Peter Leschak writes in the Star Tribune about his conversion from creationist to rational human being. He used to be a smug, condescending, young earth creationist idiot, but he got better. Good for him! He still has a few things to learn, though.
Why is it that despite convincing scientific evidence so many Americans are creationists? For me, at least, the answer was clear: I had never seriously studied evolution and the facts supporting it. I’d graduated high school and college with honors and continued to read widely, and yet was not adequately exposed to a key concept of science. The chief fault lies with the scientific establishment.
Oh? Well, FUCK YOU TOO, Peter. Go read some Michael Ruse, you’ll find a fellow ass with a similar attitude.
Scientists and science journalists have been writing books and essays for decades on the subject of evolution and getting past the barriers erected by the creationists that you once happily represented, Peter; I suggest you go to the library or local bookstore and look for the names Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Sean Carroll, Jared Diamond, Niles Eldredge, Jay Hosler, Donald Johansson, Steve Jones, Ken Miller, Donald Prothero, Matt Ridley, Carl Sagan, Neil Shubin, Jonathan Weiner, or Carl Zimmer, just to mention a few. They all wrote approachable, gentle books about the science of evolution that don’t slap creationists upside the head, no matter how much they deserve it. You had not read widely. You had intentionally overlooked readable popular texts on a subject you disliked, and now you blame the authors for not trying hard enough. They don’t say “Fuck you, Peter,” but I do. Fuck you, Peter.
Now go look at organizations like the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network. They’ve been fighting hard for decades against those people with whom you once found common cause, the creationists; these organizations have been struggling against an insidious nationwide crusade by dogmatic Christians to suppress the teaching of evolution in the schools. I was a public school graduate who never once heard the word “evolution” mentioned in my classes because any teacher who said it would be descended upon by a horde of screeching fanatics. Your screaming fanatics. Even now, teachers know that they face suppression with little support from uncaring administrations if they try to do a good job teaching biology in their science classes…and you blame the pro-science organizations for not trying hard enough, and the teachers who were cowed by your pals. They’re too nice to say, “Fuck you, Peter,” but I’m not. Fuck you, Peter.
I grew up poor with no expectation that I’d even be able to go to college; my father had me all lined up for a nice union blue collar job when I lucked into a full scholarship (doing extraordinarily well on those standardized tests paid off). I went to a public school with an, as I now know in hindsight, awful science program (with one or two bright spots, thank you Mr Thompson), and got negligible exposure to science. But I loved the stuff myself; I followed the space program zealously, I dissected road kill, I hiked the woods and hills around my home, and I read like a maniac — I lived in the local library and read Scientific American and Natural History and Smithsonian and National Geographic, and I finished all the science books in the children’s section before I was 11 and pestered the librarians to let me check out adult books. I cared enough about how the world worked to struggle to understand it; I didn’t blame the scientists of the world for failing to look me up and spoon feed it to me. The “scientific establishment” built the deep reservoir of information your church tried to hide, and that you couldn’t be bothered to seek out on your own. I fought for my knowledge, which tends to make me the kind of rude, aggressive guy who would tell you, “Fuck you, Peter,” and I’m not about to change. Fuck you, Peter.
Hey, how about if, instead of blaming the people who have been struggling to bring information to you and straining to improve education, you instead blamed the ignorant dogmatists and truth-hating cowards who lied to you for years, who’ve been compromising science education, who elect dim-witted church-for-brains scum to high office, who frighten children away from the glorious joys of science with threats of hell, who bilk the public of money that they then use to create propaganda for creationism, who trained you from an early age to avoid challenging your beliefs? Once you do that, maybe I’ll be able to say a civil word to you.
Until then, though…fuck you, Peter Leschak.