2007-11-18

Unholy Racket No 003: They have been judged

Lest this blog degenerate into seriousness, I feel like some comic relief is in order.

PBS ombudsman writes about Judgment Day, a Nova production on Kitzmiller v Dover School District trial. The article itself may be of interest to those unfamiliar with the case (huh? is that even possible?), but the true gems are the letters received by PBS regarding the show. Some of my favourites follow. Behold the flights of pure idiocy!

Towards the top of the page we have this—clearly, a product of a deep and penetrating mind:

"It doesn't take a "Rocket Scientist" to figure out that if we, as humans, evolved from monkeys . . . THEN WHY? . . . Are there STILL Monkeys??? We were "Created" by God!!! Pull up AOL now and you'll notice the Gov. of Georgia praying for rain, (No Doubt to GOD). When 9/11 happened what did every good neighbor do? PRAY. Not to monkeys . . . To our "Creator"!!! It shouldn't take tragic and desperate circumstances for people to realize this fact!!! GOD BLESS AMERICA!!! In GOD We Trust!!!

Sonya L. Johnson, North Port, FL"

Once you've stopped chuckling, you'd do well to remember that the "monkey" argument is in fact rather pervasive; other letters refer to it, for example:

"If evolution were true and man "evolved" from apes, why do we have apes and monkeys co-existing with man? Why have the apes not all turned into humans?"

Of course, all those nonstarters show is the letter-writer's complete ignorance of evolutionary theory and possible lack of functioning grey matter. Onwards!

Another popular argument is the appeal to fairness; this comes from a viewer concerned that ID did not get a fair hearing:

"What are you people afraid of? I am concerned for the viewer who is not familiar with the major tenants of both sides of the argument. I am only a lay person, but I know enough about the issue to see that a fair hearing in your format is not tolerated."

Naturally, "both sides of the argument" exist only in the fevered imagination of IDiots and creationists and their ilk (fevered? this may be a misuse of the word; "pedestrian" and "dull" and "non-imaginative" may be better descriptors). There is no intellectually serious opposition to the modern synthesis. This does not mean that some theory may not arise in the future, overturning all that we believe now (although it is unlikely, to put it mildly, but possible). It means, however, that Intelligent Design isn't that theory. This alleged controversy only exists in the minds of—dare I say it—those without any idea of what they are talking about. Clueless idiots often are the loudest kids on the playground; so here.

The "immoral implications" of evolution follow, mixed in with a dubious claim grounding human morality in religion:

""Survival of the fittest" follows from evolutionary theory. Evolutionists, to be logical and true to their faith (it takes faith to believe in it since there is no clear, unimpeachable physical evidence for macro-evolution) should see nothing wrong with what Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc., did in the genocides of millions of people. Since the exterminated ones were "weak," in terms of evolutionary faith, evolution proponents should all just shrug off these murders as being inconsequential (which is how the ones responsible for the murders saw them). But most don't, and the reason is we know those were atrocities. We know to murder another human being is wrong. And we know this because we have consciences given to us by our Creator."

Where do I start? "no clear unimpeachable physical evidence": there is no such beast anywhere in the history and practice of science. There are degrees of certainty; evolution is highly certain, more so than, say, M-theory, or, closer to earth, our description of the many bonding agents (glues, y'know) that we use on an everyday basis. And, of course, the appeal to God as the basis of our morality is pure bullshit, undiluted, ignoring many ethical theories constructed specifically on a non-theist basis, while substituting fear-based subservient (anti-)ethics for reality.

Finally, there is a slew of letter-writers who complain about the short shrift religion in general received in that program. They should keep in mind that this particualr episode was about history: any accusations of bias may just as well be directed against court transcripts. Any accusation of a bias towards a given ideology fails. An attempt to inject some religious ideology—even moderate Godtalk—into the program would have been precisely unprofessional, sunce the subject had nothing to do with the existence of gods or the validity of any religious belief. It was all about teaching religion in a science class. That's all, and those unhappy with the direction of this episode should consider that it is not the job of PBS to present every argument in every show. There is plenty religious claptrap on the idiot-box already. Claims of "evolutionist" bias are ridiculous. Fuck off already and go sit in your Dark Age corner.

Another favourite, and one that almost needs no rebuttal is "I have a degree in journalism and could easily point out every instance of yellow journalism in this show.". Yeah, you may have a degree in journalism but you are obviously quite ignorant of either biology or the actual court case in question!

Enough! What had started as a light humorous attempt to look at the silliness of some people is turning out to be a depressing peek into the idiocy of humanity in general: the majority of letters on that page follow the same format, and it all becomes rather sad, eventually. One can only ingest so much pure ignorance, nonsequiturs, ALL CAP screaming and so many logical fallacies in one sitting. Fuck 'em.

4 comments:

przxqgl said...

http://web.mit.edu/gjordan/www/creation/slides/_DSC2310.html

Jorgon Gorgon said...

Creation Museum is something else; John Scalzi just wrote it up, and I would love to go there. For what it's worth, it looks lie an amazingly designed installation; pity that it is complete shit, though.

Anonymous said...

well, uh, yeah. surprise! People are stupid. Thats the problem with science. People are stupid. Or maybe thats the problem with people. But people 'created' science....so why are they so fucking stoooopid????

Jorgon Gorgon said...

That reminds me: do you know the three F's of biology? As in Fighting, Feeding, and Reproduction?;)