Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy linked to this discussion on Angry Astronomer recently, and boy howdy, is it worth a read. I haven’t even finished the thread, but I’m sure it’ll provide with much-needed distractions and chuckles throughout the day tomorrow.
And possibly into sometime next week. What a wall of text!
The length and breadth of the discussion kind of reminds me of the discussions I have on occasion with “Bob”, only minus any sense of logic or rational thought. If you can make it through the entirety of the thread and discussion on one sitting, and without caffeine or other recreational pharmaceuticals, you’re a better man than I. Or woman. Though it’s not hard to be a better woman than I, I just can’t fill out a negligee all that well with my manly physique.
Update: I made it through the entire thread and still don’t understand “Anonymous’” problem with science. And, being prompted by Clifton throwing his two cents in, I broke down and posted, as well. To wit:
I have a friend with whom I occasionally argue about evolution. Once in a while, the conversation devolves to the point where I’m accused of relying on faith in science. This is true to an extent. I am no polymath. I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I depend heavily upon others to have made discoveries that I cannot independently verify. I have faith that the scientists that have set down what they believe to be the rules by which the universe works, know their stuff, didn’t fudge the math, and are open to accept evidence against their own hypotheses, otherwise their theories and rules and laws would not have gained the publicity that they have — e.g., someone out there would have cried foul and presented evidence to the contrary, at some point or another.
As science is much like the open-source software model, wherein individual changes are contributed to the body of existing work and incremental improvements eventually lead to a larger oeuvre that can stand alone, I trust that science operates in a meritocratous fashion. Likewise, religion is akin to the closed-source software model, wherein one authority creates the entire body of work, and anything that falls outside the body of work is either heretical or evil. This monolithic authority system is likely what provides comfort to those that have faith in their religious dogma — it is comforting to know that even if you don’t know everything about the universe, you can simply say “God did it” and congratulate yourself for a job well done.
This implies that religious folks are incurious. This doesn’t seem to be the case in all cases, sadly, or we wouldn’t get trolls on science blogs of the ilk of our illustrious Anonymous poster in this thread. (Either they aren’t incurious, or they’re out amongst the heathen looking to convert. Not terribly palatable, and something like tilting at windmills around here, I’d wager.)
I just don’t understand what it is about the pursuit of science that raises the hackles of these types. Why is it that you cannot reconcile the idea that the universe works a certain way, with the idea that “God did it”? And has anyone ever suggested to you (as I saw in a Youtube video recently) that perhaps the Bible was actually created by God specifically to test humankind’s ability to believe in “his creation”, as opposed to creating the universe in an incredibly deceiving manner where 99% of it is a lie intended to fool you into believing the universe is a certain way, to test your faith in the book?
Bah. I don’t usually post my rants on other people’s blogs. I usually save them for my own. Apologies for my compatriot’s earlier cheap plug, by the way.
Dude. I said “oeuvre”. I guess I automatically fail.