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21.4.07

Creationists Hate Puppies

One of the more curious features of creationism is the way it often seems to be driven by hostility to that very creation. This comes out most strongly in the "ethical" argument for creationism (trotted out after every domestic tragedy): believing in evolution leads to immoral behavior, so therefore we should teach creationism. The ethical argument seems to be the most psychologically motivating for creationists even though it teeters between being a noble lie and an argumentum ad consequentiam. The claimed connection between beliefs about the origin of life and moral behavior is made by asserting that divine command theory is the only valid meta-ethical principle.

Pam Spaulding points out a creationist making the ethical argument with respect to the recent shootings at Virginia Tech. She's right to hold up Grady McMurty's claims for ridicule, but I think it's also worthwhile to point out the particularly blatant bit of creation-hating that's caught up in his use of the ethical argument:

[When evolution is being taught], he asserts, people should not be surprised when mass shootings occur, such as the one on the Blacksburg university campus on Monday. "And at Virginia Tech, what do we have?" he asks rhetorically. "We have a person who, unfortunately, thought that humans had no more value than cats and dogs -- and unfortunately, I think, probably felt the same way about themselves."

The creationist continues explaining his premise. "And so what happens? If we are nothing but thinking animals, [and] if you have excess people, then you can just put them in a bag, throw them in the river the way you would too many kittens or too many puppies."


In other words, in McMurtry's world we have a choice between valuing humans or valuing nothing. It strikes him as obvious and uncontroversial that puppies and kittens are worthless -- not just worth less than humans, but totally worthless and hence able to be disposed of. He's making a point that could easily have been made with reference to, say, rocks or twinkie wrappers or some other thing that nearly everyone agrees is worthless and disposable, but instead he singles out puppies and kittens, the two non-human beings that are most likely to be given some measure of moral consideration -- indeed, consideration for whom is the cliche example of a breathtakingly uncontroversial political stance.

(Note that I'm not here making my own argumentum ad consequentiam against McMurtry's version of Christianity -- I'm simply pointing out what it entails. The cruelty he describes is something we'd just have to accept were his views on God and morality to prove to be correct. However, I think we have other good reasons not to accept his version of Christianity.)

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