Thud mentioned “the kind of ID that also rejects short-history ‘the world is 5000 years old’ creationism.” It’s been my sense lately that “ID” is an effort by more moderate believers to distance themselves from the more literal, fundamentalist reading of a six-thousand-year-old universe. Look at the
Catholic church’s official position: the Vatican holds that God created the universe, but it makes no claim as to how he did it. Very sensible, but too sensible for fundamentalists — who often are rabidly anti-Catholic as well.
The problem lies with the fact that creationists — and I mean the hard-core, 6k variety — take the issue very personally. I once stumbled onto a teen message board of a fundamentalist sect and jumped in on the question, “Do you believe in evolution?” I found that the kids’ initial reaction was always an emotional one. “I’m not descended from primal sludge!” was a common theme. While I fail to see how the origins of my species affect my personal worth and self-confidence, the thought of being able to trace the human race back to amoebas somehow offended their sense of personal dignity.
“Something that used to be sludge can’t possibly be a child of God,” they reason. “I am a child of God,” they continue, concluding with, “Therefore, I did not evolve from primordial soup.”
Not the most well-founded syllogism I’ve ever encountered, but these are emotions we’re dealing with, not reasonable, rational responses.
Accepting evolution is rejecting God. For them, it means rejecting the very bedrock of their lives: the Bible. It makes the Bible a liar, because the use of figurative language has largely escaped them as a possible interpretation. If “And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1.5) can be interpreted figuratively, so can “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3.16). If the Bible got it wrong about biology, then what confidence can we have in it regarding salvation.
This black-and-white, either-or thinking permeates the fundamentalist world.
All we had to do was elect an evangelical president to see that.