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This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Religion wrongly considered to be sole cause of Darwin-doubting

An interview of Chris Mooney in the Los Angeles Times says,

Religion: How has it deepened the divide between Americans and science?

It's been there forever. There really is a huge history of not being able to grapple with this issue in the U.S. Other countries have handled it better in many ways. There is just a ton of data on Americans, why they don't accept science, particularly evolution, and what their views on religion are. And there is zero doubt that religion is the block.

"Zero doubt that religion is the block"? Baloney. Religion is a contributory block, but it is certainly not the only block. A previous post on this blog says,
.
A Pew Research Center report says,

When asked what they would do if scientists were to disprove a particular religious belief, nearly two-thirds (64%) of people say they would continue to hold to what their religion teaches rather than accept the contrary scientific finding, according to the results of an October 2006 Time magazine poll. Indeed, in a May 2007 Gallup poll, only 14% of those who say they do not believe in evolution cite lack of evidence as the main reason underpinning their views; more people cite their belief in Jesus (19%), God (16%) or religion generally (16%) as their reason for rejecting Darwin's theory.

The above poll results do not take into account the importance of the strength of the scientific evidence that contradicts religion. IMO the stronger the scientific evidence, the greater the tendency of people to accept science over religion. For example, geocentrism [link], like creationism, is supported by the bible (also, re: the conflict with Galileo, geocentrism was once an official doctrine of the Catholic church), but practically all fundies accept heliocentrism because heliocentrism is based on direct observations and is plausible. In contrast, evolution -- the macroevolutionary kind -- is not based on direct observations and is not plausible. Also, more people accept an old earth than accept evolution because an old earth is plausible, even if not based on direct observation. So I was a bit surprised by the above poll data because I thought that the main reason for people's non-acceptance of evolution was a belief that evolution is not plausible on scientific grounds, not that evolution conflicts with their religious beliefs. However, the above poll results only give the "main" reason for non-acceptance of evolution, whereas some respondents may have had two or more reasons, e.g., both science and religion, so perhaps more than just 14% of those who did not accept evolution believed that scientific evidence was lacking. As for myself, a belief that the scientific evidence is inadequate is my sole reason for my non-acceptance of evolution -- religion has nothing to do with it at all. And I am more influenced by my ideas about coevolution than by Intelligent Design or irreducible complexity.

Loony Mooney continued,

Religion is the reason they think they can't accept evolution. That's because they are told by their pastors from the pulpit, all across the country, that evolution is an assault on their identity, their moral universe and their ability to raise children who get taught this. So there's been an attempt to create a hermetically sealed environment in the conservative Christian community that keeps this stuff out. And that's a huge problem.

The world of science is very angry about this, and justifiably so. They are sick of playing Whac-A-Mole with the anti-evolutionists. Every year, maybe more than every year, there's a new battle.

"They are sick of playing Whac-A-Mole with the anti-evolutionists"? LOL What a jerk. There are lots of anti-evolutionary "moles" that have not been successfully "whacked." I am glad they are getting sick of it, though -- it shows that we are finally getting to them.

What can scientists do to bridge the gap?

They can learn about everybody else. They can understand everybody else and understand what the blocks are. What's preventing people from embracing science? We know it is religion, but do we really know why people are creationists? When I look at how many scientists approach the evolution issue, I don't see that understanding.

If I read ScienceBlogs, what I see are endless eloquent refutations of the creationists based on science. It's been done to death. Obviously, that doesn't convince anybody. And that's because people who don't believe in evolution are not driven by scientific considerations. So that's not how you should be trying to reach them.

"And that's because people who don't believe in evolution are not driven by scientific considerations"? Bullshit -- many are.

In an earlier op-ed -- which has attracted a lot of criticism, especially from Darwinists -- Chris Mooney and his sidekick Sheril Kirshenbaum said,

A smaller but highly regarded nonprofit organization called the National Center for Science Education has drawn at least as much of the New Atheists' ire, however. Based in Oakland, the center is the leading organization that promotes and defends the teaching of evolution in school districts across the country.

The NCSE is "highly regarded"? Not by a lot of people! To a lot of people, the NCSE really sucks.

Mooney's and Kishenbaum's op-ed says of the NCSE,
In this endeavor, it has, of necessity, made frequent alliances with religious believers who also support the teaching of evolution, seeking to forge a broad coalition capable of beating back the advances of fundamentalists who want to weaken textbooks or science standards. In the famous 2005 Dover, Pa., evolution trial, for instance, the NCSE contributed scientific advice to a legal team that put a theologian and a Catholic biologist on the stand.

I was astonished that the Dover plaintiffs had the chutzpah to choose a theistic evolutionist as a lead expert witness in a establishment clause lawsuit, and was also astonished that the judge tolerated such a choice. It would have made much more sense for the plaintiffs to choose, say, PZ Myers, who would get up there and testify that he metaphorically pukes on the shoes of accommodationists who try to appease cafeteria Christian theistic evolutionists.

As I have said many times: to be accepted as the literal truth, both the gospel and the bible's creation story require belief in the supernatural, but the creation story otherwise makes much more sense than the gospel. The creation story is fairly straightforward whereas the gospel is full of illogic, inconsistencies, ambiguities, and unintelligibility. The creation story is consistent with the idea of an all-powerful god whereas the god of the gospel is a weak and limited god who must struggle against Satan for control of the world.

Jerry Coyne said in response to Mooney's and Kirshenbaum's op-ed,
The “new atheists” have been on the scene for exactly five years, beginning with Sam Harris’s The End of Faith, published in 2004. But American’s attitudes to evolution have been relatively unchanged (with 40+% denying it) for twenty-five years. This means two things:

a. American illiteracy about evolutionary biology cannot have been due to criticism of religion by the “new atheists.”

b. The dominant strategy of scientific organizations engaged in fighting creationism over the past twenty-five years has been accommodationism: coddling or refusing to criticize religious people for fear of alienating those of the faithful who support evolution. This has been combined with incessant claims that science and religion are perfectly compatible. This strategy has not worked.

So as Coyne points out, the NCSE folks and other accommodationists are stubbornly continuing to pursue a failed strategy. But Coyne, like the accommodationists, fails to understand that one of the big reasons why the strategy has failed is that religion is not the only basis for Darwin-doubting; the inadequacy of the scientific evidence is also an important basis -- perhaps even the most important basis -- for Darwin-doubting.

Ironically, what originally attracted me to ID was that it is not based on religion. But the Darwinists are insisting that ID is only religion and many of them would rather talk about religion than talk about science.
.

9 Comments:

Anonymous dootland said...

Larry, this was a very good post. I enjoyed reading it. You obviously do a lot of research on this topic. You put a lot of thought into it.

As for me, I'm one of those who reject the Theory of Elvis Still Alive< --oops, sorry Evolution, and on religious grounds.

What isn't mentioned is that many people reject the conclusions of the Science Club because many scientists present themselves as arrogant, condescending jerks who think they are better than everyone else because they went to college and get a lot of back-pats from their academic buddies.

Many people see thems as snootier-than-thou.

There is also this fact: except for a few people in academia who draw a paycheck pushing it, the Theory of Evolution is irrelevant to the majority of people.

The theory says because creature can change over time (they can, and it is useful to learn especially in medecine how they do so), that enough changes occurred over enough time to go from single-celled organisms to humans.

Whoop-dee-doo. How we got here in our present form doesn't pay the bills, doesn't do anything except make an interesting category on Jeopardy.

And most people aren't going to crack open a tedious, Greek&Latin infested textbook to learn something that is of no use in the real world.

Sunday, August 23, 2009 9:53:00 AM  
Blogger trog69 said...

Aww, that's a doggone shame, huh Mr. Fafarman? The first comment on this is a perfect example of those you are desperately trying pretend aren't there, yet they keep showing up and proving you wrong.

The NCSE is "highly regarded"? Not by a lot of people! To a lot of people, the NCSE really sucks.

I don't think that the voices in your head count as "a lot of people".

Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>> Aww, that's a doggone shame, huh Mr. Fafarman? The first comment on this is a perfect example of those you are desperately trying pretend aren't there, yet they keep showing up and proving you wrong. <<<<<<<

What in the hell are you talking about? The first comment was highly complimentary -- it said,

Larry, this was a very good post. I enjoyed reading it. You obviously do a lot of research on this topic. You put a lot of thought into it.

>>>>>>The NCSE is "highly regarded"? Not by a lot of people! To a lot of people, the NCSE really sucks.

I don't think that the voices in your head count as "a lot of people". <<<<<<<

The NCSE is now under attack from both sides. Among the NCSE's biggest critics now are the "New Atheists" -- e.g., Sleazy PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger trog69 said...

As for me, I'm one of those who reject the Theory of Elvis Still Alive< --oops, sorry Evolution, and on religious grounds.

Oopsy. Yes, I'm sure the two of you would make a great couple, but at least dootland is honest about why evolution is bad, bad, bad.

The NCSE is now under attack from both sides. Among the NCSE's biggest critics now are the "New Atheists" -- e.g., Sleazy PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne.

Again with the misdirection, Mr. Fafarman? You and I both know that the two gentlemen you mention have differences with the policies of the NCSE that are nowhere near the same as yours. You want the NCSE to acknowledge ID as valid, which of course is diametrically opposed to the arguments made by PZ etc., when they argue that accommodation for the religious is why ID is even talked about, when it's obviously a shoehorn to inject your brand of religion into the classrooms. And spare me the denials; I don't believe you.

Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:44:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Again with the misdirection, Mr. Fafarman? You and I both know that the two gentlemen you mention have differences with the policies of the NCSE that are nowhere near the same as yours. <<<<<<

So now you are admitting that others' opposition to the NCSE is not just "voices in [my] head," as you claimed in a previous comment --

>>>>>>To a lot of people, the NCSE really sucks.

I don't think that the voices in your head count as "a lot of people".<<<<<<<

Whether or not they are willing to admit it, New Atheists like PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne think that the NCSE really sucks. One of the NCSE's core programs is promoting "accommodation" of cafeteria Christians who take the gospel literally but do not take the bible's creation story literally (the NCSE even has a "faith project director" on its staff), and PZ Myers, for example, said that he "metaphorically pukes on the shoes" of accommodationists -- he actually said,

What I really object to is the goofy "if you don't be nice to god belief, the churchy scientists will take their ball home". I metaphorically puke on the shoes of anyone who tries to make that argument.

BTW, I am opposed to accommodationism too -- so your statement that "the two gentlemen you mention have differences with the policies of the NCSE that are nowhere near the same as yours" is utterly false. You are so full of living crap that it is coming out your ears -- you don't know what in the hell you are talking about.

>>>>>> You want the NCSE to acknowledge ID as valid <<<<<<<

There would be no point in my "wanting" the NCSE to acknowledge ID as valid, because the NCSE will never do it. Such an acknowledgment would be completely contrary to the NCSE's mission, which is to promote Darwinism.

>>>>>>> which of course is diametrically opposed to the arguments made by PZ etc., when they argue that accommodation for the religious is why ID is even talked about <<<<<<

Maybe that's one of the reasons why PZ Myers said that he "metaphorically pukes on the shoes" of accommodationists -- maybe he blames them for the existence of ID! (only kidding)

When have Sleazy PZ or Jerry Coyne ever argued that "accommodation for the religious is why ID is even talked about"? People have different reasons for talking about ID -- it's not only about accommodationism. For example, ID appeals to some non-religious people who need no accommodation of religious beliefs that they don't have.

>>>>>> And spare me the denials <<<<<<

I don't have to deny anything, doofus.

You are the one who is "misdirecting" here.

"I'm always kicking their butts -- that's why they don't like me."
-- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Sunday, August 30, 2009 8:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There would be no point in my "wanting" the NCSE to acknowledge ID as valid, because the NCSE will never do it.

NCSE would do so if the slightest shred of evidence were presented.

ID appeals to some non-religious people who need no accommodation of religious beliefs that they don't have.

So, you have the benefit of neither science nor religion. Congratulations.

Monday, August 31, 2009 1:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>>>To a lot of people, the NCSE really sucks. ...
<<<<<<<

Note here that Larry is implicitly acknowledging that PZ Myers is not only a "person", but perhaps even right about something. ("See, he even dumps on NCSE just like I do.") Now you can welcome PZ back into your inner circle.

Perhaps this can be considered progress.

Monday, August 31, 2009 1:55:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>To a lot of people, the NCSE really sucks

Note here that Larry is implicitly acknowledging that PZ Myers is not only a "person", but perhaps even right about something. <<<<<<<

As the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right two times a day.

Monday, August 31, 2009 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>There would be no point in my "wanting" the NCSE to acknowledge ID as valid, because the NCSE will never do it.

NCSE would do so if the slightest shred of evidence were presented.<<<<<<

Wrong -- their minds are closed at the NCSE.

>>>>>>> ID appeals to some non-religious people who need no accommodation of religious beliefs that they don't have.

So, you have the benefit of neither science nor religion. Congratulations. <<<<<<

Wrong, bozo, you do get the benefit of science -- the scientific observations and scientific reasoning of ID. Also, I thought that you Darwinists believe that religion has no benefits, anyway.

Monday, August 31, 2009 9:07:00 PM  

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