Why do some people reject science

More and more creationists in Europe

"Just unbelievable!" With a red head and visibly excited, the just over 60-year-old walked up to a person - a hyper-realistic reconstruction of Lucy, the world's most famous and 3.2 million years old, made of silicone Australopithecus afarensis. After a few minutes of complete confusion it was clear that the man was living in a different, biblical calendar - for him the earth's history only lasted 6,000 years. But he wasn't primarily bothered by Lucy's evolutionary age - he was more indignant about her naked body. "You absolutely have to cover them! It's almost as bad as on the beach!"

Lucy is standing on the evolution staircase in the central hall of the Prehistoric Museum Moesgaard in Denmark and is truly one of the stars here: The new attraction caused the number of visitors to the museum to skyrocket from 10,000 to 500,000 in the first year. During the scientific reconstruction, particular care was taken to depict an individual person and not just an evolutionary ancestor of today's humans. And there she stands now - dark-skinned and wild, three feet tall and with a confident charisma. The angry visitor was a supporter of the creationists and did not even recognize the monkey in her - he only saw her naked body. History meant much less to him than morals, and the exhibition did the rest.

This article is included in Spectrum - The Week, 47/2016

We have already made our experiences with a number of creationists. This includes very different people from the most diverse religious communities. They live in the cities as well as in the country; some are very educated and part of the establishment, some are not. Sometimes they are organized in groups and financially well-funded, sometimes they are not. Many have committed themselves to a certain cause - some feel themselves to be missionaries and want to spread the doctrine of divine creation as an antipole to evolution, others tend to stay to themselves. And despite all the differences, they have one thing in common: They are all Europeans.

Creationists as part of the religious elite in Russia

So far, creationism has only been considered an American phenomenon - but those days are definitely over. Although the movement originated in the USA, it is currently spreading across the world. So far there is no organized community in Europe; the individual groups still differ greatly from country to country. The movement can create identity in smaller, local religious communities, but have little overall influence - for example in Scandinavia. Elsewhere, the followers live in a well-organized subculture - for example in the Netherlands. And in some places they are part of the religious elites with considerable political power - the best example of this is Russia.

Although their number in Europe and their influence in schools and local authorities grew steadily, most creationists went undetected and did not cause any major problems. At least not until about ten years ago, when the Council of Europe openly warned of the rise of creationism and made clear the possible threat to the education system. This was the first time that the movement became known to a broad public; a debate was stimulated. Public opinion polls have been used across Europe; In Turkey, the results of some surveys on the Internet were even influenced by supporters. In addition, books, pamphlets, and websites were published, and the media began to take an interest in the phenomenon.

Investigative journalism was finally trying to understand who the creationists actually are and what they want. According to their research, most of them just rode around on the argument about evolution and creation, with Darwin being put in one corner and God in the other, only to appear briefly the next time the bell rang. But the tricks of the American creationists were not yet known to European journalists, and they too often fell into standard statements about a balanced view of things and an attempt to look at everything from two sides. New cover stories and commentaries described the differences between science and religion as a matter of personal preference. And when this was missing, they helped the creationists to debate and thus made them heard in public.