Let’s Get Dogmatic

I recently came across this post, which covers a story run by (sigh) the Discovery Institute, through their hilarious website, ‘Evolution News & Views‘. Go on over there for a quick laugh before reading the rest of this.

Back? Good. The post I linked to is about one Mr. Zivkovic, who apparently thinks it’s fine to give students slightly misleading information so long as it leads them to accepting evolution. It’s not the entire point of the post, but it does take up a fairly sizeable paragraph, as you can see by reading the original. Personally, I think this is a very troubling idea. A lot of what I was taught in secondary school was either simplified or flat-out wrong – it had to be, because covering every topic in the amount of detail it requires is simply not possible when dealing with young teenagers in that kind of setting. However, this was so that we could be introduced to this information in a way that’s accessible, rather than as a form of (and I feel the term is apt here) indoctrination. Zivkovic is essentially saying that misleading students is all right so long as they come away believing in evolution, and I must strongly disagree.

However, I can see where he’s coming from. Creationism is a real threat, and something has to be done to prevent it from poisoning the minds of any more young people. But ask yourself, what is Creationism built upon? Falsehoods and lies. Go to any Creationist website or read any Creationist book and you’ll find nothing but wall-to-wall misinformation, engineered to hook people in; and to hell with the truth. Is the best way to fight Creationism really to copy the tactics of its most dishonest proponents?

4 Responses to Let’s Get Dogmatic

  1. jasondulle says:

    I find it strange that you would paint Creationists with this wide brush. Might there be some out there who are knowingly playing fast and loose with the data? Probably, but you can find some of those kind of people in the Darwinian camp as well. But people in both camp overwhelmingly are trying to be honest with the data, and fight for the truth, even if the disagree about the data, and what is true (largely over worldview considerations). To align your opponent’s motives in the way you have is unfair, and makes it difficult for me (a first time reader) to take you seriously.

  2. forknowledge says:

    I’m not sure how much of the Creationist literature you’re framiliar with, but I’ll be blunt: almost all of it is so wrong, so filled with blatant scientific error, that I find it very hard to believe that those who put it together weren’t fully aware of this and were going ahead with it anyway. By way of example, I offer virtually anything put out by the Discovery Institute or Answers in Genesis, Expelled, that odious movie by Ben Stein, and Godless, a particularly bad example from Ann Coulter (who was apparently informed by one of the leading ID proponents, although I’ve forgotten who exactly). Even listening to interviews with someone like Ben Stein will demonstrate this nicely; the man is either very, very ignorant about science or else just doesn’t care.

    However, I agree that I came across as too harsh on those who are simply repeating what they’ve been told. While I have a dim view of anyone who doesn’t bother to check the facts for themselves with an open mind, it’s the ones acting as the souce of the misinformation – the Steins and Hams of the world – that I have the biggest problem with.

  3. jasondulle says:

    I’m no fan of Ham, and Stein is not a scientist. He, like me, is just a layman trying to understand the debate, and cipher through the evidence. But my larger point was that I don’t think people on either side of the aisle are trying to deceive people. I don’t think anyone is trying to lie. Rather, both sides are guided by a particular worldview in their evaluation of the evidence. This determines how they interpret the evidence, and the kind of weight they attach to certain evidence.

  4. forknowledge says:

    If Stein really is just mistaken, he’s incredibly stupid (as, apparently, are the people he gets his scientific information from). That might sound too harsh again, but when someone displays such astonishing ignorance on a subject they made a movie about, there’s only one conclusion you can come to.

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