Let 'em talk ... doesn't mean we have to listen

About that new museum in Kentucky? The one that gives the creationist take on natural history? It was inevitable, you know. Pollsters have found that nearly 50 percent of Americans believe in the Biblical creation story. Remember ... how Earth and the accompanying universe were cooked up by God about 6,000 years back, how dinosaurs coexisted with Adam and Eve, and how the Grand Canyon was carved out by the Great Flood instead of taking millions of years to form?

Not coincidentally, exactly 50 percent of all Americans are below average in intelligence. I don't have to prove that. It should be self-evident, as how there would be no such thing as an "average" at all if half the people weren't above it, and half below. Some of you may be thinking it's not so simple ... that it's one of those Bell curve configurations where most of us are essentially the same—the same being average—and the farther we get from the big hump in the middle, the fewer there are with either remarkable intelligence, or a remarkable lack of intelligence. To those people, I say stop kidding yourselves. Just because we don't have intelligence gauges that can measure precisely the infinitesimal gradations in brainpower that distinguish us from one another doesn't mean they don't exist. And somewhere in the world, there is one and only one man or woman who is exactly in the middle, intelligence-wise. Everyone else is either smarter than him (her), or dumber.

So then, what more do we need to explain why half of all Americans believe in the Biblical creation story?

"Yoo-hoo, Bill!" you scold. "Aren't you forgetting that some proponents of creationism have Ph.D.s and teach in prestigious universities? Surely, youcan't be saying that every last creationist is on the stupid downslope of the intelligence hump?"

I answer: I acknowledge there are a handful of well-educated and clever people who have come up with thin shreds of what seem like evidence that God created everything just like it says in Genesis ... all of which goes to enhance the theory that evolution is the operating principle not only in the biological realm, but the behavioral one, too. Biologically, Nature throws just about everything at the wall at least once to see what sticks: elephants with long hair, mammals that fly, birds that don't, orchids that grow in Scotland and Tasmanian rodents that lay eggs. Behaviorally, Nature is just as capricious and experimental: Nazi Jews, born-again gays, conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans. So there is nothing unusual about a few intelligent and well-educated creationists, other than their rarity.

But I come today not to argue the relative merits of creationism and evolution, or to try to convince any of those foggy 50-percenters away from their particular brand of wishful thinking. The reverse, in fact, is what I propose. After hearing of this silly museum in Kentucky, I have come to the conclusion it's time to stop trying to argue with these people or convince them of anything. We've wasted enough time in offering them an operational understanding of the world around them. Repeatedly and vociferously, they have refused to be influenced by the evidence and, indeed, have gone to absurd lengths to interpret that evidence more to their liking. (For instance, a creationist explanation as to why dinosaurs didn't make short work of Adam and his family was that all dinosaurs must have been plant-eaters. You see? If the facts don't fit ... just make up some new facts.)

So as far as I'm concerned, we have to move on. Look, we aren't letting the Amish or Rastafarians or Jehovah'sWitnesses stand in our way to a more erudite society, are we? So why should we allow creationists to continue to gum up the works?

"Yoo-hoo, Bill!" you cry. "What about their children? Is it not incumbent upon us to educate the innocent babes of the self-deluded so that they might one day rise above the squalor of superstition and ignorance?"

I answer: It is precisely for their children that I propose this. I mean, every time we hear they've done something more to get attention—the Kentucky museum, for example, or the legal bombs they keep throwing at school districts, or trying to repackage the old creation myth in a new "Intelligent Design" wrapper, or all their other attempts to elevate creationism to the level of real science and devalue real science to the level of creationism—it is their children who pay the dearest price. It is their children who must be thinking, "Well golly, if this particular fairy tale gets so much publicity over all the other fairy tales, there must be something to the fairy tale." It is their children, not mine, who must continue to struggle in the muck and mud of pre-Darwin consciousness, simply because we have allowed these primitives and their hayseed voodoo so much of our scrutiny. And hopefully, it is their children who, one day, may decide they've had their fill of being regarded as a curious cultural aberration on the path to the future and will come respectfully to their biology teachers, hands out and minds open: "Mr. So-'n'-So, could you explain to me what all this 'evolution' stuff is about? I really wanna understand."

It's not like I'm suggesting we put creationists on reservations or anything like that. All I'm proposing is that we ignore them. Pass on by. Walk around them without making eye contact and keep going without looking back. If they want to remain the intellectually bereft bums clogging the sidewalks of modern thought, that's their choice, but it's high time we evolved beyond having to worry about how we might accommodate them. Instead, let them worry about why they are being left out. Let them feel like they could stand a little educational up-grading, instead of them making us feel like we have to lower the standards just to include them. I mean, what's the point of having above-average intelligence around if all it does is perpetually compromise with the "below" crowd?

And listen, if this works on the creationists, what's to say we couldn't use the same technique on a few other groups that get way more than the attention they deserve? Take those idiots who still insist there's no such thing as global warming. At least the creationists are relatively harmless, but anyone who's still spouting the "no sound science" line could prove dangerous. Let's all pretend we don't even hear them anymore, and see if they don't just fade away.

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