Not so long ago I bumped into a real-life flat-earther here in the comment section, which led me to exclaim that they were “even dumber than a YEC”. Which in turn made me think about a sort of pyramid of stupidity, ranking religion-based beliefs according to their “WTF dude” level. This would be my list, ranked from monumentally stupid to merely God-of-the-gaps wishful thinking:
- Flat Earth: The belief that Genesis 1:6-10 is an accurate description of the cosmos, and that it means that the earth is flat and unmovable, with a domed firmament above it.
- Young Earth Creation: The belief that the earth is about 6.000 – 10.000 years old, based on a literal interpretation of Genesis and doing some “math” based on the long and boring lists of “begats”.
- Young Humanity Creation: Yeah, well maybe the earth actually is kind of old, but humans came into existence when God created Adam about 6.000 years ago, since the “begats” say so.
- Noah’s Flood: The belief that Genesis 6-9 really happened. God threw a hissy fit about 4.000 years ago and drowned every living thing on earth except for one family of humans, and all of the animals on their ark.
- Full evolution denial: God created all of the millions of species on earth ex-nihilo.
- God created kinds: God created many different “kinds” of living organisms ex-nihilo. There is “micro-evolution” within these “kinds”, leading to the millions of species we see now. Homo Sapiens is -of course- a special “kind”, not related to any other “kinds”.
- God created humans: Yeah, well maybe evolution has something to do with the diversity of life on earth, but God created humans as a completely separate species ex-nihilo not so very long ago.
- God guided evolution: God created the common ancestor of all living organisms on earth ex-nihilo and thereafter somehow guided the process of evolution towards its “pinnacle”: Homo Sapiens.
- God fine-tuned the universe for life: God created the universe long ago with the exact right conditions so that life would arise on one planet in a remote corner of one galaxy, culminating in the evolution of Homo Sapiens on that planet.
Note that all YEC’s also are YEH’s and that most of them also think the Flood really happened and that God created life according to “kinds”. Note also that 9. is the only belief that is actually compatible with what we know about the universe thanks to science (one could argue that 8. is compatible as well). However, with beliefs 8. and 9. God comes across as a completely superfluous hypothesis, uncomfortably squeezed into the ever-shrinking gaps left by science.
- Are there any other more or less willfully stupid religion-based beliefs that should make this list? Where would they place in this list?
- How on earth is it possible that a sizable chunk of the population still holds these beliefs (especially 1-7) in this day and age?