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Apr 06 2009

‘Religious apologetics’ infects Vancouver Sun

My rage meter just pegged on reading an article on the Vancouver Sun’s online version, entitled ‘Scientism’ infects Darwinian debates.   I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps once I’m off work and have more time, I will fully debunk this, but it boils down to, “people who think that the act of studying nature to discover its secrets is the only true way to find out more about nature, are just as wrapped up in their faith as people who use really old books and make wild guesses about nature”.

Pro tip for you creationist apologizers — science is a self-correcting meritocracy based on the evidential study of reality, where the bad theories get knocked out and replaced with better ones all the time, and if you find that this reality conflicts with your personal world view, then your personal world view is the one that’s wrong. You put the two ideas on a scale, one with heaps of evidence and the other with nothing but faith, and guess which one weighs more?

Update: Phil Plait is much more eloquent than I am. As usual. He also directly attacks the angle that the Sun article brings up, that science isn’t as good as imagination, by pointing out that without imagination, science is nothing more than a bunch of useless facts.

In the meantime, I’m starting to feel like I’m repeating myself ad nauseum into the ether. Though I know I have a handful regular readers, the site metrics tell me so, I’m not getting a lot of regular commenters, and I’m starting to think it’s my subject matter. Either you folks all agree with me (and I know at least a few of you who are regular readers do not), or you don’t want to take the bait and get into an actual debate on this subject matter. Why? I’m not that scary, am I? I really do just want to spark debate with you, which I absolutely relish not only as a means of getting to know you better, but also to force us both to suss out our personal belief systems as much as possible.

The funny thing is, when the political race in the States was nearing its crescendo, and I was posting stuff that wasn’t exactly controversial (e.g. annoyance at the media’s soft-gloving John McBombeverything), people were more willing to comment. I guess people really do believe that you’re allowed to discuss one another’s political viewpoints but not one another’s religious beliefs. I really just want to encourage you all to view religious belief as something that can be discussed along the same lines as politics.

Frankly, I’m starting to suspect that the fact that your religious beliefs make up the core of your personhood, inclines you all to turn away from any challenges to those beliefs just in case they shake the foundation of those beliefs. It’s why I’m willing to not simply close the browser window and ignore articles like the one I mentioned in this post, even though that would do my blood pressure many favours — my core belief system is that the universe is comprehensible, and the only way to gain understanding of the rules by which it plays is by applying the scientific method, so when someone suggests that people like myself are guilty of “scientism”, I have to post something about it. I can’t let the challenge go unanswered. So why are you?

Hell. If I was just looking for attention, I’d post more random Youtube videos. Those seem to get comments regularly. Or, another sure-fire way to get more comments is, I’d just mention the LHC and have one of the most prolific internet trolls in recent memory return. Then maybe I could debate him properly this time (if such is possible with that type of debater, who hits you with fifty references to poorly thought out pseudoscience in hopes that you can’t adequately answer every last one of them — the “shit and wall” debating method), instead of simply calling him on his games and shutting him out with an “all other planets are yours but this one”.

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