We all had a good time at the Darwin on the Palouse event, but for one thing: Jen got all the batty creationists, and I didn’t. My blood lust was not sated.
It was primarily two people who were especially obnoxious last night. One was a guy in the back of the room who got the microphone, pulled out a notebook, and started reading a long, rambling, incoherent statement, the gist of which was “There are creation scientists, and they really are too scientists, and evolution is not a science”. He was allowed to babble on far too long; Jen and Fred Edwords answered his question, dismissively and honestly, and then he reiterated the same nonsense. The audience was geting exasperated and fidgety, and people were telling him to sit down and give other people a chance to ask questions…flipped to another page in his notebook and started stammering out more longwinded creationist cliches. He was an inconsiderate and arrogant moron who was only parrotting stupid creationist tropes. He finally got his microphone taken away.
And now he has a supporter expressing his dismay on Facebook!
The presentations this evening at the U of I campus were well presented, thought provoking and alarming. Unfortunately, the question and answer period was cantankerous, disrespectful and all together unproductive. Surprisingly this behavior appeared to be initiated and sustained by members of the host organization. If this is how Palouse Coalition of Reason intends to treat their guests, I fear that future attempts to promote ideas centered around critical thinking and scientific understanding will be limited to a narrow group of like minded participants. Or perhaps this is the intent?
Sorry, Mr Warwell: not only was the creationist not expressing ideas, not only was he treated with excessive courtesy when he insisted on presenting an ill-thought out, ignorant manifesto, but he was an asshole, too. Please do not bother to “contribute” to other discussions on this issue: his performance was embarrassing and really deserved far harsher ridicule than he got.
The second creationist started his babble with noise about Mt St Helens and amazing whale fossils in Peru that are supposed to support the claims of the Genesis Flood. I already knew this story: it’s a classic example of a creationist quotemining the scientific literature, and it’s actually something I dealt with in a recent comment, prompted by that inane twit, David Buckna. The Peruvian whale fossils were the result of multiple deposition events, not at all compatible with a single great flood, and were produced in a sheltered harbor where whale carcasses drifted and were swiftly buried by diatom blooms. I got a bit irate and shouted him down; I told him it was not evidence for his myth, and that he was simply cherry-picking the data.
Someone else wrote in complaining about the event.
Actually, I Dislike this page now after seeing the embarrassing performance last night. I believe in evolution certainly, and I also know that since none of us can say for sure what the history of the Earth is, my reality is just that–a belief. I expect campus groups to have respect for everyone, and a respect for differences amongst us, and what went on last night was an outrageous disrespect to anyone with a religious faith, or anyone who questions the conclusions of scientists. This is the way to turn people away from one another and against each other, and an excellent way to turn religious students and community members away from the idea of evolution. You guys did no one any favors last night.
NO. This is po-mo shallow bullshit. We do not have to have respect for discredited, disconfirmed, dishonestly presented nonsense, like those creationists were doing. In a discussion of matters of empirical reality, strong skepticism is essential and useful…a meeting in which we were expected to show deference to liars and frauds and ignoramuses like those two creationists would not be a productive event.
There’s a place for more conciliatory, compromising tactics, but there’s also a place to take the muzzles off the wild dogs and turn them loose on the misleading crackpots of the young earth creationist movement.
Maybe that’s why these guys didn’t appear at my talk: they didn’t want to get shredded.