Miss me? Sorry for the dearth of posts lately, I've been pretty busy with work and such. I have had time to read some of the latest evolution debates currently circulating the blogs, namely the one between Paul from Wizbang, and people with brains and common sense, like Pharyngula, Andy at World Wide Rant, or the Commissar at Politburo Diktat.
Basically, the argument goes like this.
Paul: "I don't believe in evolution. I can't prove it, and I won't be bothered to review the millions of pages of literature that have proved and falsified that organisms evolved from common ancestors. Therefore, science and mankind are arrogant and dumb. "
Me: "Paul, that's crazy. And dishonest. Your laziness is preventing you from learning why we even HAVE the facts about evolution, and you offer no alternative for the origins of mankind."
Paul: "You can't prove it to me, And even if I would look at the millions of pages of which you refer to, I still won't believe it because science is dumb and arrogant."
Me: "Enjoy your ignorance. And when they develop a new anti-virus for the inevitable Bird-Flu virus currently EVOLVING, I'm to assume that you won't want any of it, because, well, science is all dumb 'n stuff. And arrogant..."
Paul: "Wait, what??"
The following post by PZ Myers at Pharyngula takes the previous conversation and shows you how people should start actually answering these ridiculous arguments. Basically, enough coddling the slow and lazy, it's time to give the smackdown.
"I know what some people are thinking: just don't call them "stupid" or a "moron", it distracts from the scientific argument. Of course it does; but one thing I've learned over the years is that this is not a scientific debate. The scientific part was settled a century ago, and evolution won, hands down. There is absolutely no legitimate, intelligent argument against evolutionary theory right now.This is not to say that we know everything or that the theory is complete or that we expect no major revisions; it means that evolution in a broad sense is an inarguable fact, and what we need to know now are details and mechanisms. The earth is billions of years old, species are all related to one another, and there has been a complex and ongoing pattern of change over the course of all of that time. All of that has been supported by multiple interlocking lines of evidence uncovered by the work of thousands of people, rechecked and verified by thousands more. That's just not going to be seriously challenged by anyone sensible, let alone some ranting guy who took a general science course in high school.
The big picture is done. The ships have sailed, they've discovered the coastline of the New World, they've established a few thriving coloniesand there's a huge, exciting continent to explore. Meanwhile, we have a few lunatics in the Old World who have clamped their eyelids shut and are screaming that they can't see it.
So what's the argument about? Not science, that's for sure. The opponents of evolution don't know any. They are effective political agents who are attacking the enterprise of science without addressing the scientific issues seriously. They have been relying on their opponent's hesitation or aloofness to escape criticism of their competence or ignorance. They shout with authority when they possess none.
You know what? It's time to stop that.
When someone lies, and tells you that increasing numbers of scientists are opposing the evolutionary 'paradigm', shoot them down, but also be blunt: call 'em a liar. Don't let them get away with pretending this is an honest debate between sincere opponents. It's an argument with a shameless liar.
When they parade their ignorance and try to claim that scientists have never discovered any transitional fossils, hand them a list, and make it clear to everyone that they are stupid. They are ignorant. Don't let them skip over it and move on to yet another issue that they will misrepresent: stop everything cold at that point and hammer on the fact that this person is not competent, is not informed, is unaware of the basic facts that he is railing against."
It really is sad how ignorant people have become in this debate, but the people who will really suffer if we don't stand up to this level of ignorance are students across the country. It is no secret that America is slipping in terms of math and science education in regards to the rest of the industrialized world.
Jay Manifold over at A Voyage To Arcturus has taken this challenge head on and I highly suggest reading up on his Herculean efforts to help Kansas retain a science program in its schools that isn't infested with morons.
Probably his best points are summarized here-
"If you are an antievolutionist ...
You must believe -- like the postmodernists -- that the historical sciences are merely an artifact of the pre-existing worldview of investigators, fundamentally subjective and ultimately arbitrary.
You must suppress your awareness of the immense practical benefits of the historical sciences, even while taking advantage of those benefits.
Further, you must ignore the moral implications of a Universe created filled with (take your pick) deceptive appearances of age or a complete lack of cause-and-effect relationships (read Van Till for much more on this).
Not to overlook the obvious, you must believe in an immense conspiracy, going back a century and a half, among astronomers, biologists, geologists, and paleontologists, to prop up their contrived model and suppress alternative explanations."
So, all of you evolution-haters out there: You still want that Bird-Flu shot? Because you must be prepared to sacrifice your ignorance. Or you could remain a dishonest lying FOOL. It's up to you......