February 11, 2008

Scientists Colluding with Ignorance on Evolution Weekend

An odd article appeared in the Battle Creek Enquirer (Michigan) reporting on an Evolution Weekend event held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. According to the article, a panel of "experts" came to the conclusion that science and religion can agree on the origins of the universe. And no, I still haven't told you the really odd part.

The panel of 7 "experts" appeared to consist of at least a few scientists: professors of physics, geology, neurobiology. Don't ask me what any of these fields have to do with evolution or why nobody would think to invite a biologist or two. The rest of the "experts" were clergy. Somehow, being a rector or deacon makes one an expert on evolution too.

The truly odd part came at the end of the panel presentations when audience members were offered the opportunity to ask questions.
Fred Betz, 63, of Galesburg told the panelists he took the words of the Bible at face value, and his understanding of scripture disproved evolution.

"What's wrong with my simplistic view of reading the Bible?" Betz asked.
And the answer? Wait for it...wait for it...
Panelists said nothing was wrong and pointed to the central themes of Evolution Weekend: open-mindedness and discussion.

"The way we deal with each other is more important than any of our individual theories," Brabson [the physics professor] answered.
Nothing is wrong with this guy reading his bible literally, huh? And the reason nothing is wrong is that we are trying to be open-minded and facilitate discussion? I guess any desire for accuracy is checked at the door, huh? I would hope this "scientist" is more serious about science than that! And what is this drivel about how interacting politely with one another is more important than the foundation of modern biology? This sounds an awful lot like colluding with ignorance to me.

Mr. Betz, you have every right to take your bible literally and believe as you do. However, I'd like you to reflect for a moment on the many ways in which you have personally benefited from science. Your transportation, your television, the medicine you take when you are ill and the medical professionals with whom you interact - all are here because of science. Of all the scientific theories that have ever existed, none have received as much support as Darwin's theory of natural selection. Quite simply, evolution is accepted as fact by the scientific community. So I suppose what I am saying is that you have the right to be wrong, but you are indeed wrong if you place your bible above the vast body of scientific evidence supporting evolution. What is wrong with your bible is that it does not accurately reflect the world in which you live.

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