ColorStorm told me that some atheists I praise on WordPress are rude. I defined rude in a earlier post as “when you lay unwarranted negativity on the person”. ColorStorm then told me an atheist I praise described Creationism as a retardation of our species. I think that is warranted. I think that can be defended as true. But to follow my post you are going to have to permit yourself to view the word “retard” clinically, and without the social baggage.
A species can be defined in many ways. It’s not as easy as looking at them and seeing if two individuals look similar enough: there are very different species that look very similar and other species that look very different from individual to individual. It’s not really as easy as “if two individuals can have fertile offspring”, either; that says nothing of hybridisation among plants or asexual reproduction among bacteria, or whether a Liger or Tigon are a distinct species. So, enter the competitive exclusion principle: if two individuals consume the same resource in the same niche, they are the same species.
Thus, we can assume that being Homo sapiens is defined, in some way at least, by our resources and our ecological niche. It may seem weird to think of us as having an ecological niche, after all we don’t seem to fit properly into the ecosystem. But that is precisely what our ecological niche is: we change the ecosystem to fit us. We built our environment with technology, communications, infrastructure etc. The niche our species has built helps define it and that was done by Enlightenment principles.
The Enlightenment was the start of the open exchange and criticism of ideas, and what we would now think of as sciences. Thus it is the Enlightenment that fosters the environment we build. Earthquake-proof buildings, skyscrapers, cars, telephones, the internet and even our entertainment are all built from the Enlightenment and the progress it has allowed us to build (both technologically and socially). It is, literally, a defining principle of our species.
Creationism is not compatible with Enlightenment values. Creationism must alter methods of intellectual enquiry into forms that they would never work (i.e. retard intellectual enquiry) to support its conclusions. If a detail cannot be explained with current knowledge, it argues from ignorance; if something looks a bit complicated, it argues from ignorance; some individuals argue from authority; the concept of ‘reasonable explanations’ is ignored, demanding absolute physical evidence of their opponents and special pleading for noticeably light evidence for their own conclusions; it assumes conspiracy among individuals across the globe without connection; it denies the human curiosity and the efficacy of scientific institutions and principles. These methods, assumptions and fallacies are a retardation of the principles of the Enlightenment, a defining pinnacle of our progress, or culture and our species.
UPDATE: In the comments section, Steve Ruis has pointed out that to retard means to slow progress. However, a Creationist subvert the principles of the Enlightenment and actually regresses their own progress. A Creationist is regressive, for this reason. Creationism is a retardation of our species in that it slows the rest of us down.