theory, like all scientific theories, is a means to understanding the natural world. Understanding Evolution is intended for undergraduate students in the life sciences, biology teachers or anyone wanting a basic introduction to evolutionary theory. Covering core concepts and the structure of evolutionary explanations, it clarifies both what evolution is about and why so many people find it difficult to grasp. The book provides an introduction to the major concepts and conceptual obstacles to understanding evolution, including the development of Darwin's theory, and a detailed presentation of the most important evolutionary concepts. Bridging the gap between the concepts and conceptual obstacles, Understanding Evolution presents evolutionary theory with a clarity and vision students will quickly appreciate.
    Full-text · Book · Jan 2014
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