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It’s Everywhere… Creationism in The Netherlands

February 26th, 2009 · Posted by Hugo · 16 Comments

For those that can read Dutch: Terug Naar Je Maker. Here is my haphazard translation of the front page:


BACK TO YOUR MAKER

Valued Visitor,

It is 2009, Darwin Year. Exactly a hundred and fifty years ago, scientist Charles Darwin published his seminal book “On the Origin of Species“, wherein he introduced the theory that the evolution of species is driven by natural selection. Darwin’s evolution theory departed from the then-reigning belief that God created the earth, with all her species, in six days. Consequently, even many Christians no longer believe the Biblical Creation story. However, one man from Urk [Ed: The Netherlands], Kees van Helden, together with a number of creationist organisations, want to blow new life into the Creation story.

This month about 6 million homes in The Netherlands received a one-sided [biased] pamphlet “Evolution or Creation” from the Actie Comité Schepping [literally: Action Committee Creation?] in their mailboxes. According to van Helden and his supporters [colleagues? friends? ilk?] Creationism deserves, in 2009, a serious place in Dutch society. These blogs are protesting against this 250,000 euro costing pamphlet-campaign.

This pamphlet is unwelcome in our homes, since we can think for ourselves just fine. In addition, we find it highly objectionable that a religious opinion is forced beyond our front doors. Our plan is thus: Send the pamphlet back to its creators [makers]! Let the religious fanatics know that they must stop with pushing their indoctrination into our homes.

On this site you can find an accompanying material to send with the pamphlet, written by the columnist Luuk Koelman. You’re welcome to modify the letter as you like, so that you can add your own message.
Show your support for this action by signing. If you have a website, place a banner that links to this site and let us know.


The wording of that site feels a bit more aggressive than I typically aim for in my blog posts these days. This post’s purpose is informational in nature, sharing some of the conflict also happening in Europe; the above is a (translated) quote. The friend that informed me of this, also provided a link to an annotated pamphlet (in Dutch) [pdf... Linux/Gnome users: the annotations don't seem to work in evince 2.22.2]

Bear in mind: 6 million homes is effectively all homes in The Netherlands, which has a population of ~16.5 million people. And I hear this is a relatively uncommon occurrence, the fundies there aren’t usually as in-your-face, and the “rationalists” don’t typically respond to provocation. But won’t it be fun if the person sending out the flyers/pamphlets were to receive even just… <thumb suck> five thousand returned copies? I’d love to see a photo of that!

Categories: Religion and Science
Tags: · · ·

16 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kenneth Oberlander // Mar 1, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    And now in Hong Kong:
    http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090225/full/4571067a.html

  • 2 Hugo // Mar 5, 2009 at 1:56 am

    I picked up some feedback/comments on this post, on Facebook. Shall I get permission to duplicate some of those here?

  • 3 Kenneth Oberlander // Mar 5, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Why not…if you think they will be illuminating… ;-)

  • 4 jones // Mar 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I so wish South Africans would wake up and smell the creationist crap.

  • 5 Wim Conradie // Mar 29, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Understanding “Intelligent design” and harmonize Science & Religion a little

    Don’t know if this would be helpful for anybody, but for a long time I misunderstood the term until I looked up the formal definition.

    I believe God is behind everything created… like really everything. But I believe it the way most scientists with actual authority explain it (through evolution, etc.). For a long time I thought this was “Intelligent design” – it sure sounds like it.

    Turns out this are not “Intelligent design” at all. “Intelligent design” does not support evolution. “Intelligent design” says the cosmos is too complex for something like evolution and had to be created. This really saddens me because it doesn’t give room to acknowledge the possibility that God created evolution.

    Why can’t evolution be part of the “Intelligent design” process?

  • 6 Hugo // Mar 29, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Hehe… I’ve actually toyed with redefining “intelligent” to the point where evolution could be considered an “intelligently designing process”. I mean, when engineers start using evolutionary algorithms to find solutions, is that intelligent, in any way…? (There are people that would say “no! that’s what you do when you’re clueless!” :-P)

  • 7 Wim Conradie // Mar 29, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Lol, same goes for artificial intelligence :-)

    I guess the term and also the technique (in engineering) existed long before American creationists coined the “Intelligent design” with the current definition it has today

  • 8 Kenneth Oberlander // Mar 30, 2009 at 8:26 am

    @Wim #5.
    Intelligent design is simply rebranded creationism. Where have I read it said that intelligent design is simply creationism in a cheap tuxedo! It has been ripped to shreds by many scientists, because it basically amounts to a god of the gaps argument…Panda’s Thumb or talk.origins deal handily with many of the “issues” it raises…

    @Hugo.
    Evolutionary algorithms intelligent? Count me among the “Resounding NO” contingent!

  • 9 Karin McCathie // Apr 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Have a look at http://www.answersingenesis.org for articles, talks and more on creation from doctors, astronomers, scientists, archaeologists etc. Some very insightful, up-to-date information to give you something to think about.

  • 10 Hugo // Apr 28, 2009 at 12:35 am

    I’m quite sure all the regulars here know sites like those quite well. (answersingenesis, and creationontheweb is the other “infamous” one.) Infamous, because from the perspective of the… um… “scientifically literate” (I’m going to try to stop being as apologetic about that as I’m prone to be), answersingenesis and similar sites and organisations and seminars are full of “lies and falsehoods”. (Which is quite distinct from calling the people in charge “liars”, since most probably sincerely believe they’re telling the truth.)

    I should probably put together some stock replies, collaboratively written, to serve as background for further discussion. The simplest and most obvious response is “Have a look at http://www.talkorigins.org/ – for understanding a bit of the ‘other side’, or maybe even visit http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/ directly.”

    Or maybe better yet, resources like these: Young and Stearley, The Bible, Rocks and Time: a book by evangelical Christians aiming to help other Christians get science right.

    Apologies if I came down too hard on your comment with this. I’m hoping it just paints the background picture a bit better, so that we can get to the more interesting part of a conversation, should you be interested in chatting about it?

  • 11 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 28, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Deep sigh

  • 12 Karin McCathie // Apr 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for your reply and all the information, Hugo. I’ve had a look at some of it and I’ll delve into it some more when I have time. I just wondered how much you’ve actually looked at the articles and videos on the AiG website, as they have a lot of information and resources from some well-educated people, as do http://www.icr.org. Here is one video from a geologist: http://www.answersingenesis.org/media/video/ondemand/millions-of-years-mortenson/millions-of-years

    The Bible is the ultimate source though, with God Himself saying:
    Exodus 20:11
    For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day.”
    Jesus also quotes from the book of Genesis in Mark 10:5-7 (New King James Version)
    5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’

    Jesus also spoke of Abel as being an actual person (as some bishops are teaching that Adam was a myth) in Luke 11:51 “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.”

    Creation is a contentious issue for many but, whatever our beliefs may be, as ambassadors of Christ we need to always honour Him.

  • 13 Hugo // Apr 29, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I’ve just published another post, How To Resolve: “Genesis vs Science”. This again sketches out my views on the matter in no uncertain terms, but is not in direct response to your questions or this discussion. (It has a different angle than this discussion should take to be helpful.)

    The reason we’re not very forthcoming with responding in detail to e.g. that video clip, is because we have responded and debated with many-a-AiG-quoting creationist, extremely few of which were really interested in looking at both sides of the story. And there is *always* more material on AiG, they produce this stuff full-time. We don’t get paid to respond to these things, so we simply don’t have time to counter it all. There, with one single link, you’ve given us more than an hour of video to respond to, a thorough response would take us who knows how much time.

    Note: “one video from a geologist” is a lie. Or maybe more softly stated, stepping back from the shock-value of “lie”, it is “not true”. Quoting Answers in Genesis’ website: “With a Ph.D. in the history of geology…” So that makes him a historian, not a geologist.

    On your first assertion about Exodus: actually, the author of Exodus wrote that… ;)

    On your second point (on Jesus’ quoting of Genesis and talking of Abel), see http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH102_2_1.html for how I’d respond.

    You also speak of dishonour. What counts as dishonourable is also… a point of contention. I consider it dishonourable to associate anything with creationism. I’d cite Augustine on this, and also point out many Christians have a different understanding, an understanding not in conflict with science/evidence/creation (according to science)…

    I just wondered how much you’ve actually looked at the articles and videos on the AiG website, as they have a lot of information and resources from some well-educated people

    I’ve looked at them a lot. Too much, in fact: in the process of doing so I significantly lengthened the duration of my own (unrelated) studies and thereby postponed my entry into productive society. Also, we all know “well-educated” doesn’t mean “always correct”. ;-)

  • 14 Karin McCathie // Apr 29, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks, Hugo. I’ll have a look at your links. The author of Exodus, Moses, was writing God’s words – as it states at the beginning of Ex. 20 ‘And God spoke all these words.’
    I actually didn’t mention the word ‘dishonour’, just that we should honour Jesus – meaning that our words and actions should exhibit the love that we have for Him.
    Jesus again refers to Genesis when He mentions Noah (Luke 17:25-27 “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.) Yes, He did speak in parables at times, but when reading the Bible in context, it is clear when He is speaking in parables and when He isn’t. Here’s an article about Jesus you might find interesting(http://www.icr.org/home/resources/resources_tracts_amazing/ )

    Since I’m new to this site I was curious as to how much of the Bible you believe? Do you read the Bible much, or do you just focus on articles about it. Also, if God is real, do you think He would let the Bible be written without His guidance and inspiration?

    Some thoughts on creation: the fossil record shows evidence of rapid castrophic burial (as there would be too much decay for complete fossils to be preservered so well, and there are no transitional fossils showing the change of one species into another). For one species to change into another would require the introduction of new information, whereas changes within kinds (dog kind, cat kind etc) are the result of mutations and natural selection – a loss of information. The Bible says: 1 Corinthians 15:39
    ‘All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.’ This counters the evolutionary claim that we all evolved from one cell and are inter-related. And how can something simple evolve into something complex?

    Anyway, enough for now! Looking forward to the next instalment.

  • 15 Hugo // Apr 30, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Actually, the author of Exodus wrote that God said all those things… ;)

    “20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

    Curious thing I’m noticing: the author of Exodus wrote that God speaks of himself in the third person. (Reminds me of Napoleon.)

    Regarding dishonour, sure. By dishonouring, I mean doing the opposite of honouring.

    You’re referring to Jesus’s referral to their formative narratives again. http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH102_2_1.html still applies. I disagree that Biblical genres are “clear”, considering how much argument occurs about that very thing. And how often the scholars, who read it in more context than the typical Christian, as they consider as many sources as they can in order to understand more of the historical context.

    I took a look at that article you linked to. While it contains some bits and sentiments that I’d agree to, here and there, the overall intention of the article fails completely. It doesn’t carry much weight for me. Would you be interested in a “debunking”, an explanation as to why the things the author feels should be weighty, are in fact not?

    Let me get back to the honour/dishonour thing again. Reading creation, reading the evidence out there, it is abundantly clear to me and to mainstream science that the universe is billions of years old, and the earth too, and that evolution is a fact. From this understanding, then, literalist young earth creationists, that read scripture with “modern factual reading lenses”, are completely misguided. The Bible is not a scientific, “modernistic” text. To continue, to build on top of this then, for those that accept science and its conclusions, it is dishonourable to Jesus to compare him and his views to contemporary “science denialists”. The link I’ve now pasted twice is then a most honourable way to treat Jesus’ teachings. Can you understand and see why this is the case, when viewed from within the context I describe? (I hope so. It is a necessary skill for good communication to be able to understand one another’s contexts.)

    My take on scripture? I’m a non-literalist. I take a historical-metaphorical approach. In terms of “The Word of God”, I see the Bible as containing the primary stories and traditions that disclose the character and will of God, — as opposed to “the Words of God” — the traditional theological phrase for this is “the Bible as the revelation of God”. If you see all the human-quality imprints you find in scripture, I’d find it dishonourable to God to consider it to be a Literal Direct Transcription of Words God Spoke. (With lips? …?) I would like to return your question to you: “If God is real, do you think he would let the Bible be so misinterpreted as to cause all the many horrors done in the name of obeying ‘The Word of God’?” It’s a tough and important question to wrestle with, for Christians, I’d say. To reflect on the nature of our “certainty of what God wants”.

    Your last paragraph doesn’t contain any thoughts I have not come across before.

    Fossil record: sudden catastrophic burial that is localised would explain it well too. “There are no transitional fossils” is an outright and terrible lie. See:
    http://thinktoomuch.net/2008/03/16/batten-2-transitional-fossils-and-quote-mining/
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC200.html
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC362.html
    Direct contradiction of global-Noah’s-flood-created-all-fossils would be the sorting of the fossils in the geologic column, for example.

    On information, which is also a gross error:
    http://www.thinktoomuch.net/2008/03/20/batten-6-information/
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB102.html

    And how can something simple evolve into something complex?

    Amazing isn’t it! And that’s what much science is about, taking that question seriously, to see how it works. There is already a lot of material available out there explaining this… And your argument is known as “an argument from incredulity”. You might want to go read about that (and other logical fallacies). You may want to read my series on the creationism seminar from early last year (posts numbered 1 to 8 are most useful, link here:
    http://www.thinktoomuch.net/2008/08/23/creation-ministries-international-strikes-stellenbosch-again-noahs-flood/
    or the Index to Creationist Claims I’ve referred to a couple of times:
    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/
    That would save us both some time.)

    If you want to continue debating “the usual”, and send more questions my way, please consider some of the questions I could send your way: how did the Kangaroos get from the ark to Australia? How did sloths and penguins get *to* the ark? (They’re slow.) How did other animals that had to travel tens of thousands of kilometres survive the climates they can’t cope with, on the way there? What did Noah feed the insects, and the koalas, that need a very specific diet? How did Noah fit more than 10,000 animals on the ark, and give them all enough exercise? Why did the Egyptians and Mesopotamians not notice the flood? ;-) How did the plants and the fish survive? And the diseases? And the little creatures with extremely short life cycles? Why does Greenland’s ice-cores not show the flood, when it goes back 40,000 years according to the layers? In fact, why does Greenland have ice at all, when a flood would have broken it up and drifted it away, with the past 10,000 years being too warm for it to form anew? Why are the Sierra Nevada mountains less eroded than the Appalachian mountains?

    Those are just some questions for you to ponder. The meta-question I’m most interested in, is: does this discussion seem of great value to you, with these kinds of questions being passed to-and-fro, and if so, on what grounds? (I’m curious. If I understand that, I could maybe be more helpful.) If it is not of interest or of value to you, is there another, different kind of conversation that you would be more interested in?

  • 16 Hugo // Apr 30, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    The other thing I’m wondering: when you ask those questions, is it your desire to prove me wrong, or is it you desire to learn? I’m too used to the former, in which case the questions are all meant in a rhetorical fashion. I treat such questions differently than a sincere desire to learn.

    My questions? They are quite rhetorical. They take part in the “debate” I’m perceiving to be happening. My perception may be flawed. The aim, in any case, is to get past that kind of “debate”, to break through to constructive *discussion*. The question is: what can we discuss, constructively?

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