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A Bit Too Much of an Optimist

May 27th, 2012

Richard Leakey believes that creationists will vanish within a generation or two:

Richard Leakey predicts skepticism over evolution will soon be history.

Not that the avowed atheist has any doubts himself.

Sometime in the next 15 to 30 years, the Kenyan-born paleoanthropologist expects scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that “even the skeptics can accept it.” …

“If you don’t like the word evolution, I don’t care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It’s not covered by Genesis. There’s no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I’ve read from the lips of any God.”

I think that Leakey doesn’t really understand the Fundamentalist / Creationist mindset. He seems to believe that all you need is overwhelming facts and evidence, and they will accept something contrary to their strong religious convictions. That’s a mistake. These people literally take what they believe as an article of faith. They could be looking directly at a mountain of evidence clearly contradicting them, and still not waver. All they have to do is say it’s a trick, Satan’s behind it, so forth and so on, and then walk away. It’s pretty much what they are doing now.

I recall Arthur C. Clarke making the same error, writing in his stories that once we meet alien species, the superstitions of religious belief would melt away. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t happen, either.

I think that if these people are to accept things like the age of the universe or the workings of evolution, it will not be until a much longer time than now, due to social workings and not wholly that of evidence.

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  1. Troy
    May 27th, 2012 at 11:31 | #1

    And as Atrios said on this, belief in creationism is a tribal thing.

    When your in-group leaders say one thing and secular outsiders say another, believers are going to stick with what their faith says.

    Around 70% of Protestant pastors in the US are outright creationists (none of this intelligent design crap) — they’re not going to pivot on this in 10 years.

    Anybody’s who had e misfortune to engage in a discussion with a creationist understands what’s going on here.

    Show them too many transitional forms, and they say there’s no change going on. Too few, and the record has too many holes.

    The US is so, so screwed. A nation of children.

  2. Troy
    May 27th, 2012 at 13:42 | #2

    When asked if “God used evolution to create people,” 73% of pastors disagreed – 64% said they strongly disagreed – compared to 12% who said they agree.

    Asked whether the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, 46% agreed, compared to 43% who disagreed.


    The only humorous thing about this is that these Southern Baptists now have to vote for a Mormon.

    I kinda think Romney will pick Huckabee as his running mate. That’d butter up the fundies nicely.

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