Thursday, December 22, 2011

On Not Bothering to Do Any Research

I don't have any major beef with the first four paragraphs of this Telegraph article. However, the last paragraph really annoys me, because it demonstrates and entire disregard for doing any sort of research:

"I've moaned about this before, but it is completely baffling to me why evolutionary biology, and not cosmology or plate tectonics or radio-carbon dating, has become the whipping boy for science-denying creationists. Those other three are just as solid in their refutation of a literal reading of religious works. Maybe it's a visceral dislike of the idea of sharing a common ancestor with apes. But whatever it is, the education of millions of children, in Turkey, in Britain and around the world, is being harmed by people – parents, teachers, government officials – with a simple-minded interpretation of their religion. Evolution is a fact, like gravity (and a theory, like gravity). Some parts of some holy books might seem to disagree, but then a part of the Bible seems to imply that π=3. It's a real shame to see the Turkish government, and British students, go down the route of believing a book of metaphors over the evidence of the world."

Okay, it took me a grand total of 2:46 to address five of the issues in his rant. Apparently that was too much work.


Blogger Noumenon said...

He's just hating on creationists with a rhetorical question; it should be pretty clear that the reason people focus on biology instead of cosmology, tectonics, and rock dating is that few people actually learn anything about astronomy, geography, or paleontology in school. Biology can't be ignored.

You can't exactly type "does cosmology refute creationism" into Google and get back that article about distant starlight. The π = 3 claim is the only one he's responsible for researching, and all he claims is that it "seems to imply" that π = 3 -- which is true. Even if the author absolutely knew pi and rounded as AiG says, what he wrote still came out sloppy mathematically speaking.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...


That's a absolutely terrible defense:

Option A - He could have not known about the measurements, when decimals were invented, rounding, etc., and just included "seems to imply" to avoid doing research (which is unethical).

Option B - He knew the rebuttal full well, but wrote it anyway as a cheap shot and used "seems to imply" as weasel words (which is unethical).

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Roger Kovaciny said...

Without doing a full analysis, he's also using the word "evolution" to include both micro- and macro-evolution. Creationists only reject macro-evolution.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

I don't like the terms "micro-evolution" and "macro-evolution." People assume that if there are little changes, they can add up to big changes. You need to emphasize that it is evolutionary history, not science, that's rejected.

But you're right. "Evolution" is a supremely slippery term.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Roger Kovaciny said...

You're right. Micro-evolution is actually devolution. Although some instances of micro-evolution have been useful for humanity, say, the development of the golden delicious apple, they aren't particularly useful to the species--for another example, the loss of seeds in the common banana. And some examples that are thought of as micro-evolution, the development of supergerms, are nothing more than selective breeding, which isn't evolution at all.

2:15 AM  

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