Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Buy three yokels, get one free

The News-Gazette is trying to kill me. That's the only explanation I can think of for them publishing another creationist letter to the editor. This time it's by Dee Mulligan of Urbana. As usual, I'll give links to the Index to Creationist Claims for each bogus statement she makes.

It has been wonderful to see the debate over the theory of evolution and creationism once again emerging.

Not really, since there isn't any such debate. The debate, such as it was, was settled nearly a century ago. The only "debate" that rages is that ignorant Christians just keep demanding that their theology be treated as science.

I have a graduate degree and aced all the biology classes by feeding back answers the professors wanted. But they never convinced me that evolution makes any sense.

I'm sorry to see that Ms. Mulligan wasted this part of her education. Rather than actually learn anything, she treated her university as a series of hoops that needed to be blindly jumped through.

A friend of mine in college took Physics 101 as a pass/fail course. For him, it was just a mandatory prerequisite, and he didn't really care. His grades were reasonably good, so for the final exam, he just sat down and memorized a bunch of relevant equations without any actual understanding of what they were for. Ms. Mulligan apparently not only did the same this for her biology classes, but has the absolute hubris to demand that her pretend-knowledge be treated on the same level as actual experts in the subject.

My objection is that it is a theory. It is not taught as such in most cases. It is taught as fact.

Evolution is both theory and fact. We also teach atomic theory, quantum theory, the theory of relativity, and the germ theory of disease. Ms. Mulligan doesn't really understand the technical definition of the work "theory." That's what comes of blowing off your biology classes and getting your science lessons from your preacher.

I remember sitting in high school biology and looking at pictures of Cro-Magnon man.

It was absolutely taught as fact. Of course, we all know now it was just a hoax.

Whaaaaat? Cro-Magnons aren't a hoax. They were the first Homo sapiens to inhabit Europe, alongside the Neanderthals. It's kind of an archaic term, sure, but it's hardly fraudulent.

The saddest part of this is that literally 10 seconds of searching the Internet would have shown here this. There's Wikipedia article and the Britannica article. Hell, even the laughable Conservapedia has a stub article on Cro-Magnon man. But no, Ms. Mulligan couldn't be bothered. She's comfortable wearing her ignorance on her sleeve.

So science can be wrong. As a matter of fact, Karl Popper argues that a hypothesis or theory must be falsifiable if it is does not admit the possibility of being false.

The "science can be wrong" gambit is a classic one. It's basically just a way of saying "since we don't know everything, we know nothing." Can we assume that if Ms. Mulligan is diagnosed with cancer she won't accept treatment for it since we don't know everything about cancer? I suspect we were wrong once or twice there.

If education is to be complete, then all theories on the beginning of the world and we mortals should at least be explored or mentioned. It cannot be proved that we evolved from a single cell.

Uh, no. We don't study rejected theories except to mention that they are incorrect. Unless Ms. Mulligan is suggesting medical schools should have to explore the theory that disease is caused by bad air? Should science classes have to teach alternatives to atomic theory? No, of course not.

And what's with this fascination with "proof," anyway? It's something that's come up in a couple of the previous yokel letters. Science doesn't deal in proof; it deals in evidence. You want proof, go study mathematics.

By the way, where did that cell come from? And it cannot be proved that God created the world. They both take faith to believe. The creation story has been around for at least 6,000 years. How long has the theory of evolution been around? As for me, I choose God.

People, please, repeat after me: evolution is not abiogenesis. Or for those of you that don't know words not found in your hymnals, evolution has to do with how life changed on this planet, not where it came from. I guess these people fixate on this point since, in their creation story, everything was created in its current form, and so they don't see any difference between the history of life and the beginning of life.

You know what else has been around for a long time? The four elements. And guess what? It's wrong. It's the product of a time where people were ignorant about the world and how it worked. With the limited information they had at the time, it might not have been a crazy idea, but that doesn't mean it was right.

Yeesh, I'm not even sure why I bother. As the quote goes, you can't argue someone out of a position they didn't argue themselves into.

Previous yokels:

1 comment:

moon-grrl said...

Oh, no! Quick, call Dr. Science and tell him a Cretard is stealing his "*I* have a MASTER'S degree" schtick.