Thursday, January 13, 2005

Georgia Moves Forward Into 19th Century

Finally moving forward into the 19th century, the state of Georgia has decided (well, actually "been ordered") to remove from high school biology textbooks a sticker that said that evolution was a "theory and not a fact."

Georgia had previously tried to remove the word "evolution" and replace it with "biological changes over time." Because God just prefers wordier constructions.

Here's a crazy idea that Georgia might try: in science classes, you could have teachers who teach science. Then, in "stupid, outdated ideas about life and the universe as held by a group of desert nomads around 1000 B.C." class, you could teach that the world was created in six days by an angry sky-man. That way, you'd have a room where people are taught critical thought and evidential reasoning, which is what leads one to believe in evolution, and you could also have a room where people are taught about the baseless notions that once held sway over our ignorant ancestors.

Really, what's far more important than whether anyone believes in evolution or not is the question of whether or not it is supported by evidence. Truth doesn't care what you believe, and even if 65% of Americans think that the world was made by magic, that doesn't make it true. Yes, even if 65% of Americans think that.

Will we ever have a scientifically minded society? By which I mean one that doesn't think crazy, made-up ideas with no evidence to support them and which violate basic rules of logic should hold sway over carefully reasoned, researched and evidentially supported ideas. I'm thinking "no."


Blogger Juniper Flesco said...

The sad thing is that the Scopes Monkey Trial happened something like EIGHT DECADES AGO. That should have settled the matter.

Apparently our middle-American society is even more religious than it was in the 1970s. What happened? I think I know what happened. The educational level of the average American has declined steadily since then.

Remember when people used to be really excited about the positive, pro-humanistic possibilities of science and technology? Remember when Mensa was a really big group, attracting more and more members? (I am not in favor of the pretentious elitists at Mensa, but it was indicative of a society of people who felt it was cool to be smart.) Remember when Games magazine was big -- a publication that existed solely to exercise one's problem-solving abilities? (Again, yes, I know Games had a geeky aspect.)

I think what happened was that the nerds were underground. Then the nerds rose to power. Then everybody was a nerd. Then all those nerds made a lot of money and got a lot of material possessions and sex. Pretty soon the nerds weren't innovative anymore, and the bubble burst on all their grand ideas. Nerds became boring and trite and there was an overall nerd glut. Soon the nerds weren't really that smart, and all their jobs moved to India, leaving only corporate weasels in power. Now there's a brain drain and people are so desperate and confused that they're starting to believe that God created the earth in 6 days again.

Why do people even fall for the whole "intelligent design" argument of creationism? They call it I.D. for short. The argument goes as follows:

-- (1) Things that humans design are often complex
-- (2) There are things not designed by humans that are also complex
-- (3) Therefore, something else designed those things

Even a firt-year philosophy student could find the flaws in this syllogism. The premises are basically true, but the conclusion does not follow. There is NO LOGICAL REASON, based on this argument, why there can't be complex things in the world that aren't designed by an intelligent being. In fact, the entire theory of evolution precisely explains how complex organisms can form over time. Why does this "theory" (which, in scientific terms, does not necessarily mean something that is still up for debate) offend so many people? I think it offends them because they're so fucking ignorant and so obstinately unwilling to do any basic reading, that they just can't wrap their minds around it without getting a confused feeling like when you can't finish the last two words of a crossword puzzle.

Here is another argument:
(1) Complex things are created by humans.
(2) The animal kingdom is complex.
(3) Therefore, the animal kingdom was created by humans.

This argument is every bit as logical as the "intelligent design" argument. Is it any wonder people want to keep I.D. out of school textbooks?

Here is another, equally illogical, argument:

(1) Humans design a lot of things that are stupid.
(2) Whales are smart.
(3) Therefore, Shamu gave birth to Stephen Hawking.

So in conclusion, to all you Georgia school board half-wits who want to impose your archaic religion on everybody by putting stickers on biology textbooks, I say this: Go sterilize yourself.

3:43 PM  

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