Friday, August 08, 2014

Creationist cartoon

I visited the Institute for Creation Research back in 1992 when it was still based in Santee, California (USA). I toured the museum and bought this wonderful poster in the gift shop. It now hangs on the wall outside my office. I relate to the pirates.

A much simpler black and white version (below) was shown to a high school class in Atlanta, Georgia, USA and it caused quite a stir [Flap over creationist cartoon shown in high-school class]. I can understand why. The color poster that I bought twenty years ago is much better. I can see why the Atlanta high school students weren't impressed with the pirates.

Seriously, I don't think evolution supporters should make a fuss about this [see Evolution vs. creationism: Does this cartoon belong in Grady High School biology class? ]. It may provide some comfort to the diehard fundamentalist Christian students in the class but lots of students are going to make fun of the cartoon and that may have a beneficial effect in the long run. We should be careful about putting up obstacles that prevent creationists from shooting themselves in the foot.

(I know about the so-called "separation of church and state" provision in the American Constitution. You don't need to lecture me on the legality of showing a religious cartoon in a public high school.)


12 comments :

  1. Looking closely at the cartoon, it is not simply portraying the conflict between Evolution and Creationism. The pirate in the Humanism castle is firing rather effectively at the foundation of the Christianity castle, which is Creationism. The black-clad figures in the Christianity castle (ministers?) are firing mostly at the cultural and political consequences of Evolution, not at the foundation of Humanism's castle, which is Evolution. The consequences are Homosexuality, Divorce, Abortion, etc. One of the ministers is aiming at Evolution, but has not fired yet.

    The points being made seem to be
    1. The Creation/Evolution divide is fundamental to the difference between Humanism and Christianity. Consequences such as Abortion, Homosexuality etc. are side issues.
    2. Christians are not confronting the real issue, which is to defend Christianity by confronting Evolution with Creationism.

    This cartoon is actually making a sectarian argument within Christianity, and the main people it is criticizing are fellow Christians who (in its view) are wasting their time on lesser issues when they ought to be concentrating on advocating Creationism.

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    1. Joe: One of the ministers is aiming at Evolution, but has not fired yet.

      No, he's pointing at another minister. They're in-fighting instead of killing scientists/pirates, as true Christians ought to do.

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    2. My impression too. The creationist gunner at the top is firing blithely in the wrong direction, away from the enemy. The one just below will in a moment blow out a fellow creationist's brains with a friendly cannonball. Worse still, he's going to kill the only who can shoot more or less competently. Amazing self-criticism.

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    3. I guess he is about to fire at his fellow Christian. In the color version of the poster at the top of this post, the bottom three ministers are instead glaring at each other or arguing with each other, rather than shooting.

      I wouldn't say "self criticism" unless the self is "Christians". This is a cartoon by Christian creationists aimed at Christians who are critics of creationism. It's some Christians critcizing other Christians, the kind that support the teaching of evolution.

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    4. I also have this poster outside my office (Jim Rupert brought me it from the ICR). I've always been perplexed that the creationists would so openly advertise their infighting problem.

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  2. It wasn't simply this one slide that was the issue. There was a set of creationist slides in the school district database for use in science classrooms.
    There is also the context issue I think you are ignoring, the teacher did not simply show the slide and move on to ideas and information about biological evolution. If she had, I would agree with you.

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    1. I looked through the whole slide show. It did list a lot of evidence for evolution, e.g. homology etc. It did not contain many typical creationist hoaxes.

      So someone had uploaded a slide show to a teachers' website which contained one graphic image to illustrate what "creationism" is, and they chose this one. Then a lazy teacher downloaded the slide show and presented it to her students.

      I agree the cartoon is stupid, but they're just trying to be graphic and eye-catching.

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  3. As Lorax says, there's no problem at all showing religious slides or providing any religious material at all in a classroom, so long as it isn't for the purpose of advocating for religion.

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  4. The balloon that is being blown up by the evolutionists says "Racism" and "Euthanasia." That's funny because creationists, at every era of history, have always been far more racist than evolutionists of the same era-- and it's still true today. Hell, Bob Jones University had a ban on interracial dating as part of its official policy (listed right in the student handbook) until the 21st century. The founders of Young Earth Creationism, like Flood geologist George M. Price, Harold W. Clark, founder of "Baraminology" Frank L. Marsh, were insanely, hysterically racist.

    If this cartoon were accurate, the "Creationism" castle would have so many "Racism" balloons that it would be pulled off its foundations and float away.

    As for "Euthanasia", every Biblical creationist (including Ken Ham plus WiIlliam Lane Craig) defends the Israelite genocide of the Canaanites, Moabites, Midianites etc. in the Bible by saying that it's OK for God to order babies to be killed, or kill them directly himself, because babies are better off dead if their parents are of the wrong religion.

    As for the "Divorce" balloon, the Barna group's research has shown that divorce rates are significantly higher among fundamentalist Christians than among atheists. The divorce balloon should be over their castle.

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  5. This cartoon is reproduced in a Ken Ham publication. He explains it as a call to Christians to rise up against "materialists" who are bent on destroying Christianity. Hambo explains that the "materialists" are focusing their attack on the foundation of Christianity, while Christians are dithering around whacking at stuff that doesn't count.

    Hambo is trying to rally the troops, but his message has been lost over the decades.

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    Replies
    1. It's interesting that the b&w version had to inform the reader explicitly which sides Satan and Christ took. It seems poor Christian students can't be relied on to figure it out for themselves.

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    2. Yes. When they see "Racism" and "Divorce" floating over one of the castles, many conservative Christians will think that's their side.

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