Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's NOT a debate...

... but I won't fault Scientific American for making the effort to stamp out a very tenacious delusional meme on their home turf. A page is up on SciAm's website compiling lotsa goodies detailing the efforts of religious dogmatists in trying to sink science through sheer volume of childish bullshit.

Just as 2 girls 1 cup and BME Pain Olympics have shown us that there's no lower limit to human depravity, Kent Hovind, Ben Stein and VenomfangX have shown us that there's clearly no lower limit to human stupidity, either. Seriously, those three should just do the world a favour and go shoot themselves. Not familiar with them? Lucky for us, a certain comrade thunderf00t has a hilarious series of videos dissecting the continuous stream of garbage churned out by the creationists. Do go check his page out and be amazed! I know I was. Mostly by the incredible shit that Kent Hovind comes up with that could only have been conceived by a drug-addled mind, e.g. his "scientific hypotheses" that Earth was once enclosed by a 3-mile thick layer of ice, which melted and caused Noah's flood. Yep.

I'm quite aware that a lot of people, particularly personal acquaintances not involved in the education of children, don't see the Creationist mindset as a serious issue. They say, "So what? These people go to church, try to do good, and what they believe about the origins of life on Earth has no bearing on their ability to function as good auditors, lawyers and the like." And this is where they are wrong. Not just wrong, but hideously, naively, dangerously wrong.

Creationism is not just about undermining the most powerful known explanation for the diversity and origins of life on Earth. Consider for a moment what it takes to believe in biblical creation. Over 150 years have passed since Darwin's Origin of Species was first published. 150 years of observation, collection of evidence and an occasional absurd court case later, regard for Darwin's theory has risen from derision to reverence. In science, a theory doesn't survive simply because some scientist or other wants it to be true. Evidence is needed. Results must be replicated. Peers in the field must scrutinize every aspect of it. This is how theories are made or broken.

Yet in the face of scientific rigour, Creationism survives. The proponents of Creationism have no clever arguments turning the evidence against Evolution. They have no evidence, for that matter. More often than not, they don't actually have an understanding of scientific method, empiricism, let alone Evolution itself. The Joe Average Creationist's understanding of Evolution is nigh invariably a crude caricature, which almost always omits the timescale involved in evolutionary processes. They are not merely ignorant, but wilfully so. I for one find this utterly abhorrent, but putting my own opinions aside for now, look closer, and think: What does it take to deny Evolution?

Faith. Friend of the friendless. Like love, it is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise. The final refuge for the brutish, fearful animal in every human mind. Religion places it on a pedestal and reveres it as the virtue of virtues. In science it is worthy of nothing but scorn.

In Creationism, the religious dogmatists have drawn a line in the sand. Faith or science, nothing in between. Choose Creationism, and you explicitly reject science and its foundations. In so doing, you reject empiricism, the very backbone of the knowledge that has allowed us to establish civilization as we know it, and with it all the technical wizardry at our disposal.

But of course, they don't really go to such lengths. Well, there's the Amish, I suppose... But the point is, just as how they pick and choose the bits of scripture that suit their purposes, the religious dogmatists will in fact pick and choose what products of science suit them, with no regard for the framework of empirical truth.

And that's what it comes down to: Acceptance of Creationism is a massive step in either wilful ignorance or hypocrisy. In accepting Creationism, they have chosen to abandon intellectual rigour, they have turned their backs on an honest, sincere acceptance of empirically verifiable truth, preferring instead to fill their ears only with whatever suits them, to see what they want to see, and live by their word if and only if it is convenient to their purpose. Furthermore, without a solid backbone of intellectual rigour, this leaves their simple little minds open to all manner of childish myths, e.g. Heaven, Hell, God, Lucifer, 42 (or is it 72? meh...) virgins on the other side, Original Sin, and the like. The word of a Creationist is worthless.

Such laxity on an individual level is bad enough, but when, as in the case of the US Bible Belt, or Malaysia*, such intellectual laxity is the norm, rather than the exception, this allows people to rise to prominence on the basis of memetic strength, rather than actual ability to govern. That is, we find large numbers of highly malleable (read: gullible) people submitting to the rule of salesmen, rather than leaders.

This world is small, and getting smaller. There is no more room for the Creationist lie, or for the hypocrisy and wilful ignorance which it perpetuates. And that's all the time I could be bothered to waste on them, for now.

* Which isn't subject to highly energetic, obnoxious folly of Evangelical Christianity, but rather the infectuous, can't-be-arsed stupor of intellectually bankrupt Islam. Slipper theft optional.

1 comment:

Mike said...

you should have a look at lee strobel's "case for a creator", or any of his books for that matter. i cant decide which is more dangerous, his brand of pseudo-intellectual creationism or the bible bashing "god dunnit" attitudes that are more prominent in the evangelical community. worth a read though.