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(Scientific American)   Is the answer A) You're a moron, B) You're a moron, or C) You're a moran?   (blogs.scientificamerican.com) divider line 28
    More: Stupid, literal interpretations, evolution, pseudosciences, necessarily true, Darwinian, draw backs, history of science, frame of references  
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9012 clicks; posted to Geek » on 21 Nov 2012 at 8:55 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-21 09:16:48 AM  
4 votes:
"Even when bolstered by modern genetics, evolutionary theory does not explain why life emerged on Earth more than 3 billion years ago, or whether life was highly probable, even inevitable, or a once in a universe fluke."

It pisses me the hell off when people bring this up. Evolutionary theory does not even attempt to explain the origins of life. That is not why the theory was developed. Its like saying that you don't believe in gravity because it doesn't explain how pop-rocks work.
2012-11-21 10:25:47 AM  
3 votes:
Wall of text ahead, but I just want to highlight this response he got from one of his students:

"I personally do not believe in the theory of evolution. Nevertheless I am open to changing that belief if presented convincing evidence."

We all like to think that about ourselves, but the reality is that's not true. For most of us most of the time, at least.

For starters, as long as you are setting the standard for "convincing", you never have to change your beliefs at all. We move the goalposts all the time. On top of that, we rationalize away evidence of things we don't like. Like a wife who comes up with very fanciful explanations for a husband's odd behavior when anyone outside of that relationship can clearly see that he's cheating on her. Or like a person who is so damned sure that he is a good driver, in spite of a half dozen wrecks on his record where each one was determined to be his fault. We are very emotionally attached to our beliefs, whether they are political, religious, scientific, social, personal, or whatever. Each of them makes us who we are, and on the whole most of us like who we are (or at least, are comfortable enough with who we are that we don't enjoy the prospect of going through a radical change). And ultimately, we don't like to admit we were ever wrong about something so serious. A lot of us hold out on relationships well past the point when they should have ended, bad drivers don't want to admit that they suck at someone most people do well at every day, and most people are not going to be convinced that the beliefs their parents instilled in them from a young age about the nature of reality (e.g. a religious belief) are simply wrong (or, at best, purely speculative).

And I don't want to pretend that scientists are immune to this. A good number of scientists hold on to their own theories well past the point that they should have been abandoned, but because they are typically more intelligent they are also much better at rationalizing away the evidence that should have convinced them that they were wrong. It has been said that science advances funeral by funeral, as cliques of researchers who stubbornly hold to erroneous theories dies off and are replaced by younger generations that were less likely to be exposed to those falsified theories. But on the whole, they tend to be that way about scientific beliefs that are very esoteric - as in you'd really only care one way or the other if you were a student or researcher currently in that field - and not about something as basic as whether evolution is real, or the age of the earth, or whether global warming is happening.

So when someone says they just need to be presented with something "convincing" I always ask them to come up with an example of something they would consider convincing. For the most part, most of them either can not or will not. Which suggests (though not always very strongly) to me that they aren't serious about examining their beliefs and are more concerned about protecting their ego. At least with regards to the evolution question, the few people who are able to come up with some example of "convincing" evidence almost always come up with some example that would ironically disprove current evolutionary theory - e.g. a bird giving birth to a monkey or something equally silly. In that regard, creationists have always looked to me like the conspiracy theorists who think the moon landing was faked or that 9/11/01 was an inside job because it's the same process (side note: sadly, nowadays I feel I must specify which 9/11 since the GOP seems to be trying to hard to make the Benghazi thing on 9/11/12 a scandal of some nature), just different content. Incidentally, a study was published recently this year that made the connection between other types of science deniers - global warming deniers - and conspiracy theorists (Lewandowsky et al. (2012). NASA faked the moon landing-Therefore (Climate) Science is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science. Published in Psychological Science), and I'm finishing up another study looking at the same thing, just across a wider array of pseudoscience, science denial, paranormal ideation, and conspiracy theory adherence, which has found many of the same things. Whatever they come up with that would be convincing is oddly enough something that would make the official explanation of what happened wrong. And honestly, most can't; there's some interesting research on conspiracy theorists who hold mutually exclusive conspiracy theories to be true at the same time - (Wood, Douglas, & Sutton (2012). Dead and Alive: Belief in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories. Published in Social Psychology and Personality Science)

But, with that said, I usually respond to those claims - "give me convincing evidence and I'll change my mind" - with the question I mentioned above. Asking someone "what evidence would I need to show you for you to admit you were wrong" is a very good way to learn just how serious someone is about critically examining their deeply held beliefs.

Anyway, just my thoughts on the matter.
2012-11-21 09:43:27 AM  
3 votes:

Tigger: You don't tell them a, b or c.

You tell them F.


Nice.
If this is high school we're talking about, the answer is simple.
"Class, we will be learning about Darwinian evolution. You can choose to believe or disbelieve as you like, but you will be expected to know the theory. You are free to hedge all answers on the tests with an 'according to' if that makes you more comfortable. If anyone would like to discuss the merits of creationism vs evolution, I would be happy to do so outside of class, with your parents' permission. If you'd like to discuss intelligent design, you'll receive an F."
2012-11-21 09:35:59 AM  
3 votes:
You don't tell them a, b or c.

You tell them F.
2012-11-21 08:40:57 AM  
3 votes:
Evolution and faith can be compatible, as long as faith is willing to abandon literal interpretations of scripture.

Therein lies the main problem, IMHO. Evolution is only incompatible with religion when you insist on interpreting the bible literally. (Which hardly any Christian sect actually does, btw...I don't care what they tell you.) This is only a wedge issue for political reasons. Christians are easier to herd and manage when they feel threatened and embattled over some moral panic crisis.
2012-11-21 08:32:52 AM  
3 votes:

slayer199: Is there any way to speak to a true believer to get them to open their mind? Offhand, I can't think of one... so moron fits.


I still say the only way to truly demonstrate evolution to a Fundie is infect them with a drug resistant strain of gonorrhea and ask if them if they want to change their answer.
2012-11-21 08:35:44 PM  
2 votes:

KrispyKritter: i am entertained by educated people who cannot discern between fact and theory. you God haters can piss on the bible all you want but hey, you weren't there, it's all man-made shiat (theory) you are insisting is a big brick wall of truth and fact. grow up. scientific theories are proven wrong every year.


I know you're a troll, but I'll bite anyway:

Understand that the people who attack evolution the most are evolutionary scientists. Every single serious scientist at the forefront of their research does not accept evolution at face value like some belief system. They attack it, often with extreme prejudice, and it keeps withstanding their attacks. If there were holes in the theory, the millions of studies done on a weekly basis would have found them by now. Instead, predictions are made -- and then proven -- that correctly validate evolutionary assertions.

That's what makes a theory a "Theory".
2012-11-21 01:45:25 PM  
2 votes:
If you're teaching a class on evolution, then teach evolution. Don't go out of your way to bring religion into it by asking retarded questions like "how do you reconcile your beliefs with evolution". The only thing you accomplish is to put the religious folks into a defensive mode and make them more difficult to teach. Just teach your course material without the anti-religious crusade, and those students who dismiss your course material and evidence based on their beliefs, will fail the course and weed themselves out of the pool of qualified scientists that graduate.

Summary: the professor is an attention whore.
2012-11-21 10:02:55 AM  
2 votes:
They aren't morons, but they have been deceived from an early age. I was reading excerpts from an elementary level textbook from the Louisiana public school system the other day. It was basically saying that scientists believed in evolution in spite of obvious evidence to the contrary and that they were essentially stupid for not being able to see it. Elementary school students aren't going to be going to Wikipedia and then clicking on the citations section. They are going to believe what their school books tell them, especially when they go home and to church and hear the exact same thing. So they grow up believing that scientists are stupid and that their data can be trumped by common sense. It is the same system of thought that makes them 100% confident that their gut level reactions trump Nate Silver's mountains of statistical evidence and theory.
2012-11-21 09:17:43 AM  
2 votes:

Happy Hours: DNRTFA but teachers should explain that this is our best theory and while we cannot prove it as an absolute certainty there is a hell of a lot more evidence for it that anything else including creationism.

You are now free to go to church on Sunday.


Evolution is not a theory, it's a fact. It's like gravity, there is no doubt that it exists.

The "theory" part of the theory of evolution is the same as the "theory" part of gravity, it deals with the how evolution works, not whether it exists or not.

The theory of gravity is the same, it attempts to explain how gravity works, that is exists is not a question.

Currently the most widely accepted theory of gravity is...anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
2012-11-21 08:16:26 AM  
2 votes:
d) Your Moran.
2012-11-21 11:00:45 PM  
1 votes:

0z79: BTW, re-read some of these posts, people here have all but called me an idiot.


To be fair, you have behaved very much like an idiot (your very Boobies called theists open-minded and criticized opponents of that so-called "open-mindedness", and then you dared to say atheists are worse than ID advocates).

The problem isn't that you're behaving like an idiot, it's that you're acting like this xkcd:
imgs.xkcd.com

And you've been very defensive and condescending when called out on it.

You're either a Poe or a troll.
2012-11-21 06:51:37 PM  
1 votes:

walkingtall: For 140 years evoluiion theory stated in every textbook in the world that life evolved from some kind of organic soup.


Well, yes, if by "evolved from some kind of organic soup" you mean "developed over two billion years through complex chemical reactions based on really long, tetravalent carbon chains that bond well with nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen molecules in the freewheeling, swash-buckling liberation of an aquatic 3D environment that thanks to the turbulent, volcanic nature of early earth, frequently smashed together and through heat and pressure fused into organic peptides that were simple chemical polymers (repeating molecular structures, which occur naturally) that actively folded into globular or fibrous patterns to become proteins which were used as enzymes to catalyze the chemical process to make more of themselves, and in time the accumulating size of these proteins attracted lipids for use as insular membranes against harm that eventually became hardened cellular walls which permitted the formation of more symbiotic structures within to improve replication and energy consumption including nucleic acid and ribosomes, and once self-replication was mastered, everything thereafter was simple refinement and improvement."
2012-11-21 04:45:41 PM  
1 votes:

vactech: walkingtall: There is no scenario in which humans could live underwater

I lived in water once.

...
...
...
then I was born.


3.bp.blogspot.com

Some odd reason.. I thought of this
2012-11-21 04:30:19 PM  
1 votes:

walkingtall: There is no scenario in which humans could live underwater


I lived in water once.

...
...
...
then I was born.
2012-11-21 03:14:27 PM  
1 votes:

skinbubble: [2.bp.blogspot.com image 400x400]


i457.photobucket.com

It's real
2012-11-21 02:27:30 PM  
1 votes:

RussianPooper: It's more like saying you don't believe in gravity because it doesn't explain the origin of matter. They aren't completely unrelated.


Allow me to submit another analogy then: its like asking a plumber to perform bowel surgery because he's used to dealing with tubes full of shiat. There may be a superficial resemblance, but no reasonable person should consider that they make the two the same thing. The average plumber never intended to be a surgeon, and asking him to be one would be unreasonable, no matter what the resemblances are. The theory of evolution was never intended to explain the origins of life and it would be unreasonable to ask it to do so, no matter what the resemblances are.
2012-11-21 12:55:29 PM  
1 votes:
Anyone who uses the phrase "just a theory" is clueless.
2012-11-21 11:55:12 AM  
1 votes:
www.chinohills.com

\seriously, you're slipping
2012-11-21 10:56:26 AM  
1 votes:
FTFA: I feel a bit queasy, I admit, challenging their faith, from which some of them derive great comfort. Part of me agrees with one student who wrote: "Each individual is entitled to his or her own religious beliefs... Authority figures teaching America's youth should not be permitted to say certain things such as any religion being simply 'wrong' due to a certain scientific explanation."

This is the part that boggles my mind.

Here is a man who has studied and worked and striven his entire professional life to assimilate and understand a vast field of knowledge, and he has been certified as a bona fide expert in the discipline. It is his job to teach youngsters a little of what he knows.

Now, name me one other field of endeavor where someone so accomplished, experienced, respected and certified has to tread lightly and mince his words around some pimply-faced goddamn first-year kids who don't know jack shiat.

Can you imagine a Master Mechanic being compelled to watch his words around some teenage imbecile who thinks steam-power is cutting-edge automotive technology?
2012-11-21 10:49:14 AM  
1 votes:

kid_icarus: Evolution and faith can be compatible, as long as faith is willing to abandon literal interpretations of scripture.

Therein lies the main problem, IMHO. Evolution is only incompatible with religion when you insist on interpreting the bible literally. (Which hardly any Christian sect actually does, btw...I don't care what they tell you.) This is only a wedge issue for political reasons. Christians are easier to herd and manage when they feel threatened and embattled over some moral panic crisis.


RussianPooper:
It's not all that hard to understand, hardly mind-boggling. The 6000 year thing is kind of a fringe, but still, you don't get to choose who raises you and where you grow up, so you are at the mercy of the information that is provided to you. And let's not act as if there aren't societal pressures in regards to belief as well that can keep people from bothering to question, at least for a while, and an evolutionary tendency to trust your family and the people in your group. There are people who believe the earth is old and that evolution exists within small parameters, but still believe god created everything and that species don't evolve into different species. They're unfortunately close to the majority, in fact, so I'm guessing not all your 349 classmates all believed as you expect.


I know it feels good to believe that people are educated and intelligent, but the most recent poll I can find shows that 46% of those within the United States are young earth creationists. We'd all like to believe that people are intelligent, think through their positions, and are in general agreement with knowledge acquired over the years. However, as George Carlin said, "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." So, no, YEC is not a fringe belief (at least in the US), it's a mainstream Christian belief that should not have existed since the foundation of modern geology, but seems to have been fairly steady since 1942.
2012-11-21 10:21:01 AM  
1 votes:

bikerbob59: So, why aren't apes still evolving into humans?




"It is inaccurate to say that humans were once other similar apes such as gorillas or chimpanzees. Instead, evolution states that our species and other species of great apes share a common ancestor.

That means at some point a long time ago, our three species were one species and over time, we diverged into what we are today. It is exceedingly unlikely for any of the current species of great apes to retrace millions of years of evolution back to that common ancestor and begin to evolve on the exact same path as humans. Instead, they will continue on their own evolutionary path that is parallel to others and will not converge."
2012-11-21 10:16:57 AM  
1 votes:

DAD 20165: I'm not saying it's not fact but it seems to me if people were confident in evolution it would be the laws of evolution not still a theory.
Science and religion are not opposed science is just too young to understand. I heard this quote somewhere and I believe it will eventually be a truism


This is a fairly effective troll. I award you 8/10.

With the caveat that you're a pointless childish attention whore.
2012-11-21 09:59:58 AM  
1 votes:
Hey, here's an idea: You don't have to agree with it, but you do have to explain the evidence for it and how it works.

Not learning about something because you don't agree with it is silly. I don't agree with Marxism, or the mindset that brought Hitler to power, or slavery. That doesn't mean I get to skip the class.
2012-11-21 09:22:24 AM  
1 votes:

poorjon: "Even when bolstered by modern genetics, evolutionary theory does not explain why life emerged on Earth more than 3 billion years ago, or whether life was highly probable, even inevitable, or a once in a universe fluke."

It pisses me the hell off when people bring this up. Evolutionary theory does not even attempt to explain the origins of life. That is not why the theory was developed. Its like saying that you don't believe in gravity because it doesn't explain how pop-rocks work.


It's more like saying you don't believe in gravity because it doesn't explain the origin of matter. They aren't completely unrelated.
2012-11-21 09:11:05 AM  
1 votes:
I grew up in a suburb in Connecticut. Among those in my class of 350 or so, there were Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and non-religious. There might have been some that belonged to other groups, but it didn't really matter all that much what group you belonged to. Out of those 350 or so teenagers I graduated with, I am fairly convinced that all 350 believed that humans evolved over a long period of time, and I am also fairly convinced that all 350 could tell you that the Earth was more than 6,000 years old. Since then, I've lived in Virginia, Tennessee and now Utah. So I know that creationists actually exist, but I never experienced this as a teenager. The idea that someone in my teenage peer group would have actually denied evolution boggles my mind.
2012-11-21 08:32:55 AM  
1 votes:
"The reason Darwin encounters so much opposition today is due to proof as well as logic."

Neither of which you possess
2012-11-21 08:28:31 AM  
1 votes:
Is there any way to speak to a true believer to get them to open their mind? Offhand, I can't think of one... so moron fits.
 
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