Electing a young-earth creationist to make laws is as foolish as getting into a car driven by a drunk.
A member of the studio audience said, in response to an earlier posting:
[Y]our original post seems to imply that believing what young earth creationists believe contributes to death and maiming. Is this what you meant to say? That post was not a post in which I implied that what young earth creationists believe contributes to death and maiming.
This will be the post in which I make that claim.
In that post, explicitly argued that a character trait that defines young-earth creationists is a character trait that people generally have reason to discourage through condemnation because that trait leads to death and maiming. I was not talking about the belief. I was talking about the trait.
The character trait I looked at is a willingness to blind oneself to evidence. The evidence for evolution and for the Earth being over 4 billion years old is so overwhelming that only a person with a morally irresponsible disposition to ignore evidence would not accept it. Assuming only that he has the mental faculties that would qualify him as a moral agent.
THIS is the post in which I say that what a young earth creationist believes itself contributes to death and maiming.
A person cannot contribute to making sound policy on a wide range of matters - some of them being matters of life and death - without an appreciation of the fact of evolution and of an earth that is over 10,000 years old.
He cannot make sound policy on environmental matters, for example, because an understanding of evolution is vital to the understanding of how living creatures interact with their environment. It is even crucial to understanding how humans interact with their environment and, to some degree, how they interact with each other.
Young earth creationists cannot be trusted to make good policy in matters of medicine or medical care. Humans are evolved beings. Our organs are the results of hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Understanding human biology - a necessary component of understanding health issues - requires an understanding an evolved system.
Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and other natural disasters are currently understood as the results of plate tectonics, which we understand by seeing their effects on billions of years of geologic history. Young-earth creationists blind themselves to the very scientific truths that are being used to understand these phenomena, and thus prevent the death and destruction that they cause.
Agriculture and animal husbandry also depend on an understanding of evolution. We alter the composition of our crops and our herds of animals over time using the same mechanisms that nature uses to alter species over hundreds of millions of years. A person who blinds himself to facts about how natural selection works also has to be blinding himself to facts about how artificial selection works. The only differences between the two are the criteria being used to change plants and animals over time.
Young earth creationists will also ultimately be responsible for the widespread destruction of dozens of coastal cities due to sea-level rise. Their blindness to science made them perfect victims to the propaganda of oil companies who felt that feeding a few more dollars into their bank accounts was more important than preserving coastal cities from destruction. There is a strong correspondence between blinding oneself to the science of evolution and blinding oneself to the science of climate change.
Besides, the science of climate change is a science of what has happened to the Earth's climate over the past 500,000 years in specific, and more generally over the billions of years that the Earth has existed. If somebody has already blinded himself to the facts of an earth that is over 10,000 years old, then he has blinded himself to the facts relevant to climate policy extracted from ice core samples and other evidence laid down hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of years ago.
These failures will lead to policies that will get some people killed and others maimed. They will contribute to the widespread destruction of whole cities in the centuries to come and they will promote sickness over health.
People who do not understand the real world in which we live cannot be trusted to make policy that actually works in the real world.
Trusting a young-earth creationist with the power to make policy is as foolish as getting into a car driven by a drunk. You might get lucky. You might get to your destination unscathed. But you're taking a big risk. It is better to get into a car driven by a clean and (intellectually) sober driver. You still might get into a wreck, but your odds of getting safely to your destination go up significantly.
I am not saying that religious people are unfit for government office. Not only does this not imply that conclusion, that statement is not even true. I will have something to say about that tomorrow.