Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lies in Religion

Truth in Science (sic) supporter, Nick Cowan, as quoted on the BBC and Wongablog:

There's a sense that if you criticise Darwin you must be some kind of religious nut case.

Yup, that's right, Nick, if you peddle the lies of ID/Creationism, you're nothing but a big, bonkers, God-bothering fruitcake:

(This is over 2 hours long, but you should be in tears of laughter way before that. Link originally found in this Guardian discussion)


Paul R said...

I've followed the "intelligent design" controversy in the States for some years now. It's pretty scary.

Most of the general public, in Blighty as well as America, are not in a position to understand the ideas at stake, thanks to the piss-poor nature of science teaching.

While most Brits, thankfully, would be able to laugh off that particular goon in the video, the more sophisticated tactics of the modern "ID" movement can (and have) persuaded many (including The Glorious Leader, I am given to understand) that we should be "teaching the controversy" about evolution. It's only controversial if you don't understand it, but most people would have no answer, for example to the current "creationism dressed up as science", Irreducible Complexity.

An excellent website, by which I mean fabulous, is "The Index of Creationist Claims" at http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

It is maintained by a dedicated bunch of scientists, countering all the tired old arguments that these "preachers" routinely trot out. It makes for interesting browsing.

If you ever hear any argument against evolution from a biological, geological or astrophysical point of view, you can be pretty much assured that the rebuttal is already on there, usually written by a pretty eminent scientist in that field.

The talk.origins newsgroup can also be pretty funny. It's the place where angry creationists go to "debate" with scientists, but is also a place for interested lurkers to learn something. Keeps me entertained, anyway.

Chris G said...

Like the website, man. Hope it's not too cold in the Motherland. Is Litvinenko getting much coverage there?

Paul R said...

Yeah... my students have been talking about him. General consensus seems to be, from them and the Russian media, that there's no way Putin would have ordered a hit - too much to lose, nothing to gain. But after the KGB disbanded, lots of people went renegade, and started following their own agendas.

So, someone like the "Real KGB" or the "Continuity KGB" probably dunnit, rather than the officially sanctioned FSB.

It's quite interesting how well informed and realistic most Russians are. Perhaps all those years of state-run media have honed, rather than dulled, their critical faculties. Almost everyone believes that it was a hit by ex-KGB criminals, about whom Litvinenko knew too much.

It's Russia's current tragedy that the illegal and the unofficial hold too much power - it's obvious when you walk down the street even in Solnechnogorsk. Putin has cracked down on various liberties in an effort to fight back. As usual, the man and babushka in the street suffer all the fallout gamely, with wry wit and intelligence.

I'm beginning to see why people love this place, despite its almost outrageous flaws.

Paul R said...

By the way, are you a Pastafarian yet?

It is obvious to all that the world was created by an invisible flying spaghetti monster. Yet, our science text books continue to ignore the overwhelming evidence.

Teach the controversy!!


Chris G said...

Pshaw! The FSM is nothing but a Western adaptation of the ancient Chinese "Chow Mein" legends.

The true carbohydrate-observing ascetic recognises only the Japanese rice deity, Kome.

(This sect's creation story says that all the entities of the world were mere dull and lifeless grains until they were taken and boiled together in an ornate iron pot, imbuing them with spirit, vitality and precious bodily fluids. The so-called paella alchemists have attempted to resurrect rabbits, chickens and prawns in a similar ceremony, as yet to no avail.)

Paul R said...

Just goes to show how badly my science education was lacking, that I knew nothing of this. Someone should tell TB.

I gather that the Flat Earth Society want the controversy to be taught in Geography lessons, too.

If the Earth was a ball, everyone would fall off. Even a 4 year old child can understand that. Yet, so-called professionals in our universities fail to notice this elementary fact, so blinded are they by dogma...

Gravity, too, is just a Theory.. shouldn't we be telling our kids about alternative theories, like the Theory of Intelligent Flying, and let them make up their own minds?

Where is the harm in allowing kids access to all the unsubstantiated hocum you can possibly dream up? Surely that's what education is all about?