Young Earth Creationists, and True Believers

‘When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?’
Attributed to economist, John Maynard Keynes[1]

Whether or not Keynes actually said this[2], it is nevertheless an excellent approach to study and, indeed, to life in general. Furthermore, the telltale hallmark of a fanatic is someone who proudly, and steadfastly, refuses to adopt such an outlook.

I recently watched an interview with the outspoken evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins[3], in which he described an exchange he had had with a ‘young Earth creationist’ (ie. someone who believes that the Creation story in the Bible is literally true, and thus the Earth is only a few thousand years old – yes, such people exist). The chap in question is an American ‘Geologist’ called Kurt Wise[4], and he apparently declared that, even if every single bit of evidence completely refutes his preferred ‘young Earth’ theory, he would still believe in it, because ‘that’s what’s written in the Bible’.

And there is no reason to doubt Dawkin’s account as, despite holding a PhD from Harvard University (would you believe), Kurt Wise has freely admitted that he has absolutely no interest in the facts or evidence when it comes to the study of the Earth:

‘I am a young age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate’.[5]

One has to admire Mr Wise’s candour – if not his academic rigour. If nothing else, by spewing out this utter nonsense, he confirms that, simply because someone has academic qualifications, this does not mean they should necessarily be taken seriously on a given subject. A couple of South African ‘Professors’ spring to mind.

As Dawkins noted on the position adopted by Kurt Wise:

‘he volunteers that, even if all the evidence in the universe flatly contradicted Scripture, and even if he had reached the point of admitting this to himself, he would still take his stand on Scripture and deny the evidence. This leaves me, as a scientist, speechless… We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference’.[6]

And, in his book, ‘The God Delusion’, Dawkins went a little further:

‘[The] Kurt Wise story is just plain pathetic – pathetic and contemptible’.

Kurt Wise’s ostrich-head-in-the-sand approach of sticking fanatically to an illogical and untenable chosen position – in the face of any and all actual evidence – reminds me very much of those who passionately defend the National Party version of the Boer War. And just like Mr Wise, it really doesn’t matter how many times one shatters the True Believers’ preferred myths, or how much new information one provides them, they are simply not interested in altering their conclusions. Thus, their loyalty to the myths is – just like that of Kurt Wise – more akin to membership of a religious cult, than a considered academic position.

Time and time again, it can be demonstrated to the Defenders of the Myth that, for example, the Boers had been planning to attack the British since 1887; or shown that there were no British troops ‘massing on the border’; or that the republics were the ones who declared war and invaded; or that the Boers didn’t ‘win every battle’; or that their invasions of Natal and the Cape were not ‘defensive in nature’; or that there weren’t ‘half a million’ British soldiers, all blundering about the veldt; or that the British didn’t wear red jackets, and stand shoulder-to-shoulder to deliver volley fire; or that the war didn’t ‘almost bankrupt the Empire’; or that there was no attempt at ‘genocide’ in the Concentration Camps…

All these things – and countless others – can be proved to them with exhaustive evidence, and using dozens upon dozens of references. But they will never actually take any of this information on board, and process it in a mature and open-minded fashion.

Instead, and rather like the risible Kurt Wise, these people have proudly adopted the position that, even if all the evidence in the universe proves the Apartheid-era myths about the Boer War to be false, they will still slavishly believe these fantasies, because – just like the ‘Young Earthers’ – that’s the version they want to be true.

Which strikes me as a little pathetic and contemptible.


[1] John Maynard Keynes, 1st Baron Keynes, CB, FBA (1883 – 1946), brilliant British economist and philosopher. His ideas fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. In addition to being an economist, Keynes was also a civil servant, a director of the Bank of England, and a part of the Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals. In 1999, Time magazine included Keynes among its Most Important People of the Century, stating that ‘his radical idea that governments should spend money they don’t have may have saved capitalism’. The Economist magazine described Keynes as ‘Britain’s most famous 20th-century economist’.

[2] Or, depending on which source you believe, something similar like: ‘When someone persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?’ or ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’. Other sources even attribute the comment (like pretty much every other witty remark) to Sir Winston Churchill

[3] Richard Dawkins FRS FRSL (born 1941). A British evolutionary biologist, zoologist, emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, and best-selling author. A vocal (strident?) atheist, Dawkins has written many books on the subject, including ‘The Selfish Gene’ (1976), ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ (1986), and ‘The God Delusion’ (2006)

[4] Kurt Patrick Wise (born 1959). An American young Earth creationist and Director of Creation Research Center at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia. Rather incredibly, he has a PhD in Geology from Harvard, and contributed to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky

[5] Wise, In Six Days: Why 50 Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation

[6] Dawkins, ‘Sadly, an Honest Creationist’


  • Colin Posted April 26, 2024 11:30 am

    An excellent comparison Mr Ash !

  • Niall Beazley Posted April 26, 2024 12:31 pm

    Wise words Chris that explain why there are so many idiots in the world. What happened to good old common sense? If I make a mistake and I am shown the mistake, own up to it and adapt your views accordingly. How people can hang on to their delusions when the evidence is staring them in the face is simply lacking common sense. Go figure?

    • Bulldog Posted April 26, 2024 12:38 pm

      I think some of the ‘academic’ True Believers have painted themselves into a corner. If one has built a career on spreading these myths, it takes more courage and honesty than they are able to muster to own up to their mistakes, and admit that they have spent decades teaching students National Party propaganda. Hence, they instead double-down on the ludicrous Apartheid-era version, and do anything they can to keep it staggering on a bit longer.

  • Stephen Hunt Posted April 26, 2024 2:58 pm

    Very well put Chris, although given that Paul Kruger believed that the earth was flat, are you surprised ?

    When I lived in South Africa in the 1960s, we had an Afrikaans friend who believed literally in the “Curse of Ham” from the Old Testament. This has been used to justify the enslavement of Blacks by Afrikaaners (amongst others).

    So I wouldn’t keep your hopes up for a change in attitude anytime soon!

    • Bulldog Posted April 27, 2024 8:00 am

      Yes, I think the warped, National Party, outlook will only dwindle away in the coming generations. Many South Africans are too deeply invested in the Apartheid-era myths being true to ever give them up.

  • Gordon Williamson Posted April 27, 2024 10:55 am

    The older fishermen from my island always said that it didn’t matter how many times you changed your mind, as long as it was for the better.

    • Bulldog Posted April 27, 2024 11:22 am

      Constant improvement is never a bad thing!

  • Stranger Here Myself Posted April 29, 2024 1:11 am

    Ironically, Dawkins is (or was) almost as dogmatic in his beliefs, as shown in a 2013 interview:

    [Peter Boghossian] ‘What would persuade you [to believe in God]?’
    [Richard Dawkins] ‘Well, I’m starting to think nothing would, which in a way goes against the grain because I’ve always paid lip service to the view that a scientist should change his mind when evidence is forthcoming. Trouble is, I can’t think what that evidence would look like.’

    (Dawkins has become rather Christian-sympathetic, describing himself recently as a ‘cultural Christian’, and (very sensibly) observing ‘If I had to choose between Christianity and Islam, I’d choose Christianity every single time. I mean, it seems to me to be a fundamentally decent religion, in a way that I think Islam is not.’

    • Bulldog Posted April 29, 2024 4:35 am

      The more strident and outspoken Atheists sometimes come across as being every bit as closed-minded and dogmatic as those they rail against.

  • Chris Posted May 2, 2024 7:18 am

    So Chris you thought that you had reached the bottom of the – true beleiver barrel ?
    Well here is a new one ..
    British medical experiments on woman and children in the Concentration camps
    Young Afrikaner girls used for the pleasure of British troops
    Of course no references or proof provided

    The ranting about illegal immigrants does however have some substance to it.

    • Bulldog Posted May 2, 2024 8:20 am

      I have a feeling we will never get to the bottom of the True Believer barrel of self-pitying myths.
      As far as entertainment goes, they are the gift that keeps on giving.

      • Chris Posted May 2, 2024 8:43 am

        Apart from general – “blathering” without any proof

        Here is some formal research

        “Sexual Relations between British Soldiers and Boer Women:
        A Methodological Approach”
        John Boje

        Available for download from University of Pretoria
        Lots of footnotes and references
        Especially in connection with an oft quoted book ..
        Nico Moolman, “The Boer Whore: O.H.M.S., Valuable Commodity – Handle with Care”

  • Chris Posted May 2, 2024 9:11 am

    Dr John Boje

    You may find this interesting

    His PhD thesis

    “Winburg’s War: An Appraisal of the Anglo-Boer War as it was Experienced by the People of a Free State District”

    Always stop over in WInburg on the way to the Cape
    Many people do not because it is off the N1 / N5

  • Chris Posted May 2, 2024 9:24 am

    Google is leading me along merrily

    A grave of some significance is that of Alice Draper who died at the age of 17 on the 6 January 1902. She featured as a young girl dying of the fever in the book written by Nico Moolman, ‘The Boer Whore’ (Ref 2). It happened at the beginning of the book and so-to-say set the scene for what was happening around and to the heroine, Susan Nell.

    Will have to make a plan to stay over in Winburg – in some future time

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