Responding to PZ’s hate mail: Round 2

03Jan09

Round 1.

On to Round 2:

Dear Professor,
I am so very sorry that your belief in evolution is so weak, that you have to pressure anyone and everyone who wishes to present the Biblical version of the beginning of life.

Again with the demeaning language, which seems to be a common trend.  But let’s assume PZ picks the nastier ones for his blog since they make for juicier posts.

I’d like to know how the author considers a call to action over the issue of whether a scientific institution should have tie-ins with an anti-scientific institution to be pressuring anyone and everyone who believes in creationism.  PZ has not asserted that anyone is not free to believe what they want.

Are you afraid that evolution will be disproved? Afraid of the Facts? Does the weakness in evolution scare you so much that you have to scare people away from genuine scientific discovery by exploring all avenues how life began?

Although I can’t speak for PZ himself, I would answer: doubtful.  Unfortunately for the author, there is no genuine scientific discovery to be found at the Creation Museum.  And the author misunderstands scientists: A scientist welcomes and revels in the discovery of new evidence and the development of new hypotheses.  No scientist should be scared of the truth.  In addition, pushing a hypothesis that one knows to be incorrect is in no way productive – it spells disaster for one’s career when errors are exposed and a correct hypothesis is found.  And one is almost always found.

I have not visited the Creation Museum, but I have read articles and seen videos documenting its exhibits, and in none of them have I found an argument that has not been addressed and put to rest scientifically.  “Weaknesses” is a common term used by creationists (and indeed, by the ID proponents currently pushing “academic freedom” legislation) but is rarely backed up with actual claims.  In cases that they are, they are the debunked creationist canards: lack of fossil evidence, irreducible complexity, and so on.

[aside: on the extremely unlikely chance that someone actually reads this post and takes issue with me arguing against the Creation Museum without having seen it with my own eyes: please feel free to correct me on what scientific evidence it contains.]

The evidence supporting the theory of evolution is huge (Wikipedia is a good starting point).  I am curious what scientific evidence the author would present in support of creationism.

One can only derive that you are actually a Satanist. As only a Satan worshiper would fear the teaching of Christ!

Non-sequitur, Ad hominem.  And not relevant to the truth.  PZ could be a Raelian for all I care, it doesn’t make evolution false.

What does an atheist fear? A true atheist would think that Christians (or other religious persons) were just wasting their time and would truly not be bothered.

And no true Scotsman would be a brutal murderer.  But I’ll answer the author’s question: An atheist would fear that a religious institution with no scientific basis is hoping to piggyback on the credibility of an actual scientific institution, thus giving the religious institution a sheen of scientific credibility that it does not deserve.

Since it is, in fact, creationists who would like to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us through our state’s schools, we have much to fear from creationism benefitting in this manner.  State school board members are often not scientists, and thus may be easily swayed by such false credibility (rather than the current scientific consensus) when deciding on science standards.

Conversely, a creationist would argue that supporters of the theory of evolution want to impose their anti-Christian (or anti-literalist, anyway) views on everyone through our schools.  The difference, however, is in the scientific proof.  Creationism deserves a spot just as soon as the body of evidence is there to support it.

I will pray for you all your colleagues. Obviously, you all need a lot of prayers to see the REAL TRUTH.

Please excuse my rapidly changing tone, but being preached to and demeaned does make me a bit cranky.  I would like to know the author’s REAL TRUTH and invite him or her to contact me.

I have no problem with teaching evolution side by side with Creationism (or intelligent design), but for some reason, the evolutionists are afraid to let Creationism (ID) to be taught side by side, so that the students can derive their own opinion.

Creationism (which I’m happy to see you say is ID – your contemporaries at the Discovery Institute have spent millions assuring us it is not) is not science.  Evolution is science.  Only science can be taught in a science classroom.

Students are not in school to derive opinions – they ARE there to learn to think critically and scientifically, but that does not mean “pick whichever of these two things you like most.”

I shall repeat the oft-used analogy: Should we also teach alchemy in chemistry class, so students may form their own opinion of which they prefer?  I hope those students would not end up working at a drug company should I fall ill…

You certainly have forgotten what true scientific research is really about. You know, exploring ALL avenues and not a single approach. This tells me that you are not truly qualified to teach because you are too biased to allow your students to learn all of the facts.

Yes!  Science is all about taking in all available data, making hypotheses, testing hypotheses, and refactoring them based on the results!  I assume that PZ teaches these fundamentals in his freshman-level courses.

The author’s mistake made here is the one made throughout – that creationism is a valid scientific alternative to evolution.  This is simply not the case.  I do think it’s important that students (and everyone else) voice their questions.  But the creationists’ questions are answered – just not in the way they wanted them to be answered.

Sadly, science does not allow you to reject the best theory simply because it contradicts your non-evidentiary based views.

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