Creationist and anti-creationist exemplar constructs
Some creationist and anti-creationist publications feature ideal or exemplary persons. These persons are often fictitious literary creations, but sometimes they are real people who tell their stories. These invented or true stories exemplify important aspects of the groups' positions and the conflict as it appears from their vantage point. For instance, creationists perceive that their entire society is morally damaged by the triumph of evolutionism. But this social damage is, ultimately, always suffered by individuals, and becomes apparent in their individual actions and stances. This means that the kind of social reform the creationists envisage also entails the personal repentance or conversion that comes with accepting creationism. It is not surprising, then, that there are creationist publications that depict the moral dimension of the reference question through the presentation of ideal or exemplary persons. Professional anti-creationists make use of such persons as well. In this chapter, three such persons from different groups are presented and compared to each other. In what situation do they find themselves? What kinds of problems do they encounter, and what solutions are suggested by the group that created them? What is their intellectual and emotional journey, and what is the conflict that surrounds and influences them? We will see that there exists a direct link between the position of the group and the exemplary person created by them. The persons are exemplary in that they experience the conflict the way the group does. They mirror the way the groups perceive themselves and their opponents in the field. Looking at exemplary persons helps answer the question as to what extent the groups perceive the conflict as based on questions of morality, institutional authority, or facts.
Kaden, T. (2019). Creationist and anti-creationist exemplar constructs, in Creationism and anti-creationism in the United States, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 155-165.
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