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This morning, drinking coffee and reading Pharyngula, I came across this:

The Voyage that Shook the World: Trailer
The Voyage that Shook the World: Darwin as a Boy
(Embedding has failed me. Sorry.)

Which is the trailer for a creationist movie neatly reviewed by the Lippard Blog. Obviously I would like to see this movie, but the closest screening to me is in Austin (I’m in Los Angeles, where I can get anything I want any time of the day, except apparently creationist movies).

Creationism actually bothers me, unlike most of the religious stuff I blog about. I don’t think we’re in much danger of Quiverfull becoming anything more than a fringe movement (the thing about having a dozen kids is then you have a dozen kids),  just like the American public at large will not suddenly become enamored of Sharia law or think speaking in tongues is an awesome fad. Yeah, I could be wrong, but we’re on a pretty clearly unreligious course as a whole and besides, I’m an optimist.

Evolution, however, is totally hard and complicated. It requires a basic understanding of genetics and biology to even grasp properly, otherwise I suspect it starts to sound a lot like “Your grandfather was a monkey,” which is the most interesting family secret I can think of. (“We wanted to tell you when you were a child, but your father was so ashamed and we just couldn’t, we thought maybe you would come to some conclusions on your own…”) Creationism or “Intelligent Design,” on the other hand, are delightfully simple: someone else made everything this way. Bam! I suspect that it’s worming its way into public schools in no small part because of this.

Here is something I don’t understand: why Charles Darwin is always dragged into this mess. I know 2009 is his 150th birthday year and we’re all celebrating, because figuring out evolution is a cool thing, but I don’t understand the smear campaign that Creationists are running against the guy himself. It’s not as though he’s responsible for the fact that this stuff seems to be going on, he just found out about it. Demonizing him won’t make the last 100 years of scientific research magically go away; Galileo recanted on geocentrism but the earth doesn’t go around the sun any less.* If you’re going to disprove evolution, shouldn’t you be, you know, disproving evolution?

The whole thing puts me in mind of heresies more than science, because they seem to be operating on the idea that this is a movement, led by this one (albeit dead) guy, and if they can discredit him then everything else will fade away. If that’s true, I think it might belie a serious misunderstanding of what science is by those trying to discredit it–it’s a testable set of hypothesis about how the world works, not a movement dedicated to following one person’s ideas.

Any creationists reading this want to suggest why the movement is so focused on Darwin and not on what he said? I am all ears.

*”It still moves,” I know I know.

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