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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rise Of Creationism In Asia

Brandon at The Biology Refugia wonders why the creationist/ID movement has suddenly gained prominence outside of the USA in the past ten years or so.

I see the rise of the movement more as an incremental phenomenon, though likely spurred on in recent times by eight years of the Bush administration.

Monuments of ignorance such as the Creation Museum and the Discovery Institute have undoubtedly ignited the enthusiasm of others who are interested in replicating these impressive results in their own country.

Brandon also asked:

"So, future intellectual historians of our times: why is this happening now? And why simultaneously in societies so different from each other and from the US, where all this started?"

That's a great question - an interesting consequence of globalization is that with the increased exposure to travel and mass media, two people in one "society" of a country can have practically nothing in common, whereas two people living in different continents may share practically the same motivations and goals.

This has and will continue to create tensions between people living in the same "society" who share the same nationality, ethnicity, language and cultural history but yet have completely different or even conflicting worldviews.

Yau-man Chan at the Skepticblog puts it this way:

"The problem I have with Chinese fundamentalist Christians is how could they discard their own history? For better or for worse, we come from an ancient culture and definitely have the baggage to show for it. We have written history as old as any Middle Eastern civilizations. We have our own legends and sagas to tell the stories of our glorious ancient past. So how can a Chinese, knowing his own culture and historical past become a Young Earth Creationist? How can a person have two histories? What kind of mental gymnastic must my YEC classmates perform to adopt the Genesis stories as real and to discard the narratives of our forebearers was mere legends?"

Considering that respect for our ancestors and cultural history is an integral part of many East Asia societies, it is curious to observe that so many people are abandoning their own identity and embracing a foreign culture wholesale.

Perhaps their own local culture is not atas (high class) enough for them.

In any case, it is interesting to discuss how these people insist on "traditional values" that are not really traditions in their own culture but are actually imported "traditions" from a Western country, eg. USA.

What do you think?

3 Comments:

Glendon Mellow said...

I completely agree with your comments about people in different parts of the world having more in common with each other than their immediate neighbours.

But at least it goes both ways, and the advantage of scientific inquiry is that results in the velocity of a falling body or the chemicals in water will not vary from place to place.

Cultural imports like creationism will diverge and differ under the various regional egos and in the long term, cannot know harmony.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Thanks for stopping by, Glendon.

I'm not as optimistic as you; here in Singapore creationists tend to be in the upper echelons of society including professionals such as lawyers, bankers, doctors and even scientists (though they are usually of the theistic evolutionist variety).

Rich, Western-educated, English-speaking (often monolingual!) and well-connected, Asian creationists/IDers are a significant social force.

I think they'll go a long way.

S.A. said...

Hope that YE Creationism will be on the dip now that we're out of the Bushes.

Obama believes in evolution and has stated so publicly.