Fat Steve's Blatherings

Monday, May 09, 2005

Humor, Intentional and Unintentional

      We have examples of both today, intimately linked.  (Hat Tip: susanna)

      The intentional humor is at Scrappleface.  Scott Ott tells of the vast herds of Darwinists that used to roam the Kansas plains, dominating the environment.  But lately, scrappy intellectual competitors have largely forced them off the land into a few isolated classrooms.  Even there, they struggle to survive, and conservationists are trying to save them before they go extinct.  All in all, pretty funny, I think.

      But blogger "Orac," a "surgeon and scientist," isn't amused at all.  He tries to refute Ott's arguments!  Since there are no arguments to refute, that gets rather strained.  When Ott commented, pointing this out, Orac tries again!  Will someone mail this putz a clue?

      The best unintentional humor, however, comes in this Christian Science Monitor article posted on the CBS News website.  The writer surveys the opposition to evolution, noting that the more-or-less scientific critics of evolution have spread enough information that many students come into class equipped with embarrassing questions for the teacher.  How is a teacher to cope with this doubt, while at the same time not taking the questions seriously and trying to answer them (that alternative is never raised)?

      One science teacher is near despair:
"In some ways I think civilization is at stake because it's about how we view our world," Nimz says. The Salem Witch Trials of 1692, for example, were possible, she says, because evidence wasn't necessary to guide a course of action.

"When there's no empirical evidence, some very serious things can happen," she says. "If we can't look around at what is really there and try to put something logical and intelligent together from that without our fears getting in the way, then I think that we're doomed."

      Of course, the critics say the same thing -- if you can't look around at reality, compare it to evolutionary theory, and potentially come to the judgment that evolution didn't occur, we're doomed to irrationality.

      What's really frightening, by the way, is something the article writer didn't notice.  Three out of four USAmericans believe they know how life originated and obtained its present diversity.  Shocking!  Only about one in four seems to be sane, rational, fearless, well-informed, and honest enough to see that in reality, the evidence is quite insufficient to come to any conclusion on this subjects that doesn't depend on faith.  I worry about a society that can't see this.  (Why yes, I do maintain we don't know enough to explain the origins or diversity of life without invoking faith.  How did you guess?  But in any case, thanks for recognizing my sterling intellectual qualities).



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