The official blog of University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists, & Agnostics
Bad ideas are like diseases.
Some ideas are viral; they emerge from dark corners of the world and spread from person to person. They move in chaotic but predictable ways. Certain populations can be more susceptible, and others are wholly immune. Some are benign, some are fatal. Some are static, and some change so quickly they become unrecognizable. There are many examples, religion being the most abundant and variable.
Others are more like parasites, leaching the blood of more useful ideas. The best example of this is the way the ridiculous and bigoted prejudices of the political right have become engorged off the sensible notions of fiscal conservatism.
And some ideas are malignant tumors on society.
Real cancer is caused by a defect in the genetic code of a cell. The mutation results in the unregulated growth and division of the cells, or the failure of the cells to die when their usefulness is exhausted. When these cells divide and propagate, so does the defect. Soon, the cells begin corrupting the body which contains it, eventually supplanting the surrounding tissue, overwhelming the organs, and killing the host.
Creationism is an ideological cancer. It is deeply rooted in our society, and it grows and festers slowly. It fractures and becomes lodged in unexpected places. Many cancers are the result of mutagens in the environment, but some are facilitated by viral infection. The human papillomavirus (HPV) is strongly linked to cervical cancer. Hepatocellular carcinoma, a cancer of the liver, can be caused by the hepatitis virus. Likewise, viral religion weakens the mind of infected individuals, making them more susceptible to the growth of metastatic creationism.
A mind that willfully denies the collective evidence of biology, geology, physics, history, chemistry, and every other legitimate modern field of discourse is suffering from a sickness. If you believe in creationism, your brain is diseased.
But unlike its biological equivalent, this type of cancer can be readily cured by a sufficient force of will. If you are afflicted, I strongly and sincerely hope you seek the proper treatments:
Stay healthy friends.
James is a graduate of the University of Missouri, Columbia. He is a research biologist specializing in the molecular evolution of invertebrates. If you would like to pay James to do science for you or your laboratory, please post in the comments. Also, feel free to visit his subpar research blog.