Saturday, October 06, 2007

Let's Get This Straight ...

Creationism is mythology, not science. It's not even bad science. A few clowns like Michael Behe have tried to dress up creationism as "science" by calling it "Intelligent Design".

There is no "debate" to be had around the scientific validity of creationism - and never will be. The weight of evidence that supports evolution theory is simply overwhelming, no matter what "doubts" creationists may put forward.

Apparently, the Winnipeg Sun's Joseph Quesnel thinks that the appearance of "Creation Museums" and other attempts to legitimize creationism as a form of "legitimate science" are a sign of a debate we should be having.

Quesnel complains:

When Liberal Party strategist Warren Kinsella presented his purple dinosaur on a television program to mock Day, he was upholding a strong prejudice against evangelical Christians permeating our society.

Should it be any surprise Christians who hold fast to the biblical account of creation are treated this way?

Witness the case of Stephen Meyer, a proponent of intelligent design in the United States. Meyer wrote a peer-reviewed academic article in a scientific journal affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution about his ideas and almost lost his career. This is a scientist who is not a young earth creationist and yet he faced blacklisting by a prominent scientific organization.

Hold on a second here, Quesnel. If you put forth a paper that claimed that PI was in fact a whole number, would you not fully expect to be laughed out of the journals you submitted it to? I'm sorry to say, but it is not "prejudice" for a peer review journal to trash what is obviously monumental junk science.

The claim that science should "accommodate" religion is a bad joke at best. If your religion leads you to believe that the earth is flat, or the moon made of cheese, that's just fine - but don't ask science (and scientists) to validate your beliefs when the evidence says otherwise.

In many respects, science is not "hostile" to theism so much as it disregards theistic notions (it is "atheistic" in the very classical sense of the term - science simply doesn't regard theism as relevant). If various people wish to create "Creation Museums", that's fine - just don't ask the rest of us to take them seriously.


Anonymous said...

As I've stated before, Religion is simply politics in the name of God.

Science is not a religion but an attempt to define the world around us in a rational, logical manner with repeatable results to confirm. There may be a lot more 'laws' in science but these have been proved in the manner prescribed by the scientific community. Yet the best part of that is that if you can prove it wrong, then it's simply wrong and we amend said law. One is still allowed to examine and try to prove, experiment with any of these laws and theories, if only to continue proving or disproving them.

Anyone who would say otherwise should study their history better. There have been times that people tried to use science to limit, even eliminate others (Nazi race laws, Alberta's Eugenics laws). These have been proven wrong, both from a scientific as well as a moral perspective. Try that with a religious edict.

Science has one thing going for it, it allows itself to be proven wrong and then moves on. Prove a religion (or one of its leaders) wrong and you have accusations of heresy, persecutions of the 'heretics', religious wars, purges.... you get the picture. Just look up Galileo, and he was 'lucky', unlike some others who were burnt at stake for saying that the Sun did not revolve around the Earth.

The sad thing is that even with science we still can only limit but not eliminate the one factor that is the source of a lot of grief, the 'human' factor.

dragon said...

Our history is filled with religions, worshiping Vishnu, Thor, Yahweh, Brahman, The Great Spirit... and it's all an attempt to rationalize that which we do not understand.

Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Why should we follow a moral code? (and perhaps the scary question) What happens when we die?

It's comforting to know that there is a parent figure who has it all figured out, that is directing things, that has set some ground rules for us to follow, and who cares for us as we move through the stages of our lives and deaths.

Using god (under any name you please) to rationalize pain, to rationalize death, and to explain why the world works the way it does provides a framework of meaning - a framework that has been abused by religious leaders in the name of "good" and "might" throughout the centuries. It's a way to control people.

Science, with answers about why things work the way they do, without reference to a divine hand blowing the 'spirit' into a child when the miracle of conception occurs... well, it's scary when Dolly the sheep can be created in a laboratory. It gives those scientists far too much power when they can "create" life out of the basic building blocks that we are provided with.

As we grow and mature as a species we solve a lot of mysteries, but in doing so create more to be solved - and they will be solved through science (as much as that idea frightens those who would like to use religion to control the populace.

How much power will the religious right politicians have over the ungodly atrocities (their words, not mine) of gay marriage, single parenthood and other evils of modern society if they can not appeal to religion as an inarguable authority. They are reduced to sputtering "Well, it's just WRONG!" without being able to produce any evidence.

What happens to their holy wars in Iran and Afganastan when they are unable to hold up their rightous cross and shout "Allah Akbar" - oh, wait... that's the OTHER side's war cry... but I hear echos of it every time that Bush stands up on his mighty podium of justice and makes a speach.

Where would we be without religious to guide us in our selection of which atrocities to commit, and which to deride?

When it comes right down to it I don't have a problem with the religous creating a "creationist" museum, any more than I have a problem with the Greeks creating monuments to Mount Olympus - there is a lot to be learned from our history and the beliefs that our ancestors once held to explain phenomena such as the sun rising and lightning - but please identify mythology by the correct name in our schools so that we can progress as an intelligent society rather than backslide into mysticism and belief that life is created by an omnipotent, omniescent god.

The religious right(ous) can make all of the claims that they want that the moon is made of cheese, that it is herisy not to believe that the sun revolves around the earth... but when it comes down to it, let's remember that this should be the day of science, not mysticism.