In which I respond to other people’s hate mail

03Jan09

Namely PZ‘s.  The latest barrage is over his requesting that the Pharyngulites write the Cincinnati Zoo.  The Zoo was promoting a discounted ticket that would get the purchaser entry in to both the Zoo and the nearby Creation “Museum.”  PZ suggested to his readers that, were they so inclined, it might be appropriate to suggest to the Zoo management that associating with a creationist “museum” may sully the reputation of a scientific and secular organization such as a city zoo.

Are these easy targets?  Sure.  But you gotta start sharpening your claws somewhere.

Without further ado, response the first:

I guess it feels good to stamp your feet and get your way. When you can show physical proof of your foolish belief in your religion evolution you may impress me but we know you can’t. If you think you can prove your false belief why don’t you debate Mr. Morris publicly in front of a real audience. I do know you won’t do this because of your high and mighty unfounded pride.

Just dripping with arrogance.  Two demands which the author already knows PZ cannot live up to.  Both of the following can be found in the Pharyngula archives:

  1. Frequent posts documenting scientific evidence supporting the theory of evolution.
  2. Notification of and commentary on numerous debates with esteemed (i.e. Discovery Institute) creationists.

I suggest the author research his or her accusations before making them.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself forcing your religion on others this is a free country and it should not happen. If your religion is so faultless and absolutely correct then debate with a professional from a creationalist (lol!) Mr. Morris.

I agree whole-heartedly with the author’s assertion that no religion should be forced on others.  However, no amount of saying the theory of evolution is a religion will make it so.  The aforementioned scientific evidence in support of the theory available on PZ’s blog, or in esteemed publications (such as, for example Nature) is testament to this fact.  Since no arguments are provided by the author, I have no basis for discerning his or her understanding of the subject.

Also, PZ choosing to debate or not debate a prominent creationist has no bearing on whether or not the theory of evolution is true.  Certainly, refusing to respond to specific criticisms of the theory would be problematic, but I know of no criticisms posed by creationists that have not been answered by scientists using reasonable scientific rigor.

Scientist thought the universe revolved around the earth about 1000 years ago,they thought the earth was flat 500 years ago and 200 years ago man couldn’t fly so as we progress we find science is very fallible.

Err… well, actually… these points are difficult to make, since there’s a difference between when a thinker in one place and time proposed the correct answer, how they came up with it, and how well it was accepted.  For example, Pythagoreans proposed a heliocentric system long before it was accepted – but not through scientific means.  They believed fire to be more precious than earth, and as such, the Earth should rotate ’round the Sun.  Right answer, but no science.

These timeframes appear to be pulled from a hat.  For example, Aristotle observed through scientific means that the Earth was round(ish) over 2000 years ago.  Eratosthenes measured the circumference with good accuracy shortly thereafter.

Regardless of these issues, there are a couple fallacies the author has succumb to in this statement.  He or she claims that “scientist thought the universe revolved around the earth.”  Which scientist(s)?  What scientifically gathered evidence did these scientists use to support geocentrism or a flat Earth?  There was no scientific method at the time, and thus calling these early thinkers and discoverers “scientists” is incorrect.

So the author then builds on this incorrect assertion to conclude that science is very fallible.  While it is true that evidence can pile up to support a hypothesis that is later proven (at least partially) incorrect, to dismiss the findings of good science because of this is poor (and not scientific in itself).  This is exceptionally poor where no reasonable doubt or concerns exist as to the validity of a well-backed theory.

Of course, I can’t mention all of this without noting that it was, in fact, science which eventually provided the right answer to all of these questions…

So as long as people like you think you are an infallible god and socialism is the way you chose to deal with unproven fact there are always people that won’t and can’t believe another false religion.

I assume the charge of socialism is that of using the schools to teach evolution, although I fail to see how that would be considered socialism.  All I can say in response to this is that science class must teach good science, and creationism is not good science.  What you choose to teach your children (or what I choose to teach mine) is your business (or mine), but the state must not choose religion over well-supported evidentiary science.  The author again provides no basis for his or her claim that evolution is “unproven fact.”

Please don’t bother to respond to this email unless you will have an open debate with Mr. Morris because I choose to deal with you like you dealt with the Zoo but I won’t stamp my feet and call all my friends to intimidate somebody I’m afraid to face and have an honest conversation with. Coward.

Again, unfounded accusations – PZ has had honest conversations with many a creationist, and has attempted to have them with many more.  Why he must debate the author’s creationist of choice is unknown.

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