South Korea, Christianity, and Creationism

They say that South Korea is the most Christian nation on the planet today, and from what I’ve seen, it’s true. It’s living up to its reputation too; apparently they’re scrapping evolution from their textbooks in favor of Creationism.

A petition to remove references to evolution from high-school textbooks claimed victory last month after the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) revealed that many of the publishers would produce revised editions that exclude examples of the evolution of the horse or of avian ancestor Archaeopteryx. The move has alarmed biologists, who say that they were not consulted. “The ministry just sent the petition out to the publishing companies and let them judge,” says Dayk Jang, an evolutionary scientist at Seoul National University.

This is horrible news for Korean students. On a bright note, after years of coming in near the bottom of the world rankings while getting our asses kicked by Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea, the U.S. may finally have an East Asian nation whom we can surpass in science!

20 thoughts on “South Korea, Christianity, and Creationism

  1. Wtf I thought creationists were a dying breed… does this mean those television Evangelists are going to be preaching H.B.D. to Koreans now, too? FFuuu…….

    On a side note, be proud that you’re the first google search when I put in HBD and Racist, Byron. (Second when it’s HBD and Racism).

  2. The total actual # of Koreans that are Christian is smaller than Whites. However, the total # of Korean missionaries all over the world is a several fold higher than Whites. For some reason, Koreans like to travel and evalgelacize (??) is that a word? It’s like those Jehovah’s Witnesses that go door to door in pairs… (which there are lots of Koreans too in that), but Koreans like to go country to country.

    Anyways, I was caught up on the kool-aid in highschool. I (being Korean) travelled to some city in Mexico on a youth group mission w/ my Korean church and some other midwest White church. I honestly don’t know what my parents were thinking allowing me to travel to Mexico with a bunch of kids, led by young adults.

    The good thing is, if you want to do any type of humanitarian work in other countries – you can usually pair up w/ some Korean missionary/church there b/c they have offices/staff everywhere!

  3. Tommy,

    Wow, that’s awesome!

    I do wish I’d come up first when people just did “HBD,” but there are so many HBD nuthuggers who link to one another that I don’t think I’d ever be able to compete!

    Linda,

    Haha…caught up in the kool-aid! Well, I think if you’re constantly surrounded by kool-aid growing up, it’s hard to get out of it. Fortunately, a lot of us eventually see through it.

  4. “…the U.S. may finally have an East Asian nation whom we can surpass in science!”

    Sorry man, the Koreans will find a way to “out-created” our creationist students. The Koreans (or that kind of educational mindset) will never let themselves be 2nd place. Come to think of it, it’ll be pretty sad!

  5. Unfortunately, the problem with the theory of evolution is that it involves processes that take millions or even billion of years. In other words, one needs to have freaking Eternal Life in order to observe and prove these processes according to the scientific method of empirical observation.

    I think the more interesting and fundamental question is the origin of life, not evolution.

    The “scientific” explanation for this is the Primordial Soup. This is the theory that says billions of years ago all kinds of organic molecules and other glop sloshed around in the primeval seas, randomly bumping against each other, and billions of years later single-cell organism emerged, in the same the way a Mercedes-Benz does when you shake a bin full of car parts for a long enough time….

    For me, the whole debate might as well be called “Absurd and Absurder”. It turns out Creationism is the less absurd of the two.

  6. Kobu,

    You wrote:

    In other words, one needs to have freaking Eternal Life in order to observe and prove these processes according to the scientific method of empirical observation.

    No no no. That’s kinda like saying a person needs microscopes in his eyes to scientifically show that an atom exists, or that one has to run to the sun and back to know that it’s 93 million miles away. The scientific method doesn’t require direct observation. Evolution has in fact been observed in lower organisms, and it’s proven by fossil records.

    The “scientific” explanation for this is the Primordial Soup. This is the theory that says billions of years ago all kinds of organic molecules and other glop sloshed around in the primeval seas, randomly bumping against each other, and billions of years later single-cell organism emerged, in the same the way a Mercedes-Benz does when you shake a bin full of car parts for a long enough time….

    Sure, but it only has to happen once. One time. Over a billion years in a billion galaxies, it’s not statistically implausible that it could happen just one time.

    Let me ask this: what’s less plausible, creating a single cell organism or creating an omniscient being who eventually created that single cell organism? Even if it’s implausible that life was created randomly, it’s even less plausible that God was created randomly.

  7. The “Irreducible Complexity” argument is the most difficult challenge to Evolution that I’ve come across so far. But certainly, as the predominant scientific theory of origins it should be taught on that basis alone. I however, have no objection to presenting alternate theories, rebuttals, or challenges along with Evolution however. Otherwise it becomes just another form of religion.

  8. Of course it isn’t surprising that some organised cults want the theory of evolution removed from school textbooks. Evolution as it is presented now, is presented only as unquestioned explanations regarding the origins of life as we know it. How people came to this conclusion, how their views have changed, the other anxillary discoveries that helped evolve the theory like geology and the interpretations of the fossil records, these things are never discussed or even hinted at. Due to the huge gap of time that we will be unable to bridge, our theories of evolution must necessarily be works in progress, not just alternative sets of beliefs. In this regard, public education fails and will continue to fail because it has become less concerned with human development but more with human training and conformation.

    On the other hand what motivates a lot of people to turn to religion is the backlash against the anti-human and reductionist themes and discourses prevalent among the intellectual elite in the first place. I’ll give you an example. The Catholic church in the Philippines is constantly under attack for its stance against contraception and abortion. The fact that this church for years has been the only organised movement to have taken a stand for the human right to exist has never mentioned. Without this Church the people of the Philippines would have long ago been subjected to sterilisation programs and predatory abortion and birth control, as has already happened everywhere in the world, but on a massive, not isolated, scale.

  9. “Sure, but it only has to happen once. One time. Over a billion years in a billion galaxies, it’s not statistically implausible that it could happen just one time.”

    Part of the problem today though is just how insanely complexity things like proteins and enzymes turned out to be. In the 1800s when Darwin was first theorizing, these things were thought to be relatively simple. But today, the ‘primordial soup’ concept is kind of like saying, given enough time, somewhere in the galaxy, on some lonely planet, you might find a swamp filled with naturally occurring Smith Corona Electric Typewriters.

    The problem certainly doesn’t explain origins, but it does make origins more difficult to explain.

  10. Np, King!

    I skimmed the article since I have already watched a program discussing the same subject (I think it was on Discovery a few years ago). They tackled the subject of “Irreducible Complexity” in a pretty convincing way by looking at the oft cited example of the bacteria in the article.

    Most of the biologists I’ve interacted with seem to think that evolution is a pretty solid theory. Incidentally, many of them still believe in God, and do not see the theory as being threatening to their faith at all. They probably don’t take the bible quite as literally as other folks do.

  11. Sure, but it only has to happen once. One time. Over a billion years in a billion galaxies, it’s not statistically implausible that it could happen just one time.

    The problem is that even well-respected scientists who really ought to know better say the same thing. It’s like all of a sudden, the Law of Entropy doesn’t exist or matter anymore. I’m not concerned with variations in finches beaks or a fossil of a flying dinosaur that may have been the precursor to modern birds. I’m saying, explain to me exactly how we go from molecules floating around in the Primordial Soup to things like dinosaurs, finches, and so on. Has this ever been proven in a lab as a controlled, repeatable experiment? Or is this just something that may happen in a billion, gazillion years spread over billions of galaxies.

    My big problem is not that evolution contradicts the bible. It is that evolution contradicts science itself. Your statement above is not a statement based upon science but a statement based upon dogma and blind faith. What you’re describing is a miracle.

    Let me ask this: what’s less plausible, creating a single cell organism or creating an omniscient being who eventually created that single cell organism? Even if it’s implausible that life was created randomly, it’s even less plausible that God was created randomly.

    One does not have to be an expert in theology to realize this is a nonsense statement. No one created God. He is not part of Creation. God is eternal. That’s why he calls himself “I AM”. He just is.

    Both religionists and non-religionists have to account for something that by any measure is basically a miracle.

    However, one group is saying that the rabbit was pulled out of the hat by a magician. The other group is saying that there’s no magician, no hat, and the rabbit…just…poof…appeared.

    Which is more absurd? Guess which camp you belong to.

  12. The Christian need to conform the world to what they know makes the world a stunted place.

  13. Kobu,

    Law of Entropy? This has nothing to do with entropy. You could take, say, a box full of dice, turn it upside down, and wind up with snake eyes on all of the dice. There’s no law in physics or any of science that says it can’t happen, and in fact, everyone has seen random “miracles” happening at casinos all over.

    I’m saying, explain to me exactly how we go from molecules floating around in the Primordial Soup to things like dinosaurs, finches, and so on. Has this ever been proven in a lab as a controlled, repeatable experiment? Or is this just something that may happen in a billion, gazillion years spread over billions of galaxies.

    There are two steps. The first is the creation of life, which is statistically rare but evidently happened. The second is evolution, which explains how you go from single cells to dinosaurs and so forth.

    One does not have to be an expert in theology to realize this is a nonsense statement. No one created God. He is not part of Creation. God is eternal. That’s why he calls himself “I AM”. He just is.

    I’ve got a few issues with this statement. The first is that I don’t believe in God. The second is that I don’t believe he called himself “I am,” since I don’t believe he exists. Third, if God doesn’t exist, theology isn’t really a legitimate study of anything real. In order for me to argue along this line, it seems–and correct me if I’m wrong–I have to accept that the Bible is true, especially since he only called himself “I am” in the Judeo-Christian Bible and not in any other religion. And if I accept that the Bible is true, then I’d have to also accept that the world is flat and was created in 6,000 years, which means science is wrong anyway, so it wouldn’t be worth arguing in the first place.

    However, one group is saying that the rabbit was pulled out of the hat by a magician. The other group is saying that there’s no magician, no hat, and the rabbit…just…poof…appeared.

    Let’s backtrack for a second. So let’s assume we have a single cell. Do you believe it can evolve into a more complex cell or group of cells? If so, going from that one cell to a rabbit over millions or billions of years isn’t such a big deal. In labs, we do see lower organisms developing different traits, such as immunity to certain external influences. That would be evolution.

    Now on the issue of life, I do agree that it’s a rare occurrence and hard to duplicate. But I still think it’s much easier for a single cell to randomly appear than a magician or god. An amoeba is far less complex than a god who controls and creates universes. It would seem to me a legitimate question to ask where god comes from, if indeed he is the one who created all this.

  14. Law of Entropy? This has nothing to do with entropy. You could take, say, a box full of dice, turn it upside down, and wind up with snake eyes on all of the dice. There’s no law in physics or any of science that says it can’t happen, and in fact, everyone has seen random “miracles” happening at casinos all over.

    You fail to grasp an understanding of the underlying metaphysics involved.

    Is there something or someone turning that box upside until all snakesyes is achieved in your hypothetical scenario? Or this happening by itself? Or how about the fact that a consciousness has to exist, apart from the box-filled dice, to ascribe a special meaning to dice showing all ones?

    This fails as an analogy to evolution because in evolution, there is no “you” or “everyone”!!!

    I’m going to ask you a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question:

    Let’s say our radio telescopes detected an electromagnetic signal from outer space. Measurements indicate that it’s of non-Earth origin. When decoded, this signal turns out to be an ongoing series of prime numbers. Would you say this is a reasonable evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence?

    I’ve got a few issues with this statement. The first is that I don’t believe in God….

    It’s not about what you believe or don’t believe.

    It’s about having a logical, structured discussion. If you insist on making statements or conjectures about God, then at least you must adhere to the definition of God. This is really not an unfair request. Otherwise, if basic definitions are a moving target, then the discussion quickly turns into a pile of shit.

    You agree this applies to a debate about anything, not just about God, right?

    God is eternal, not created. That’s what makes God…God.

    If God was created, then he is no longer God. He might just as well be a super-advanced extra-terrestial intelligence that planted the seeds of life on Earth. Which then begs the question, who created ET?

    Claiming that you don’t believe in God but availing yourself of the liberty of making statements about God anyway using a contrived definition of God that suits your own bias is not only intellectually dishonest but deprives us of even having the notion of non-specious logic as the common middle ground for conducting sensible discussion.

    There are two steps. The first is the creation of life, which is statistically rare but evidently happened. The second is evolution, which explains how you go from single cells to dinosaurs and so forth.

    OK, fine. Prove it.

    Let’s backtrack for a second. So let’s assume we have a single cell. Do you believe it can evolve into a more complex cell or group of cells? If so, going from that one cell to a rabbit over millions or billions of years isn’t such a big deal.

    We don’t even have to bother with a rabbit. A single cell is already complex enough as it is. In fact, it’s orders of magnitude more complicated than a computer chip. Because a cell is also like a factory that can manufacture protein and replicate itself. A computer chip cant replicate itself. In fact it takes a huge factory to produce computer chips.

    So your question is orders of magnitude worse in terms of probabilistic feasibility than asking if the latest processor from Intel can “evolve” into a laptop over billions of years (by itself, of course).

    Yet, for you, only one of these hypothetical scenarios is ridiculous.

    When something requires all kinds of bending of logic, mental gymnastics, and reality distortion in order to assert itself, it begs for Occam’s Razor.

    In labs, we do see lower organisms developing different traits, such as immunity to certain external influences. That would be evolution.

    No, this is called “adaptation by natural selection” (see above about proper “definitions”).. This is proven and empirically observable, as you indicate. It doesn’t take billions and billions of years to observe fruit flies or bacteria undergoing changes over multiple generations. Different from evolution.

  15. Kobu:

    “You fail to grasp an understanding of the underlying metaphysics involved.”

    “Metaphysics” has nothing to do with tossing dice. Or science. When we’re talking about determining physical outcomes of physical phenomena, science has answered such questions better than religion has.

    I’m going to ask you a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question:
    Let’s say our radio telescopes detected an electromagnetic signal from outer space. Measurements indicate that it’s of non-Earth origin. When decoded, this signal turns out to be an ongoing series of prime numbers. Would you say this is a reasonable evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence?

    I’m not sure where you’re going with this, but I’m interested. So I’ll go along with your request. My answer is NO.

    It’s about having a logical, structured discussion. If you insist on making statements or conjectures about God, then at least you must adhere to the definition of God. This is really not an unfair request. Otherwise, if basic definitions are a moving target, then the discussion quickly turns into a pile of shit.

    Fair enough, but no one has proven the existence of god or God. And I was using the dictionary definition of “god” or “God.”

    God is eternal, not created. That’s what makes God…God….If God was created, then he is no longer God.

    Not according to the dictionary:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/god

    “the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.”

    You’ll notice it says nothing about whether he was created. You’re using the Judeo Christian text to define God–taking the words of a questionable text to make questionable statements. I’d say that we use the dictionary definition just to make sure we’re on the same page.

    Claiming that you don’t believe in God but availing yourself of the liberty of making statements about God anyway using a contrived definition of God that suits your own bias is not only intellectually dishonest but deprives us of even having the notion of non-specious logic as the common middle ground for conducting sensible discussion.

    Again, I’m using the dictionary. It would be intellectually dishonest to make up a definition if I accepted the Bible to be 100% true and “knew” it not to be the case, but I don’t accept the Bible. Most educated people don’t (although I do acknowledge that there are some educated people, like yourself, who do.). So we’re going to have to work from that.

    No, this is called “adaptation by natural selection” (see above about proper “definitions”).. This is proven and empirically observable, as you indicate. It doesn’t take billions and billions of years to observe fruit flies or bacteria undergoing changes over multiple generations. Different from evolution.

    Nope. Again…let’s use the DICTIONARY.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/evolution

    “3. Biology . change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.”

    All it is is a change in the gene pool.

    Look, Kobu, I appreciate your loyalty to your religion. But I think you’ll agree it’s pointless for us to argue for your religion while requiring me to accept the truth of your religion before arguing it. You’re talking about Occam’s Razor, which I agree with, but it’s crazy to say, “I can’t understand it so it must all be from god.” To me, that’s not Occam’s Razor; that’s running from logic.

    You asked me to prove evolution. If I might recommend a book that does a decent job explaining how evolution works, I’d recommend The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Selfish-Gene-Edition-Introduction/dp/0199291152

    He’s a scientist who wrote a book on the topic. I’m not a scientist (at least not professionally), and I haven’t written a book. :)

    Dawkins also has a great book on atheism called The God Delusion.

  16. At the risk of getting drawn into a “yes it is! and “no it isn’t!” argument, why is it either/or?

    Why isn’t the human quest for truth a combination of factors? Are we confusing religion with the concept/notion of God and what it is? I am not an atheist, I am sometimes agnostic but tend to believe something is there—but I do take science to be a way for humans to understand and verify what we can know with what knowledge we have. And that has limitations too. I do have problems with scientists who are so closed off to possibilities due to the inherent skepticism in their work. I think sometimes there are some phenomena that cannot be explained with the scientific process with any satisfactory answers.

    Yet, I am not convinced at all by Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious dogma that the answers are there either. But I don’t discount the notion of humans seeking something outside of themselves in something bigger and more powerful than we can possibly know. This is where faith comes into play…..I don’t have a problem with spirituality, but I do have problems with religious dogma and any kind of hierarchy that stands between the individual and their belief in a Cosmic Engineer. It’s not to say it’s all bad—it can be a good guide to point one in the right direction but when it becomes a bureaucracy and man made dictates and used to wield power, well, then I start having problems.

    And that’s why I ask, “Isn’t there some middle ground?” Evolution, creationism? Random or by design? Why isn’t anyone taking a middle ground, a more agnostic approach?

    Physicist and author Brian Greene said in an interview about the notion of God:

    “My view is that science only has something to say about a very particular notion of God, which goes by the name of “God of the gaps”: if you are trying to understand the world around you and science has not yet given an explanation for some phenomenon, you could step back and say, “Oh, that is God.” Then, when science does explain that phenomena — as it eventually does — God gets squeezed out because he is no longer needed to explain that phenomena.

    But that is a very particular and simplistic notion of God. No matter what physics does, you can always say there is God behind it: God set up the rules the physics, God set the environment within which those rules play themselves out. Do I feel that we need that? No. Do I subscribe to it? I do not. But does physics rule that picture out? No it doesn’t.

    I think the appropriate response for a physicist to is to say: “I do not find the concept of God very interesting because I cannot test it — I cannot rule it out in the traditional ways.” And what excites me and makes me want to go to my office is to work on things that I can test. For me, God is not that interesting but I do not think God is ruled out. That is a statement that’s unjustifiable.”

    I do disagree with his notion of not finding God interesting just because one cannot test for it, because that mindset also puts limits on possibilities, and I do find it fascinating–but not in the way that religion chooses to conceive of their God. But either way, it comes down to faith. I’m not too interested in who’s right or wrong, I’m just concerned with MY own truth and understanding of the universe and my place in it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


three − 1 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>