Sunday, November 8, 2015

Should you understand something before you criticize it?

Caught this from Larry Moran's 'Sandwalk' and had to follow it up:  "You should know the basics of a theory before you attack it".  He warns you to turn off your irony meters before following the link to the original article.  It's from Dembski's blog, 'Uncommon Descent' and it's a dozy!

Here is the line that gets me:

"But what have I accomplished if I spout off some nonsense that Darwinism does not actually posit, refute it, and then say, “thus I have proven Darwinism wrong”?"
How many times has a Creationist of one sort or another, like a Biblical Literalist or Intelligent Design proponent, built a strawman of some part of evolutionary theory and then destroyed it, claiming victory?  Is it possible to even count the times?  Here on this blog we've discussed many of the various strawmen, like:
  • The odds argument, such as "Eureka!  I have calculated the odds of me being here, therefore Evolution isn't possible!"
  • What about a Hoyle-ism like "A tornado spinning through a junkyard and building a 747, therefore Evolution is impossible!" 
  • The "Law of Biogenesis shows that Evolution is impossible!"
  • How about the "But mutations can only be bad for you, therefore Evolution isn't possible!"
  • An oldie, but one still bandied about: "Evolution violates Thermodynamics, therefore Evolution isn't possible!"
  • My current favorite "Information cannot be increased, therefore Evolution isn't  . . .!"
When you list out the various strawmen created for the express purpose of claiming to refute Evolution, the list gets pretty long.  You certainly get the idea that these Creationists really don't know much about Evolution, yet they continue to build new ones so they can knock them down and claim a Victory for Jesus!

I have to agree, most Creationists don't know much about Evolution, and they don't want to know much more.  You combat them by giving good information and hopefully educating enough folks to minimize the damage they can do to our educational systems.  But I think there are those that may or may not know about Evolution, they simply don't care.

To me, those are the dangerous ones because the validity of Evolution means nothing to them, they are attacking it for purposes of their own.  Not because science is in error, but because they use people's religious beliefs to push some agenda of their own.  They pander to them, often to sell books and videos for financial gain, but they also do it for power.  They prey on people not because they believe Evolution is wrong, but because they know arguing against it is a way to gain power.

Look at how many politicians pander to the Christian Right, not because they agree with their positions, but because they know that right now that's how you win elections.  You stand-up a few srawmen, knock them down and when a large enough group cheers you on, you get elected!  Or in the case of the Discovery Institute, you get more funding so you can keep pushing your agenda of undermining science to push your religion onto others (Discovery Institute Still Undermining Science - Karl Giberson).

If you disagree, keep watching the elections that are coming.  How did the Republican contenders respond to questions about Evolution?  Do you really think a Republican Presidential hopeful will admit that Creationism isn't science publicly?  That would be a quick way off the podium!  Even Democratic candidates tread lightly.

Like I said, those are the folks that worry me more.  The way to combat people who really don't know much about Evolution is through education.  It's not easy, but you do see even the most hard-core Creationists abandoning some of their arguments.  Of course they do their best to build new ones, but those also can be overcome by education.  It may take a while, after all people won't let go of their beliefs easily.  But how do you fight those who don't care about the validity of actual science?   If bashing Evolution doesn't work, they would find something else to pander.   

Look at the Governor-Elect of Kentucky, Matt Blevin, and the comments he's made in support of that bigot Kim Davis who is pushing for a Christian version of Sharia Law.  Think I am overstating it?  Well what else do you call it when one group wants to enact laws in support of their religious beliefs and apply them to everyone?  Sure, it's not Islamic Sharia Law, but it's the same thing!  Is this what we want?  They may not know much about Evolution, or they may know a great deal, but that's irrelevant to them.  They pander to win, and the ends justify the means, right?  Scary!

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