As discussed elsewhere in this blog, it's only human nature to have personal cognitive biases; and thinking in term of an overly simplistic "us vs. them" dichotomy where one side is favored over the other.
One recent very notable example is the left's kind of blase attitude towards President Obama, who has continued George W. Bush's military policies, torture and privacy issues despite the initial hope that he would put an end to those and focus on economic recovery. This example loudly and clearly demonstrates just how powerful cognitive bias can be.
Also discussed elsewhere in this blog: the brain has a tendency to condense information (like a jpeg) in order to process it quickly and economically. Mental jpegs are roughly defined as a subset of ideas, assumptions, traits or characteristics. Conversely, a partial or incomplete set of ideas or characteristics can elicit a mental jpeg label with the assumption that all other ideas, characteristics, etc. are associated with them.
Advertisers routinely utilize this power of association through branding. For example, Nike engineered its reputation to be associated with professional sports. Now, Nike can simply drop its logo onto a variety of products to make the consumer feel as if they are associated with the best athletes. Notice that some of the most famous brands utilize a simple logo to invoke a particular identity or emotion. The brand logos are a form of mental jpeg.
Professional creationists like to use a trick I call "Godbranding". Basically, they take advantage of the falsely dichotomous, "us vs. them" kind of thinking by simply attaching the notion of God (especially with relation to Biblical stories) to their personal opinions, interpretations, or hypotheses.
The association with "God" is a bait-and-switch tactic that can result in anyone's criticism of the individual creationist and their opinions is automatically assumed to be an "atheist" or whatever else they choose to fill in the blanks with.
A representation of this oversimplified "creation/evolution" false dichotomy might look something like this:
I call this "lumpy thinking". Not only does it imply "lumping" ideas and notions together, but it evokes the sort of intellectual laziness associated with making these kinds of broad assumptions.
("Lumpy thinking" can also work in the negative sense, based on associating different factions with a commonality of opposition. This could possibly explain why those who follow the principles of Ayn Rand [an atheist who expounded the virtues of selfishness] are odd bedfellows with the Religious Right.)
But the fact is, each of the above topics are not necessarily one and the same. As we can see, all of these concepts can be addressed independently of the other - even the notions of "creation" and "evolution".
- Yahweh created everything
- Some other god created everything
- A group or committee were the creators
- Time travelers
- Life arose by abiogenesis, and subsequently evolved on its own
- DNA was created by God and designed to evolve
- Evolution was guided by some other intelligence agent
...So one needs to be careful when engaging in debate, to distinguish between concepts and not make assumptions commonly associated with fallacious dichotomies.
I've observed similar reactions even when the religion-related ideas were shown to be obviously wrong - for example in the comments section of this entry about Harun Yahya's fossil misidentifications.
...or the numerous videos circulating on YouTube is claimed by some Muslims to be a woman or child "cursed by Allah": A dead guitar fish; A Patricia Piccinini sculpture taken from the exhibit "We Are Family"; an obviously staged fake, etc.
Many commentators refused to believe the explanations to the contrary, claiming that the debunkers were denying God/Allah and/or not aware of all the "facts".