So, I was going to write you a post about, I dunno, something. It would have been awesome, possibly even stunning or life-changing. But I stopped by Libby Anne’s whilst I was taking a break, and any ideas I had for a post went right out of my head, because you really need to read her post right now.
In it, she describes her evangelical creationist mother sending her granddaughter some books. And one of them was a “science” book for kids. You want to know how creationists manage to come across as credible to folks? You’re about to get an inside look:
Sally scanned the insert, reading about volcanos and magma and fault lines. “This all looks right, mom!” she told me, surprised. And that—that right there—is one of the most powerful tools young earth creationists use to win people over to their position. They include enough accurate scientific information that the bits that are wrong are generally surrounded by bits that are completely correct. It’s like putting a pill in chocolate pudding. And so I took the insert from Sally and showed her the points that were incorrect—namely, sentences that referenced the floods or geological timetables centered on the flood. By my count, there were only three incorrect sentences in the entire insert. The remainder of the insert covered standard scientific information.
Imagine a person who believes in God and the Bible but has been taught the theory of evolution. Then a friend who is a creationist shows them scientific books showing that actually, science reveals that God created the world in six days. This friend takes them to an Answers in Genesis conference at a local church where they hear credentialed scientists using scientific-sounding language to reveal that evolution is fundamentally flawed and that geology indicates a young earth and a recent creation. It’s not surprising that the young earth creationism packaged and marketed by Answers in Genesis is so convincing to so many. It has a scientific veneer that gives it seeming credibility.
So, yes, go read the whole post. And then, if you’ve got some time and you’re bored, you can peruse our Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education archives, and note how they slip their drivel in amidst sensible science.
We laugh, because so much of what we’re seeing is patently ridiculous, but we must never forget how very credible it looks to those predisposed to belief. And there are many reasons why a reasonable, educated person could believe this crap. Perhaps it started with a children’s pamphlet about volcanoes, correct in all but a few essentials, thus slipping the poison in with the pudding…
That’s one of the reasons I’m going through all of these textbooks page by page. The more we know about how they’re doing it, the better we can counter it.