Friday, June 7, 2013

#586: Lita Cosner

Lita Cosner has a BA in Biblical Studies from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and is a member of Creation Ministries International. She has contributed frequently to such incisive, scientifically solid journals as Creation magazine, the Journal of Creation, and the Creation Ministries International's website, on topics such as pro-life, New Testament studies, alleged Bible contradictions and errors, and general apologetics topics, primarily from a presuppositionalist standpoint. She has, for instance, argued that the teaching of evolution makes it much harder for the church to expand and grow, since people start doubting the inerrancy of the Bible. Therefore evolution is wrong. And science is areligion, too. To bolster her argument from adverse consequences, she has also pointed out the inherent racist upshots of the theory of evolution. After all, evolutionary theory entails (according to Cosner) that “More ape-like = less evolved”. Of course evolution does not entail this, and the whole notion of apes being “less evolved” than humans is a mainstay of creationist misunderstanding. More interestingly is how Cosner can take the claim, even if it were true, to entail that evolution is racist – the tacit premise needed is rather illuminating. The whole thing is very similar to but better written than this. Creationism, of course, is not racist, since we are all descended from Noah – fully and deliberately overlooking the fact that one of the most prominent justifications for racism is exactly that very idea.

She defends the writings of G.K. Chesterton (apart from the fact that Chesterton seems to have been too sympathetic to science), and claims that “Chesterton also successfully debated some of the leading anti-Christians of his day, such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and Clarence Darrow. 17 Against Darrow, he was much more successful than William Jennings Bryan, winning the audience vote about 2–1.” Clearly Chesterton’s rhetorical skills settle the issue.

Diagnosis: Cosner’s arguments and conclusion constitute a study case of what happens to the standards of good reasoning if truth is deemed unimportant and other standards are used instead (e.g. blind faith). Her influence is probably rather limited, however.

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