Denialism and creationism

Does denialism sprout from creationism? I don’t think so but creationism is certainly, at least in the last few decades, a major enabler of denialism. Or twins, perhaps, both sides of the wingnut coin flip. Maybe, but most creationists are generally deluded and there isn’t much profit in creationism.

There is a denialist crowd about anything, even if today is Wednesday. Denialist fit in two categories: a) the truly insane, or, b) the cynical. The truly insane denialists are almost always enabled by the cynical denialists if there is some money on the table, like fossil fuel profits. Creationists, OTOH, are mostly defensive. Their myths are clearly ragged and getting even harder to believe (as well as generally less popular) so they’re doubling down on crazy as a proof of conviction (if you can believe dinosaurs were on a non-existent ark you can believe any made-up story from the “book”). But both types believe the best defense is offense, especially against a Congress where Science Committee members believe science is from a pit in hell (an actual claim of one of the wingnuts, remember too, brilliant “legitimate rape” Todd Akin used to be on that committee).

I’m reading through Michael Specter’s book on Denalism and I’m still a little bit out if his views are still one-sided (only knocking leftie wingnuts). There is little mention of right wingnuts who are more common and virtually no mention of creationism. Maybe Spencer just figures these have been flogged enough.

But to his credit he does reference a few blogs, including this one with an interesting detailed article about denialist tactics here. It was reading about the tactics that I realized most of these are the same as the creationists, especially the politically active ones trying to get religion in the schools and drive real science out.

I’ve always thought there was an unholy alliance between the two and in terms of my two categories (insane and cynical) the creationist provide a big chunk of the insane base that the cynical approach. After all if the creationist insane don’t believe science over the truth of evolution then it’s really easy to decide driving a gas guzzler is fun and so why not discount global climate change. But the exploitation of the insane by the cynical has led to (almost entirely in the Repug party, and the majority of the Repug party, since we get to throw reproductive issues in there too, yet another thing to deny, while meanwhile supporting guns in limited quantity and lethality, so I guess you could say the entire Repug party is denialist, which then is exploited by the rich to denounce reasonable economic policies in lieu of unrestrained greed, esp. in tax avoidance).

But cynical denialism started earlier than that. I think it’s fair to label McCarthy’s witch hunts as denialism (that maybe China didn’t actually like the corrupt KMT and choose to kick them out, not traitors in the State Dept). I could research more as I’m sure it existed (undoubtedly slavery would demonstrate a ton of denialism) but the real event for the cynical denialism, denying science purely for the pursuit of unbridled greed would have to be tobacco wars.

And it’s interesting that much of the same organization built up to oppose restrictions on tobacco (or requiring auto safety) has now be mobilized to the astroturf movement funded by the Kochs (for climate change denialism) and the completely fake tea party (a bunch of leftover segregationists that still remember George Wallace and Storm Thurmond personally).

In short the wingnuts get dragged out of the woodwork to create political havoc, which the main co-conspirator, the Repug party, fans the flames (because tax cuts for the rich will fall out of there somewhere and more guns everywhere and more corporate funding of elections). Creationism is the fertile ground where this terrorism spreads.

About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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2 Responses to Denialism and creationism

  1. edgeledge says:

    What scares me the most is their voices are loud and run a lot of the brainwashing media that perpetuates their myths, and denounces the truth. I know people who actually believe the story of Noah!
    Great writing as always thanks for sharing your thoughts, which I guess are not common in your homeland 🙂

  2. dmill96 says:

    Thanks for the comment. Decades ago I got involved (sorta) in the whole creationism debate. To me it was astonishing there even was a “debate”, sure a few whackjobs, but surely most of that died out in the Scopes trial. But no, not only was creationism alive and well (and heavily funded, with devious dodges to try to get around SCOTUS rulings) but it was being used as both a litmus test and recruiting tool for the hard right (if you can believe 6000 year old earth and 6 literal days for creation the rest of the myths are easy). In fact, the story of Noah was debated on the Net, in the era when creationism was under the guise of “scientific creationism”. The creationist side promised to play fair and not use miracles (Noah and the Ark is easy with miracles, not so easy with realistic engineering). Of course the creationist side got clobbered, no matter how many rhetorical tricks they played (too hard to get food and water to all those critters and too hard to get the excrement out, the ark was a rather poor ship design).

    Anyway I was surprised yet again, that in the course of a few years, the tide of public opinion had turned, from majority “belief” (accept is much better word) in global warning. Even the Repugs had small majority who accepted it. Then, boom, in a very short time, it’s reversed. How? What magic occurred? Certainly the science had just become all the more definitive and overwhelming. Simple answer – money spent, primarily by the Koch’s (rhymes with kooks) through the Heartland “Institute” (I gag having to let them use that word) and then via FreedomWorks and Dick Armey in the whole astroturf movement, originally devised to bring down Obamacare during the recess (all those violent town meetings with hired brownshirt troublemakers) that then quickly recycled into opposition of global warming. The old “right wing conspiracy”, which sounded a bit looney when Hillary said it about Watergate (or Oliver Stone in Nixon) but looked a little more real after Swiftboating and now after Astroturf. The denialists realized the cigarette companies had blown their PR and had no intention of making the same mistake (attack first, lie a lot, generate confusion, fund your favorite Repug). And it works. Of course having 2012 being the hottest year on record, with droughts everywhere (and now, summer is frying Australia) and fires and Sandy and on and on, there is a small swing back. But the main thing is the election is over and the Kochs are never one to waste money so they’ll let things drift until the mid-terms when they can pick a new wingnut movement to co-opt. So stay tuned, as Ahnald says, “I’ll be back”, so fighting denialism is a full-time job.

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