The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"Slither" (2006) and Scientific Creationism

“Nearly one-half of Americans, according to a recent poll, reject the idea that humans evolved from other animals over millions of years”—Professor Barbara  J. King

Heading over to Larry Niven’s today to finalize the book proposal for The Moon Maze Game…we’re almost ready to start writing.  I’m happy with the reaction we got from our agent, Eleanor Wood…and that’s important.  I can’t spend a year of my life writing a book unless all the stars are aligned.
Studying biological anthropology yesterday (for the sequel to Great Sky Woman) and an interesting statistic came up, which triggered a chain of thought.  Just about 50% of America does not accept Evolution, believing instead in Intelligent Design or Creationism.

To me, this is somewhat bizarre, and started me wondering.  These are purely speculations, and if anyone has an answer, please post!
To what degree does this overlap with the near-50% that believes in Astrology?
Why America?  The same statistics don’t apply in Europe.
What percentage of these people are evangelical Christians?  Why them, and not Jews, who base their religion on the same ancient texts?
Where are the greatest concentrations of Intelligent Design believers?  I would assume the South…but if I got a map of the most racist parts of the country, by any chance would it correspond to maps of the Intelligent Design believers?

This last one is especially interesting, because it would explain a couple of different things, simultaneously:
Why America
Why Christians and not Jews.

And it relates to slavery (of course.)  My theory, tumbling out of my morning brain, works like this:
Slavery was an economic institution, and quite an efficient one.  (Otherwise you wouldn’t need social and political pressure to try to eradicate it, to this day).  But the control of millions of human beings needs wide support from almost every social fabric, including the church.  America was (and to a degree is) a Christian nation.  The core idea of Christianity is love, is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.)  How do you justify slavery in such a group?

Simple.  You say that slavery is good for the slave.  You say that “they” are lower than “us.”  There is a rigid order to the universe: man above the lower animals, whites above blacks. It is, in essence, a duty to enslave and educate these lower types.  Evolutionary theory and study upsets this apple cart.

I suspect that more Jews are descended from post-Civil War immigrant populations  than are Christians.  Whatever proportion of Jews were slave holders, fewer of today’s Jewish population traces their roots back to them, and therefore far fewer of them are infected by what was, at the core, a defensive belief in a biological caste system.
In my mind, one of the most damaging thing about slavery were these justifying beliefs, which outlived the institution itself, and only began breaking down in the 1970’s

At any rate, you have there a possible answer for why these beliefs are found in America more than Europe, and among Christians more than non-Christians...

Just ramblings.  The predictive capacity would be one indication of its accuracy.  If I am right, one would find a real match between areas of the country believing in Creationism, and those considered racially problematic.  And yes…blacks often believe in Creationism.  You absorb the social mores that surround you.

Does anyone have data?
SLITHER (2006)

Saw this minor classic on Monday.  Wow!  If you are a monster movie fan, if you think films like “The Blob” and “Night of the Living Dead” and “Tremors” are just the cat’s pajamas, you have just got to see THIS. 

The less you know about the plot, the better—but lets just say that a small town is infected with about every kind of gooey critter imaginable, all beginning with the landing of a suspicious meteor. “Slither” is alternately funny, scary, and disgusting—but in a good way.  For hard-core monster movie fans, it’s pretty much a bonanza.  Sex, violence, sick humor, and desperate humans struggling to stop the destruction of the entire planet.  Now THAT’S entertainment.  For lovers of such sticky things, an “A.” For all others, a “C+.”  Maybe.

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