Curiosity killed the creationist

Curiosity killed the creationist

Curiosity killed the creationist

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
July 25 2005 11:20 AM

Curiosity killed the creationist

I've been accused of a lot of things since I embarked on my path of actively debunking nonsense. NASA lackey, CIA spook (yes, seriously), and so on. From religious folks I have endured other epithets, including being called "atheist" (like it's a dirty word), anti-religious, heathen, etc.

I don't hate creationists and intelligent design proponents, but I hate what they do. And I'll tell you why.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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They try to kill curiosity.

For me, being curious is what it is to be human. For proof, watch any toddler on a nature walk. They look at everything. Every leaf, every caterpillar, every worm, every pebble... they are all a source of endless fascination. Watch their face when they find something new. Naked delight is the most beautiful thing you can see on anyone;s face, but on a small child it's sacred.

An when they learn to talk-- or more specifically, when they learn to ask questions-- the delight is multiplied. My own Wee Astronomer asked thousands of questions about all aspects of life, and we have been happy to indulge her in this. She loves life, nature, and the planet she lives on. And she has a nearly insatiable curiosity about them that makes my heart sing.

But creationism wants to crush this in her. They may claim that the heavens declare God's work, but in the end it all boils down to the single phrase "God did it". There is no real explanation to it; in fact, to stress this point, if you get too curious or want to question God, they say "God works in mysterious ways", which is their way of saying shut up and accept it.

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That is pure poison to me. There is no quest there, no curiosity, no solving one mystery to find six more underneath it. This is inhuman. It is a shutting off of the brain, of the most fundamental aspect of what makes us who we are.

In the early part of the 20th century, there was much debate about life on Mars, and whether some intelligence was responsible for so many features thought to be seen there. The Swedish chemist and Nobel laureate Svante Arrhenius said this about the debate in 1918:

The theory that intelligent men exist on Mars is very popular. With its help everything can be explained, particularly if we attribute an intelligence vastly superior to our own to these beings, so that we are not always able to fathom the wisdom with which [they do things]... The trouble with these "explanations" is that they explain everything, and therefore in fact nothing.

Those exemplify science. I bet the majority of scientists who do crossword puzzles take all of five seconds to exult when they solve one. Then they start looking forward to the next. There are always more mysteries, more puzzles to unravel.