CORR: Reposted from April 9, 2006April 9, 2006 at 12:00 am | Posted in Journal of Anti-Science meetings | 3 Comments
I’ve been angry, very angry, since Thursday night. Almost to a point of not being functional. I’m becoming obsessed with defending science, if I wasn’t already. And if I was already, I’m definitely more so now. I’m in this until the end.
My failures Thursday night were because my anger made me hide my honesty. I was more concerned about using etiquette, finding a language to speak to the crowd, and concern for my ally once things turned ugly than I was there to do simply what I was there to do.
Many readers of this blog may wonder what that is. I may look like the devil to some of you. I know I look like the devil to many. I must have looked like some random young man simply out to cause trouble to Thursday night’s crowd.
The big answer is to defend science and our species. We can’t make nature change its policies, but we can make a policy to ignore or edit our understanding of nature to make it say whatever we need it to say for whatever reason. That behavior is poison because it wouldn’t make what we want science to say to be true. So when we do that, that will be the end of our pursuit of truth and progress. All we’ll have left is a wait for our inevitable extinction. There will be no more growth and the only knowledge that will be accepted as truth will be whatever is voted on, whatever the dominant demographic decides what fits their needs, instead of what is correct. These statements may sound overdramatic to some of you, but trust me when I say that’s what the Intelligent Design/Creationism movement can potentially do if it has success. Rest assured that the qualification of my statements will come with the precedent.
You may also think that’s too self-important, that I’m only defending science, and that I place so much importance on science because I am a student of science. If that is your thought, then please sit there and think about what science has given you. I’m a student of science for that reason, because understanding the universe makes us stronger and I want to help.
The big answer may not speak to many of you, and I can understand that. The big answer wouldn’t have spoken to me 2 years ago either. So let me give you a smaller part of the big answer, the part of the answer that touched my nerve on Thursday night and the reason I’ve been pissed off since, but first I have to provide a little background.
Anyone who knows my parents know that they’re fine, upstanding people and are about as christian as it gets. They’re both also habitually busy people. Busy with work. Busy with me. Busy with my sister and her family. Busy with the house. Busy with their health. Busy with our health, which isn’t the best. They’ve been busy since before I was born, and busy with things that lie far outside any study of natural science.
My parents seemed to believe that my acceptance of evolution showed that I had been possessed by some sort of demon. Either that or I was rebelling. They worried for my very soul, even more so than usual. They felt that I was betraying God by feeling that I had studied enough, partially through Dr. Moore-Jansen’s Biological Anthropology class, my own research, my further study of biology, and my own observation of living things, and felt that I had seen enough evidence to see that evolution, as the concept that biological organisms change over time, is undeniable.
Anyone who knows my father knows he’s as good a man as you will ever find, but he can be a bit hardheaded although reasonable and rational. He teaches industrial arts, technology, and drafting and he’s been a multi-sport coach for over 30 years. He also had no reference to understand evolution, but let me know he doesn’t see the problem with creationism/ID in science classrooms and that he doesn’t accept evolution. It took me about the length of a commercial break to help him understand by telling him a simple story that I made up on the spot but is sound in concept. It had to do with a school of fish.
First I had him agree that him and I aren’t twins by any stretch of the imagination, and that generally, while similarities do exist, children are different from their parents. I asked him to pretend that we were fish and I was still his kid, but I was born with an unusually long snout, and because of this long snout I was able to reach food that the other fish like him can’t reach. Because of that I grow up to be big and strong and have kids, who will also have long snouts. That alone means that evolution has taken place because there are now more fish in our school with long snouts than there were before. But that concept is never the big obstacle in accepting evolution, the problem is always with speciation, the changing from one species to another. So, I continued to say that my fish children grew up big and strong because they have the same long snout that I do, and so on and so forth until our numbers are big. At some point my fish won’t follow his fish because we’ll need to follow the food, and no one from my school will have a chance to breed with anyone in his school. Generations later, the isolation between our schools will cause a difference that will make it as impossible to breed naturally between the schools as it is between lion and house cat. Different species.
There it clicked. It made sense to him. Pop has been around the world. He’s seen some things, and he knew what I was telling him was true. Since then he’s trusted my position.
How does that fit in with the smaller answer? Because of the fact that if it wasn’t for my intervention my father may have been in that crowd Thursday night, taken advantage of by a man willing to lie to promote himself and his faith. Dad, who is pretty intelligent, would not have known difference because natural science is not his area. He may have bought some of the propaganda of the meeting, which offered many books, videos, and DVDs. And unwittingly and with good intentions, my father may have turned into a pawn that down the road votes in some election that cripples science and arrests human progress, a result that I know my father, a good man, would never endorse.
I looked into the crowd on Thursday and I saw a collection of people much like my parents. People that I grew up with and was raised by. I know these people. They’re good people with good intentions. Busy people, like my parents are busy, and not students of science, much like my parents and most of my friends. These are my people, I love them dearly, and I would do anything for them. To allow someone to come in and lie to them, to misrepresent the truth, only to use them for either profit or cause is unacceptable.
I also looked into the crowd and saw many children and I felt sorry for them. I didn’t know what science was until I was 22, feeling as I grew up, much like the crowd, that science was a tool of the devil and invented purely to be a pain in the ass for school children. Ever since I learned that science is the study of nature, the universe, I feel as though I was robbed of those 22 years, and wish I had them back so I would have had more time with science. All I am now is a student of science, and that’s all that I will ever be. Everyday I understand more, and everyday is better than the last. It is my happiness and it makes others happy that I share it with. Many of these children may never get to experience what I have with science, something that may make sense to them like it has to me, because they’ve been told to ignore it which is a mistake I would not make again. The lives of those children are being compromised the same way as mine has.
Those present may have thought so but neither I nor my ally were present to fight against the crowd on Thursday night. We were there only to represent the truth, and, if needed, to fight against Dr. Lucas to defend the crowd, not to attack them. We were there in an attempt to defend well meaning people from being taken advantage of, people who don’t have reference to what is claimed to be being represented, science, which is something that I study.
There is no science in Intelligent Design/Creationism, but it also doesn’t need to have any. All it needs is enough people like my parents and the crowd to succeed, a success that will be damage all of us which are intentions I know that the crowd did not have. To think that the people I love are being manipulated into making decisions based in lies and that these children will grow up as ignorant as I did pisses me off to no end.
That’s the smaller point, and I think it is one that all of us can relate to. I’d do anything to protect my family, which is what I’m doing. We deserve enough respect to not be lied to and used.
Thank you for letting me borrow your eyes.