Thursday, May 31, 2007

Exposing myths

This is long and it rambles. I apologize in advance. Bear with me.

Apparently this is my week for reading articles about idiots. Now, I don’t think anything can top a scientist and a bunch of ardent believers renting a boat to sail up into the arctic where they hope to find a giant hole that hasn’t been discovered that will lead them to a secret and all powerful civilization that lives on the inside of our planet. Let’s face it, you only get so many of them in a year. Perhaps only once a year.

Sadly, Creationists are a year round joy. I could type “Hollow Earth” into a News Google search on any given day and likely not get any hits. I could type in “Creationist” and sadly get hits all year long.

Creationists are never far from the news and manage to find inventive ways to try and debunk evolution and Darwin every chance they get. Intelligent Design was a clever enough scheme, I must admit. And they managed to get farther than I would have thought. But the tide appears to be changing a bit in America. Science, after being hammered in Bush’s America for most of this decade, is striking back. No more sitting idly back wondering what the fuck people were thinking with this Intelligent Design crap because it was so obviously wrong. People with basic common sense fought back. And while it’s hardly dead in the water, ID has taken a hit. I think we’ve seen the peak of ID. There are always going to be people that will believe it, but it’s starting to ebb back.

The latest trend is that if you can’t get them in church and you can’t get them in school, get them on school trips or family outings. A Creationist Museum has opened near Cincinnati. More than $23 million in private donations have been pumped into it, which contains displays such as a T-Rex munching on grass while Adam and Eve lounge around nearby. You see, animals didn’t eat each other in Eden. They all got along and were friendly. It was only after Eve tempted Adam with the Forbidden Fruit (their “science” suggests it wasn’t an apple, but probably another kind of fruit.). After that, well, all hell broke lose. There was clothing, animal sacrifices and animals eating animals.

Where did the dinosaurs go? Wiped out in the flood (which also created the Grand Canyon). How did animals like polar bears or sloths get into their far flung locations? Accelerated continental drift.

It’s mind blowing, really. How do you mock this? Where do you begin? People have commented and praised my ability to mock things. But where do you start? Where do you begin with people who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, that dinosaurs were in the Garden of Eden, that the flood wiped them out and can ignore most of the basic tenants of science, but can trot out a theory like “Accelerated Continental Drift.”

We’re dealing with an altered mindset here, folks. I think we’re dealing with a way of thinking that boarders on alien intelligence. And by that I don’t mean superior intelligence or little green men, I mean an intelligence that is incomprehensible to most rational humans. It’s like trying to argue with deer.

There is no nice way to write these people off, unfortunately. They’re either idiots, insane or lying, manipulative bastards. None of the options are good. “Devoutly religious” doesn’t give you a freebie on espousing this kind of damaging crap anymore than it does when you spew hatred towards minorities or other ethnic groups.

Why is it damaging? Why make a big deal out of it? Because it is anti-science. You're making stuff up at this point and lying to people. I seriously wonder if the people that created these buildings actually believe a T-Rex was hanging out with Adam and Eve. It's deceptive, narrow-minded and is trying to encourage people to believe in something that is so obviously false that it is repugnant to me.

It is anti-intelligence at a most basic level.

I like to think in the grand scheme of things I’m fairly open-minded. I may not agree with every opinion, but I will normally fight for your right to have it. We have to be talking some pretty extreme views before I even begin to think that you don’t have the right to express it. It’s a very, very high bar.

For example, if you want to express Neo-Nazi hatred, a belief that the Holocaust didn’t happen and advocate for the extermination of ethnic groups, you’re pressing very, very hard on my “You have the right to have that opinion and argue it in public.”

The opinion you’re expressing has to be, for lack of my eloquent or accurate phrasing – evil before I would oppose you’re right to espouse it. The problem is, it’s frequently hard to define, but you tend to know it when you see it. An opinion that does absolutely no good to anybody, that serves to only harm society and the world in the long run with absolutely no redeeming qualities. The only use your opinion has is to serve as an example of a truly horrific idiotic opinion so that others might learn from you.

As I said, the bar for this kind of thing is high. I might think you’re wrong, but in most cases I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for a far longer period of time than others might. It’s part of the whole “former journalist” thing. I’m very protective of the right to free speech. You need to be very careful in curbing it.

There is merit in debating issues. I’m pro-choice, but I understand the ethics of the pro-life side. That debate isn’t dead, especially as science continually redefines how old a fetus can be before it survives outside the womb. I’m against the death penalty, but a rational debate on capital punishment is worth having.

An intelligent debate of ideas is a worthwhile thing.

But I can’t do it on Creationism. I just can’t. At best it’s pure idiocy. To believe that a T-Rex was happily nibbling on grass in the garden of Eden while Adam and Eve sat nearby and watched is a level of fantasy fiction that Tolkien couldn’t have come up with. My friend Mike pointed me to this blog which is collecting links refuting just about everything inside the "museum."

I’d also like to get on my high horse and go “Well, it’s just those wacky Americans.” But no, I don’t get to have that pleasure. Because there is a Creationist "museum" opening up in southern Alberta in a few days time.

Look, as tempting as it is to say that the government should step in and do something, they shouldn’t. No, at some point people have to stand up and say “You know what? I call Bullshit. This thing that you’re espousing? It’s Bullshit. There’s no debating with you on this. It is simply idiotic and you need to either read a goddamn book and get a clue or stop this deceptive, manipulative and damaging thing you’re doing.”

Journalists should be destroying these “museums” and the people promoting them as frauds. Not giving “fair coverage” to both sides of the argument. At some point as a journalist, you’re going to confronted with things you know are wrong. Government corruption, lying, cheating, fraud. And yes, you owe it let both sides speak. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expose them and the bad things they’re doing. You let the facts speak. And guess what? The facts say that Adam didn't have a pet Brontosaurus.

That’s what’s happening with Creationist “museums”. It’s doing harm in the world and should be exposed. Maybe that’s harsh. It’s certainly not funny and tongue-in-cheek. But my patience for this kind of crap is pretty much over and done with. Enough already.


Geoff Meeker said...

Bravo! I agree with you 100 percent. And, at risk of throwing you into an apopletic fit, I add that Stockwell Day, our Minister of National Security, is on record as believing that dinosurs and humans DID co-exist. I wonder if the feds are funding this museum in Alberta? Stranger things have happened...

dups said...

I agree and disagree. It's a hard point whether to "destroy" as journalists or be fair.

Remember Galileo was persecuted and destroyed in the same fashion for his theories which we now take for granted. (Corey can probably feel his blood boil at the thought of _this_ argument again) However, in this one case, these museums are an abomination to all the enlightened citizens who have proven the state and history of the world.

Ah well, tis a weird world we live in.

Anonymous said...

"It’s like trying to argue with deer."



Anonymous said...

Well, we could always break into the museum and add a few more characters to the show. The Flintstones are obvious choices, but we could throw in a wax elvis, loch ness monster, the little get the picture. Why do I think Dups would be the first to sign up?

Anonymous said...

All the more reason to separate politics and religeon.

Just the thought of one of those zeolots running the country sends a chill down my spine...oh wait, we have a few of those in the federal conservative party don't we.