1 August 2010

Russian Creationism Sounds Frighteningly Familiar

Another reposting from http://www.huffingtonpost.com, regarding promoting of creationism in Russia by religious fundamentalists there, using the same tactics as their American counterparts.
According to a news story released by Reuters, Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev of the Russian Orthodox Church recently called for Russian schools to begin teaching "religious explanations of creation ... alongside evolution." The Archbishop wants to end what he called "the monopoly of Darwinism."
Archbishop Hilarion went even further, noting that "Darwin's theory remains a theory. This means it should be taught to children as one of several theories, but children should know of other theories too."
Why would Russians, apparently coming out of a godless state (apparently, I repeat), would embrace creationist nonsense, is also discussed in a recent New Scientist article. No answers are given, but the following is mentioned:
Orthodox Christianity is, however, Russia's dominant religion, and services are attended by the country's leaders, prime minister Vladimir Putin and president Dmitry Medvedev.
With pressure from evangelicals for the US to abandon the division between church and state insisted upon by Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers, and the growing influence of the Orthodox church within Russia, we could see an unlikely alliance forged between former enemies. Jefferson and Lenin would be spinning in their tombs.

Why, indeed why, would a former KGB agent become a pious follower of the Orthodox Patriarch? (Hint: were they not both doing the same job?) Is there much difference between Orthodox indoctrination and Soviet-style communism? (Yes, there is, but are there not similarities too?) How far is creationism from the dominant religion in Russia?

We don't know. But we can only observe that Orthodoxy can rapidly replace "Communism" in the minds and practices of many Russians (and they feel no contradiction at all!). And the step to Creationism is just a small one after that.

1 comment:

  1. The relationship between communism and the Russian Orthodox church has always been complicated, take for instance the many cases of modern Stalin icons (eg. http://www.monachos.net/forum/showthread.php?5591-Icon-depicting-Stalin). To many Russians Stalin was a continuation of Czar-like hard-style father figures (and the czars and the church were basically one and the same). And now, heaps of Russians also think that the only way forward is for someone to "rule" Russia and kick everyone's ass, which is the niche Putin fits in so well.

    Furthermore, with the collapse od communism there has been a huge resurgence in nationalism, going back to the "old" Russian identity and culture which involves the church in a major way



What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant