The 1960s: The hardest argument to refute (?)

For those who may be rusty in their Latin, “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” is a type of argument that says, “After this, therefore because of this”.

If this argument that follows can be answered by people who think historically, perhaps some breakthrough can be achieved in the national controversy over science and religion.

I think this is deeply about history, the more creationists I talk to, whether YEC or ID. And the more of their books I read.

So a scientific response may not work.

Here is the flow: because of the upheaval in morality in the 1960s, evolution coming back into science textbooks after Sputnik in 1957 is to blame for that upheaval.

Pornography mid-1960s boom begins due to change in the law
Abortion 1973
Gay rights movement begins at Stonewall Inn, 1969
Communistic atheism tied to Darwinism
“God is dead” slogan of the 1960s
(Later, Naziism would be tied to Darwinism as well.)
Free love and breakdown of marriages in the 1960s
Urban violence
Racism ( Ken Ham says)

Tonight one ID person asked me, “Shouldn’t we oppose all the evil today that is called out in Romans 1?”

Today the transgenderism issue is also being tied to evolution.

He says,”Christians didn’t invent this evil injected into society and pushed onto the mainstream to accept and even celebrate. Christians need to respond.”

After evolution showed up again in textbooks, therefore because of evolution all this evil happened

How to answer this historical argument? I don’t think scientific arguments will work here

This is the hardest argument I am faced with as a historian of creationism who was born in 1970


Coupling of good, neutral and bad things in arbitrary combinations can be really misleading, as is the claim that evolution coming back to American textbooks would have caused the changes happening during the 1960s.


In many ways, “After this, therefore because of this” does fit the 1960s in the United States, particularly in light of the entire civil rights movement, or perhaps rather set of movements. However much of that was motivated by expectations formed during the Civil War, WWI, WWII and then Police Action in Korea, when the military service and often blood of sons and daughters of non-white Americans was a gladly accepted sacrifice in exchange for continued enforced, unenforced and underhanded racism. The immorality of our racist American culture and laws is older than our country and was a major factor in the 1960s. The upheaval had been centuries in the making and was the result of inconsistancy between what our national mythology and practice.

The time frame of many things on this list is simply wrong. Porn and sexually abusive industries have existed since sex existed. It’s taken different forms, and those may change, but porn has never been a problem in and of itself.

“Communistic atheism tied to Darwinism” existed well before the 1960s as did Nietzsche’s claim that “God is dead.” This doesn’t work as part of an argument for a 1960s watershed.

Naziism was tied to a lot of things. They also valued the family and gave women awards for bearing more children — I know a LOT of church families these days who value HUGE families and intende to have as many kids as possible. Guilt by association?

Free love has been practiced as long as there has been sex. It was just more carefully covered up, when it was illegal. The history of VDs is revelatory.

LIkewise, abortion was praciticed since there has been pregnancy, except illegally and therefore in ways that often lead to serious illness or death of the woman. It wasn’t new in the 1960s. It wasn’t quantifiable before it was legal.

The argument left out the availabilty of convenient, effective, reversable and eventually legal forms of birth control that helped reduce the number of pregnancies women had to experience, whether they wanted to or not.

Likewise, the breakdown of marriages has existed since there has been marriage. Before no-fault divorce, though abused women and children rarely had a way out, and to take it was social suicide. Just embroider the big red “D” on the front of your blouse. Failed marriages were easier to sweep under the rug and ignore, before divorce was more widely accessible. But they were no less immoral, and the suffering of women and children stuck in them was tremendous.

When has there not been urban violence?

And as for Stonewall, a social minority demanded equal protection under the law in the U.S., where equal protection is codified but not practiced. And that fight continues for all kinds of social minorities today.

So, no. The cherry-picked arugment does not work.

Likewise, what IS an appropriated response from Christians to any form of evil? Evils like racism, child abuse, abuse of women, unjust legal systems, legal favoritism and the like? Systems that make life harder for any group that doesn’t “get in line” with the common morality of the majority group, or that looks different, even though they are peaceful, productive members of society?
How do Christians deal with the “problem” of people who don’t honor our God or give thanks to him as also included in Romans 1? Should we rid society of them as well? Legislate them out of existence? (That’s been tried. Here.)
Again, more cherry picking.

Whatever it is, the argument in the OP is not a historical one.

There are reasons, I think, that YEC and other science-oriented apologetics have become louder and louder voices among Christians in the U.S., but they are different from this so-called historic argument.

Any YEC who is trying to use it to support the need for YEC or to justify YEC will be just as disinterested in actual history than they are actual science. These kinds of discussions have to take place over a long, long period of time and can only be fruitful, if the people involved are interested in understanding real history rather than one of the many historic mythologies that is currently in the air. The same is true for discussions about real science, which also requires, in my view, the expertise of folks whose work is above my paygrade.

I do think it would be interesting to explore the history of the ramping up of the “science” oriented apologetic systems that are so shrill these days. I think there are probably many layers, but mostly motivated by fear and power.


Scientific theories are not falsified by the claim that they have adverse consequences. If they were, then we would have to dismiss quantum mechanics on the grounds that Kim Jong-Un is using it to build nuclear weapons, or even gravity on the grounds that falling off a ladder can put you in a wheelchair.

No, scientific theories are only falsified by contradictory evidence. This means that to falsify a scientific theory such as evolution, you must do one of two things:

  1. Provide evidence that contradicts its core fundamentals.
  2. Provide an alternative theory that explains the evidence that we see in nature in more detail, with greater precision, with fewer assumptions, and with fewer unanswered questions.

And trying to do so is known as a genetic fallacy.

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This was a favorite argument of Kent Hovind too. Kendel makes some good points above, and I also like to point out that in the history of the world, religion has been used to justify many of the same things on this list, just in different forms – plenty of racism, violence (especially violence against women in many forms), and also an exclusivity that persecuted and discriminated against anyone who didn’t fit into the narrow prescribed mold.

But I’m sure we can see how unreasonable it would be to try and get rid of religion because of that. Apparently oppression and hierarchies have been part of human society for a long time, and some people will use whatever tool they find useful (religion, politics, science) to perpetuate their power. So we all have to keep our eyes open, on several fronts, rather than simplistically blaming all our problems on one thing.


Or picking a whipping boy, who is entirely unrelated to the matter in question.


It depends on what they mean by opposing evil. I think everyone can agree that all Christians are free to speak out against things they think are sinful. I celebrate their right to do so, even if I may disagree with some of the things they say. One could argue about how some of these positions may chase away current believers or possible converts, but I think we can agree that the church is certainly in their right to take these positions and talk about them.

However, if by oppose they mean use the power of law to enforce their religious beliefs onto others, then there is a problem. One of the basic contracts America is based on is that we don’t use the power of government to make people adhere to a religion they don’t belong to or to promote one religion over another.

Those pale in comparison to the sins that have existed since the very founding of this country. In our constitution we made it a protected right for people to worship gods other than the God of the Bible. We even have the protected right for people to worship idols, and to take the Lord’s name in vain. The Bill of Rights is as much an affront to Christianity as any of the things you list. Even more so since the Bill of Rights is what protects much of that behavior.

It is worth noting that both the Russian communists and German Nazis rejected Darwinism. “On the Origin of Species” was banned in Nazi Germany, and in Russia Darwinism was replaced by Lysenkoism, a version of Lamarckism. Darwinism is also accepted by Christians the world over.

That is part of a letter signed by over 15,000 Christian clergy.


Thanks for this detailed and lucid analysis of American historical views! I learned a thing or two as a Canadian. It is useful to be reminded that it is easy to get caught up in a short-term and myopic view of causes-and-effects. Blaming evolution in textbooks (or whatever philosophic stance one disdains) for the current cherry-picked bugbear in society that one feels threatened by.


Henry Morris’s book The Genesis Flood came out in 1961, thus proving that the rise of modern young earth creationism is the true cause of all those societal ills. :wink:


What I contributed is not much more than headlines. Hardly any depth. It’s stuff that anyone here should know. Mythologies seem to fascinate here far more than the most basic background in our history.

Remind him that Paul was building up to some pretty major points in the entire book of Romans - and what we call ‘chapter 1’ is just Paul getting warmed up … setting up the reader even, for the surprise pivot that Paul is going to pull in Romans 2 (making the reader aware of what Romans 1 was really about: the ease with which we see and condemn everybody else’s rampant evil.)

In other words, those most eager to keep scripture on the highest pedestals possible entirely misread Paul’s opening to Romans, and instead become excited about having another updated and confirmed laundry list of things to keep hating on. And they imagine that chapter two is just moving on to separate thoughts entirely that can be addressed at some separate point. They totally fail to see Paul’s sprung trap - even after it was sprung! It’s a bit like somebody falling for some bait and after getting their leg painfully clamped in a bear trap, remarking “Ahh - but check out this bait!”


Give human beings the ability to think for themselves and all hell breaks loose, isn’t that basically what they are saying? Their efforts to dominate, regiment, and keep people under their control is falling apart. I don’t see that as a bad thing at all.

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I guess for me it’s not even an issue because it’s a false premise. I would simply point out that different nations had different rights concerning homosexuality before USA was even a nation. We see homosexuality in the animal world for example. I would point out how we see examples of abortion practices before USA was a nation. That murder, SA, and all kinds of other crimes and sins existed before USA was a nation and then i would flip the script.

Until christianity was brought to the Americas there was no gun violence, there was no mass slave trade of other continents, there was far less animal extinctions and invasive plants.


Who misses the good old days? Not me. Discrimination against Blacks, Jews, Latinos, etc. was perfectly legal, Women didn’t have rights, .and sexual harassment in the workplace was legal. Domestic violence was considered a private matter. The environment had no protections, either. The tobacco companies were able to forestall regulation of tobacco for years. Second-hand cigarette smoke had a terrible effect on me but people were allowed to light up everywhere.

btw, pornography has ancient roots.


True, and Hitler got his early ideas of eugenics from Americans.

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The logic of the whole thing doesn’t make any sense to begin with, much less the obvious existence of antisemitism that had existed for centuries and well before Darwin. Eugenics itself is just a failed attempt to justify already existing racism by referring to a scientific theory. However, the theory of evolution never says that we should kill or prevent people from reproducing if we subjectively deem them to be inferior. It’s like throwing people off of a tall building because Newton’s laws says that stuff has to fall, or infecting people with dangerous bacteria because Koch’s Germ theory says that bacteria cause disease. A description of how nature works is not a prescription to carry out those acts. An Is does not become an Ought.


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