January 31, 2008

A great response to the previous article was posted up on Pharyngula, I figure I'd transcribe it here as they guy makes some pretty slicing an observant statements.

"The more I read quotes like that, the more I become convinced of my developing hypothesis that its not evolution that's the problem, but change. I mean, think about it:

They reject the notion that the earth, and the life that lives on it, has radically changed over millenia, in favor of the notion that since its creation the earth, and the life on it, has been relatively constant in form and function.

They consider it a failing of science that when confronted by evidence scientists will change what they consider the "truth", as compared to the superior "truth" of the never-changing Bible (or other revealed religious work). They also reject any evidence that the Bible has changed.

Politically, they held it against John Kerry that he changed his opinion on issues after gaining more evidence, while they are (or were) proud of W's insistence of sticking to a decision or opinion once made even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

As such, an appeal along the lines of "Scientists don't know what they are doing because they 'discovered' Pluto isn't a planet and changed their collective minds." works because, to them and their audience, Change Is Bad. Admitting error is bad. They don't make mistakes, or at least the folks they listen to don't. d/dt (mind) = 0.

As opposed to folks on this side of the debate, the more highly trained of which observe change, quantify error, embrace the notion that Science isn't revelation, but conversation. We understand that Principia Mathematica, On The Origin of Species, and Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt are not handed down from on high, absolute truth not to be questioned, but rather are brilliant insights by people -- humans, with flaws and errors of their own -- who saw what others saw and put it together differently than anyone else did at the time. Their work is added to the conversation and built upon by others as time goes by.

We embrace change; they fear it. We don't understand how they can think that way; they don't understand how we can think this way. I think I'm onto something here."

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