Creationism Recapitulates Kirbyism

by John Holbo on December 27, 2008

On X-Mas I gave good ol’ PZ a visit. He had up a quote from Rick Warren:

I believed that evolution and the account of the Bible about creation could exist along side of each other very well. I just didn’t see what the big argument was all about. I had some friends who had been studying the Bible much longer than I had who saw it differently…Eventually, I came to the conclusion, through my study of the Bible and science, that the two positions of evolution and creation just could not fit together. There are some real problems with the idea that God created through evolution… My prayer is that you will have this same experience!

The Bible’s picture is that dinosaurs and man lived together on the earth, an earth that was filled with vegetation and beauty…man and dinosaurs lived at the same time…From the very beginning of creation, God gave man dominion over all that was made, even over the dinosaurs.

After that, I decided to give my X-Mas presents the attention they richly deserved. The adverb that describes the way my mother-in-law shopped for me is ‘awesomely’. She got me Jack Kirby’s The Eternals, Book 1 and (!) Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur [amazon].

Here are a few choice panels. First, from The Eternals #1:

relatedformoflive

And from Devil Dinosaur #6:

eev1

Do you suppose Rick Warren’s friends have been sneaking peeks at old issues of Devil Dinosaur, to fill in some of the dinosaur-related gaps in the text? As the first issue announces: “Since the picture of genesis is still incomplete – this may be the most sensational origin of all time!” And ‘Moon Boy, the first human’ has the ability to control Devil …

{ 26 comments }

1

Uncle Kvetch 12.27.08 at 1:38 pm

If I hadn’t voted for the guy who invited Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, I would probably find this all extremely funny.

2

MarkUp 12.27.08 at 4:12 pm

Rumor has it that the good folks at the SMNH [and of course, DHS] on the mall are adding new cable restraints to all bones in their collection in case of spontaneous reanimation on the 20th. Mr Allosaurus will have kevlar reinforced Duct tape applied around muzzle. The collection of Chia Pets™ however will be given fresh nutrients.

3

Codswallop 12.27.08 at 5:38 pm

I kept saying and saying and saying that Obama is no better than McCain. But did you guys listen to me? Nooooooooo!

4

Righteous Bubba 12.27.08 at 6:55 pm

This makes the Fantastic Four’s Negative Zone a more disturbing place.

5

Steve LaBonne 12.27.08 at 7:22 pm

If I hadn’t voted for the guy who invited Warren to give the invocation at his inauguration, I would probably find this all extremely funny.

Well, Pat f’in Robertson is “remarkably pleased” with Obama so far. That makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it? (Excuse me while I go throw up.)

6

Slocum 12.27.08 at 11:18 pm

I agree with Rick Warren.

Not about evolution, obviously, but I think he’s right about the conflict between evolutionary theory and the traditional form of Christianity that most evangelicals believe. The idea that man was created in God’s image, that only humans have immortal souls, that humans are at the center of the universe and, indeed, the very reason it was created — all that just doesn’t work very well alongside an ancient, vast, strange universe where humans emerged gradually over unimaginably many forgotten generations (nearly all of which came before He got around to sending down the 10 commandments, let alone his only begotten son).

The only way to reconcile the conflict would be to make adjustments to their faith that would render it unrecognizable (to them). In their view, an ‘adjustable’ faith is no faith at all. Yes, creationism is silly, but the powerful motivation to believe it is certainly understandable — to accept evolution would be to give up the faith that gives their lives meaning. So you have to have some sympathy for people born into a belief system that’s so at odds with the physical properties of the universe (sort of like you have to have sympathy for people born into families of Cub fans).

From a practical perspective, isn’t the invitation of Rick Warren a rather clever attempt to further Thomas Frank’s goal of bringing ‘those people’ into the Democratic fold? You may be able to convert them to populism, but I don’t think you’ll never convert them to Unitarianism. Given that — you want ’em or not?

7

Steve LaBonne 12.28.08 at 12:12 am

You may be able to convert them to populism

This recurrent fantasy is the Democratic version of the will o’ the wisp. These people largely comprise the 25% of Bushite dead-enders who are neither reachable, nor needed for a solid governing majoruty.

8

Steve LaBonne 12.28.08 at 12:18 am

P.S. You also may want to read this. Even among self-identified Christians there are a lot fewer of these dimbulbs than you perhaps think.

9

littlejohn 12.28.08 at 1:06 am

Aside from the (apparent) references to elephants and whales, where are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?

10

Dan S. 12.28.08 at 4:03 am

P.S. You also may want to read this.

Amusingly, it would seem that around 1/4-ish of Christians think atheists could get eternal life, something which presumably close to 100% of atheists disagree with. (One argument, I think, for “out” atheism – I assume it’s harder to consign all members of a group to . . . what? damnation? purgatory? . . . when you realize they include reasonably non-offensive neighbors/co-workers/family members, etc.)

(Apropos of almost nothing, if one assumes for the purposes of argument that there are no atheists in foxholes, surely there aren’t many Christians either?)

The Bible’s picture is that dinosaurs and man lived together on the earth, an earth that was filled with vegetation and beauty

So the guy I voted for is giving a spot in his inauguration to a fellow who is (in some respects) the equivalent of someone who fought to overturn Loving v. Virginia and destroy any post-ruling interracial marriages, while enthusiastically proclaiming the biblical truth of geocentrism. Great! Just great!

11

wok3 12.28.08 at 8:39 am

I know Obama is trying to reach out, and be seen as a centrist, but it is all too easy to reach out too far, and fall flat on one’s face. I don’t want Republicans or religious people excluded just because of the stereotypical view of so many of them, but for crying out loud, do we have to accept ALL of these jerks? In the words of a great bumper sticker, “Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you’re an asshole.” No truer words could there be for Pastor Warren.

12

bad Jim 12.28.08 at 9:47 am

The point, people, is that Rick Warren is an order of magnitude less of an asshole than the standard issue of that ilk. It’s not near enough of a difference to make a difference to bien-pensants like us, but it isn’t nothing. Consider:

He has spoken out against the use of torture to combat terrorism. He has joined the fight against global warming and, encouraged by his wife, has put his prestige and money behind helping people with AIDS. The Warrens have done so at a time when a notable number of conservative Christians still consider the virus a punishment from God.

Und so weiter. Your mileage may vary. I see no reason to get one’s knickers in a twist or your panty in a wad, above and beyond the idea that there is going to be both an invocation and a benediction at the inauguration. I’d be beyond thrilled if Obama would return to the revolutionary practice of pronouncing the oath of office exactly as given in the Constitution , without the contemporarily customary embellishment of “so help me God.”

13

Slocum 12.28.08 at 1:25 pm

This recurrent fantasy is the Democratic version of the will o’ the wisp. These people largely comprise the 25% of Bushite dead-enders who are neither reachable, nor needed for a solid governing majoruty.

Can’t say whether they are needed, but there’s certainly no inherent contraction between creationists and populist Democrats. That was the political alignment for many, many decades. And, of course, you all have plenty of ‘those people’ in your tent already — albeit with a different skin tone. African Americans are more likely than Americans as a whole to accept creationism and oppose gay marriage. When it comes to evolution and gay rights, there’s really little difference between Rick Warren’s flock and the average African American congregation.

14

Dan Rosenberg 12.28.08 at 1:49 pm

Jack was all about being creative and telling stories. We was much more interested with Gods and mythology and never bothered to get the science right. Importantly he did recognize all Gods as story book characters and origin myths as stories and used them that way, usually as superheroes. Galactus was created when Stan Lee sent him a memo to have the Fantastic Four “fight God”. (Galactus is a giant Alien that eats planets~nice god huh? Sounds just like the one in the Bible) So if Jack didn’t have the science right about evolution or humans living with dinosaurs, he certainly didn’t take religion as dogma, and was simply comfortable using religion and myth as inspiration for his stories. Jack was a comic book visionary, but it’s silly to hold his work up to scientific truth or as supporting creationism. Besides, I would bet he’d be on the side of scientific truth any day.

15

Chris 12.28.08 at 5:14 pm

I see no reason to get one’s knickers in a twist or your panty in a wad, above and beyond the idea that there is going to be both an invocation and a benediction at the inauguration.

The point is that there are plenty of reasonable, decent Christians (most of whom happen to also be politically somewhere near Obama), and Warren isn’t one of them. His conservatism isn’t just a matter of abstract philosophical differences, either – it’s outright hatred for substantial numbers of people who thought Obama was on the side of *defending* them against that kind of unjust bigotry (and, indeed, defending the victims of unjust bigotry in general).

Nobody would have raised all this ruckus over Jim Wallis being invited to pray, even though he’s just as Christian as Warren is. That’s because while Wallis is a devoted Christian, he’s not a bigot and (at least usually) not an asshole.

(It’s true that I’d prefer a president who prayed in private if he was going to pray at all, rather than one who makes prayer a public spectacle, let alone privileging one particular religion and giving the cold shoulder to others. But that’s not entirely, or even mostly, what opposition to Warren is about.)

16

Itchy Brother 12.28.08 at 6:17 pm

P.S. You also may want to read this. Even among self-identified Christians there are a lot fewer of these dimbulbs than you perhaps think.

I’m glad that a significant number of Christians are so muddled in their beliefs that they will charitably disregard one of their religion’s core tenants and allow us heathens to enter a place that doesn’t exist. However, I don’t see how this is evidence that there are fewer “dimbulbs” than I might think. After all, the survey also revealed this interesting tidbit:

“According to Pew’s August survey, only 39 percent of Christians believe that the Bible is the literal word of God…”

Only? That’s like saying that only 39 percent believe that the Apollo moon landing was an elaborate hoax filmed on a Hollywood sound stage. To me that is evidence that there are far more dimbulbs than I would expect in the 21st century.

17

bigTom 12.29.08 at 2:09 am

The question of whether letting Warren have this honour is a smart or a foolish move won’t be known for a while. As BadJim lets on, there is considerable ground between Warren, and say Dobson. If all goes well, the fundies will drive a wedge between themselves and those of Warrens Ilk. If instead, we on the left whine too much, the wedge might be driven through our ranks instead. I think we should just calm down, and observe. Maybe we will get lucky.

18

Martin Bento 12.29.08 at 2:30 am

I think the larger question behind the Warren business and all the centrist appointments is “does Obama or does Obama not owe something to his supporters, especially those who contributed more work than others, than he does to everyone else?” I suppose that is an interesting question for political theory, and probably an explored one, though I don’t know the upshot. Obama addressed his supporters saying his campaign was about “you” (i.e., the supporters) not him. From the perspective of Obama’s political interests all this centrism is defensible, but in terms of representing those who elected him, it is not. While I would not want a Bushite contempt for all those not of his political breed, if Obama owes nothing in particular to his supporters, what is the sense in supporting him?

19

Steve LaBonne 12.29.08 at 4:00 am

If instead, we on the left whine too much…

Oh, horseshit. First of all, Warren is a disgusting, ignorant homophobe and brain-dead creationist; the idea that he’s somehow better than the likes of Dobson is an idiotic delusion. Secondly, the quote above is a museum-quality specimen of the typical, brain-dead mainstream Democratic fantasy that crapping on the left will somehow attract support from conservatives. Funny how that never actually happens, and left-bashing becomes a pastime pursued for its own sake (and a displacement activity that substitutes for ever actually accomplishing anything progressive).

I’m sorry, I really can’t be polite about this. Defending a prominent Inauguration role for a hateful bigot like Warren is simply inexcusable, as was Obama’s inexplicable choice of him in the first place,

20

Picador 12.29.08 at 3:34 pm

What slocum said. Steve seems to think that it’s impossible to bring “them” over “here”; he thinks that this is impossible because “they” are so crazy, but he clearly hasn’t been paying attention to how crazy “here” has gotten. Expect more of this kind of thinking over the next four years from liberals who think they have elected someone who shares their values, and who just can’t figure out why Obama is enacting all the same policies as GWB.

21

David in NY 12.29.08 at 3:48 pm

“who just can’t figure out why Obama is enacting all the same policies as GWB”

I would be willing to bet lots and lots of money against his “enacting all the same policies as GWB.” That’s not gonna happen. That there may be some overlap is possible. But “all the same policies”? No.

22

xaaronx 12.29.08 at 6:18 pm

Martin Bento:

I would read that “you” as addressing America, not just the slightly over half of the country that voted Democrat; doing otherwise would be Bush-type bs. American presidents represent the entire country, like it or not.

I, for instance, voted for Obama because I expect his administration to be both more competent and more in line with my own ideals than McCain’s would have been (we shall see how the reality plays out). I do not, however, think he owes me patronage. What he owes the country is the effort to do the job to the best of his ability.

23

Righteous Bubba 12.29.08 at 6:22 pm

not just the slightly over half of the country that voted Democrat

Nit: 69,456,897 voted for Obama. US population’s about 300 million.

24

Martin Bento 12.29.08 at 7:01 pm

xaaronx,

It’s not a question of patronage – I hardly expect Obama to do anything for me specifically. But Obama ran on a platform that may be more progressive than how he looks like he will govern. The country chose that platform, but, as always, not the whole country did, just a majority of those that voted. So is Obama’s responsibility to average out his platform with that of the losing candidate so as to get a good representational sense of the electorate as a whole (after all, close to half either voted for that other platform, believed he was sympathetic to radicals, were racist, or had some other reason for not voting for him)? Has any President ever been expected to do this?

There are real conflicts here that Obama seems to think he can paper over. The liberals believe everyone should have affordable quality health care. The conservatives believe no one should be compelled to pay for anyone else’s health care. You can compromise between those positions – in fact, what we have now and anything we are likely to get are compromises. But the compromises come from finding the limits of negotiating power, not from finding “common ground”. Of the latter, there is none, as there are different moral theories behind the two positions, and a victory for one will be a loss for the other.

25

Martin Bento 12.29.08 at 7:08 pm

Put a little differently. If you have an election between A and B, and either A or B will be expected, in victory, to average out his position with the loser, according, let’s say, to the closeness of the vote, so as to represent the country as a whole, then it does not really matter who wins. You might as well just take a poll to see where the electorate stands and have some arbitrary president discharge it. In fact, I’m enough of a populist that I think a Presidential subservience to popular will would do more good than harm, but that is not how we concieve of our elections. We believe we are making a choice.

26

Steve LaBonne 12.29.08 at 8:54 pm

Here’s how it works, Martin. If you’re a Republican, you’re entitled to ram through a far right-wing agenda and basically loot the country for the benefit of your rich cronies, even if you were “elected” by a 5-4 Supreme Court vote. If you’re a Democrat, though, then of course you must meet the conservatives more than halfway (including the countenancing of hateful bigotry) even if you won in a landslide after campaigning on a progressive platform.

But I’m sure you already knew that’s how the game is played.

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