Larissa Carneiro’s Presentation at Conference in Material Religion at Duke University

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This past weekend, Larissa Carneiro presented part of her dissertation at the Conference in Material Religion at Duke University.

Her paper investigates how Creationism mobilizes natural objects as agents in order to  turn the Book of Genesis into an account of scientific truth. She shows how this is done by comparing two different networks in which the brute facts of nature (ice, water, rocks, fossils, etc.) are assembled according to two different worldviews and made to produce different “truths.” Creationism, inspired by Scottish Realism, conceives that all matter is dead and inert, which subjugates its role to divine intervention. According to Creationists, by attributing evolutionary skills – self-determination – to the brute facts of nature, evolutionists deny the power of God over nature. She argues that if Creationism cannot be considered a science, it is not because it fails to follow the four features that Robert K. Merton described as the normative structure of science (as US courts have ruled in cases against Creation Science). It is because all the material actants of its network only work as witnesses to God’s existence. In short, what makes Creationism religion is its concept of materiality.

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