Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Someone just doesn't get it

I came across
this ignorant post a couple of days ago at a blog called Otherwise Known As Kevin Miller (XI), which just made me have to comment on it. Unfortunately I've been busy, so I haven't had time to do so before now.

Well, on to the post, and my comments to it.

While I'm excitied to see so many people discussing Expelled, what disappoints me is how utterly predictable it all is so far. The Darwinists are tearing their clothes and sprinkling ashes on their heads on their blogs, while the Intelligent Design advocates are crowing about finally being able to stick it to the Darwinian establishment on their blogs. Two solitudes that have been going on ad nauseum.

Right from the onset it's clear that we are dealing with a Creationist or a neo-Creationist, since he refers to people as "Darwinists". Here I suppose that he is refering to the reality based community which understand that there is overwhelming evidence for the Theory of Evolution.

I don't know which blogs he is reading, but the blogs I've read have had a few posts about the movie, most on course on Pharyngula, but that's hardly surprising, given the fact that PZ was tricked into appearing in the movie on false premises.

Frankly, I haven't paid much attention to the movie, and the talk about it, but except from people commenting on it's flawed premise, the distasteful actions of the producer, and generally making fun of Ben Stein, I haven't seen any great attention from the pro-science people. Randy Olson (or someone using his handle) did make a comment over at Pharyngula where he made clear that there were clearly some movie behind the movie, and thus it couldn't be dismissed lightly. Hardly "tearing their clothes and sprinkling ashes on their heads".

I wouldn't know what the neo-Creationist crowd has been up to, since I've been too busy lately to pay any attention to them and their sillyness.

My hope for this film has always been that it will help us to overcome our entrenchment regarding the topic of evoution and finally engage in some rational discussion about it. Unfortunately, instead of helping us bridge the gap, so far the film seems to merely have driven the entrenchment even further.

Well, if that was your hope, then you would have been better of not basing those hopes on a film that's entirely based on a false premise.
Expelled is entirely based upon some kind of conspiracy keeping neo-Creationist scientists out, to protect their Darwinistic doctrine. Never mind that there is no such thing and that science is a surprisingly democratic venture - everyone can get heard, as long as they conduct proper science/research and present it in a scientific matter.

The neo-Creationis movement is supported by the Discovery Institute, while the Creationists are supported by organizations like Answers in Genisis, yet none of them seem to be conducting any science. As a matter of fact, when it comes to neo-Creationists, we can't get them to present us with even their hypothesis of Intelligent Design. Instead they keep talking about flaws in the theory of evolution, while demonstrating a profound lack of understanding of the subject.

On a more positive note, the comments area on Ben Stein's Blog has served as that rare forum where Darwinists, ID advocates, and Creationists actually meet face to face. But even there, it's usually just so they can trash the opposing point of view or vehemently defend their own position. I see very few people asking questions. Everyone seems to have the answers already. Once again, no surprise there.

Pro-science people and neo-Creationists/Creationsists can meet face to face in a number of forums, including the ScienceBlogs, Panda's Thumb and TalkOrigins. Unlike neo-Creationist sites like Uncommon Descent people don't get banned there just for disagreeing.

Of course, people who are somewhat based in reality, get tired of hearing the same lies, half-truths, misunderstandings, mined quotes, and other regular neo-Creationist/Creationist debate points, and tend to get a little dismissive of people who can't be bothered to do even a bit of basic research on the subject they are debating (and even trying to prove wrong). On the other hand, if neo-Creationists or Creationists comes and show a genuine interest in learning something (or even just show the willingness to read up on the subject of evolution), people at science blogs are quite patient. Unfortunately, we don't see many such people.

Pro-science people argue against Creationists/neo-Creationists by showing how their arguments are wrong (as was seen in the many negative book reviews of Behe's latest piece of junk), by providing evidence for evolution, or even by trying to educate the people they argue with about the basic facts they are talking about.

Making the two sides equivalent shows that you either have a very little understanding of the subject being debated (almost a given, considering we are talking about a neo-Creationist/Creationist) or that you are trying to appeal to a false equivalence ("see both sides are equal, since they both argue each other - teach the controversy").

Something that has surprised me, however, is the ratio of comments between the two camps. If you check out PZ Myers' blog, you'll see hundreds of negative comments on virtually every post about the film. But in the ID camp, readers usually limit themselves to a few dozen, if that. I would have thought that seeing as the majority of Americans believe in some sort of Intelligent Design they would have come out in droves in support of the film. But I guess that's just human nature. If we haven't got anything good to say, that's about the time we muster up the energy to post something. Sort of like what I'm doing right now.

We are talking about a film that lies, distorts, and almost certainly quote-mine. Obviously people are going to react to that. People who agree with the premises of the film, are not going to outright attack it, but perhaps some of them have the decency to feel bad about such things? [Who am I kidding?]

That said, if Darwinists and IDers really want to move this debate forward--if they're truly interested in the truth as opposed to posturing and silly name calling--how about trying to listen to each other once in a while rather than simply dismissing the opposition's argument out of hand? After all, although our human tendency is to focus on the things that divide, from my perspective, the two sides have a lot more in common than they think.

If Kevin Miller really want to move this debate forward, maybe he should try to actually look at the evidence, and see the truth instead of trying to imply a false equality between the two sides? One side is supported by 150 years of science, all of which supports the theory of evolution, while the other side is supported by nothing at all. Thousands of years of dogma, and nothing to show for it. One side make bold predictions, and apply them to fields like medicine, the other side claims to have found holes in the other side's theory, but is both unable to understand the science involved, or to explain how those "problems" would validate their own pseudo-theory.

There is not two sides to this debate. Not when you look at the science. Then there is only one. The theory of evolution is the fundament upon which we base our understanding of biology, and it's only in the light of evolution that our observations in nature and in the labs make sense.

As I said, this was the sort of blogpost I just had to comment on, but reading the comments to it made me speechless. Salvador Cordova shows that if irony is not dead, he will do whatever is in his power to kill it.

I'd say what's happening at Stein's blog is that ID proponents just don't feel like wasting time there. We feel confident in our case, and we are in the majority. The opposition are clamoring for attention. That's at least how I see it. I'm not eager to argue with those who refuse to be swayed (except maybe for the benefit of the audience).

"Clamoring for attention"? "[R]efuse to be swayed"? Oh, and notice the appeal to popularity ("we are in the majority").

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again Kristjan for putting the facts out so concisely and again nailing the truth about the movie and the creationist dogma.

September 06, 2007 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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September 07, 2007 6:25 AM  

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