I’m not a fan of the Huffington Post — I see too much support for clowns like Chopra and anti-scientific thinking like Robert Kennedy’s — so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this. Matthew Chapman posted his suggestion for a presidential debate on science there. This is the same issue I thought was a good idea, but cynically suspected none of the candidates would ever go for it. The response on HuffPo was to a large part deranged.
Because Chapman used the creationism as an example of a dangerous denial of reality, several commenters barrelled in with accusations that evolution is a philosophical ideology, that he or scientists were denigrating religion, and one idiotic commenter in particular turned it into an argument about whether evolution was true or not. That argument is done, people; if you’re still whining about Intelligent Design creationism, you’re part of the problem.
Anyway, all of the noise prompted Chapman to write a reply:
I have learned a lesson here. I made a serious proposal about a presidential debate on science and hoped I could find some support. I suggested a number of topics which loosely fall under three categories, The Environment; Health and Medicine; and Science and Technology Policy. I think we can all agree that these are important subjects and worth talking about.
Unfortunately, I mentioned evolution in the preface which elicited a series of angry comments from creationists of various types. Although this highlights the importance of one of my suggested topics, science education, it totally distracted everyone from the other 14 science and technology subjects I mentioned, and from the prime reason for the post, a call for a Presidential Debate on Science and Technology.
I hope I can still find some support for this idea, and from now on, I promise I will skip over the “e” word and go straight on to “f”.
I sympathize. There are many science issues that need to be discussed, and it’s unfortunate that the “e” word sucks all the air out of the room so effectively. But evolution is also symptomatic. Don’t avoid it — one useful thing about it is that it makes it easy to spot the clueless wankers in the room.
And there are a lot of clueless wankers inhabiting the HuffPo. I don’t know how many of them are right-wing trolls and how many are left-wing ditzes, though, and I don’t rule out the likelihood that there are many of the latter.