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With the discovery of the early jawed fish, another gap for the creationist god has been culled.
But what irritates me is how the debate usually places evolutionary science on the back foot. As though it has to prove itself against creation myth.
Think about it, the insanity doesn’t lay with being great apes, with whom we share not only most of our genetic make up but also appearance, but that a god supposedly made us and other apes.
What’s with that? In trying to make something from dirt in “thy image”, did “He” get it wrong a shitload of times (yes, look not only at living apes, but other hominids, such as Neanderthals etc).
What about other primates? Was god drunk when he made them, seeing as they are in the same ballpark, but way off? What about oceanic mammals or true seagrass?
What the hell must this supposedly perfect being have been smoking to make such creatures?
It’s shameful that we treat creationists with respect. That we are supposed to think that a god thought it a great idea to make both testicles have a different path to the exit or that chimps and bonobos were a great idea – otherwise obviously very similar to us – is madness.
The recent Nye and Ham “debate” illustrates too much kindness to dreamtime delusions. Stop allowing accommodation to those who want, or need, myth to persist in an age when our developed critical reasoning cannot help but laugh at a talking snake convincing a rib woman to eat fruit…
The problem doesn’t sit with gaps in the fossil record, but instead with people who fail to apply Ockham’s razor when the only alternative is a stoned egotist who failed to mention the benefits of basic hygiene between pages of applauding genocide and servitude (provided you were female or of a different race of religion).
No, in the 21st century, evolutionary science is no longer in a position to defend itself. Creationism is on the back foot. Creationism must provide a convincing argument as to why we should consider it valuable in this day and age. I doubt it has one, hence why it stages this side show with the fossil record.
There is nothing wrong in exploring the potential for a soul. It is, after all, a hypothesis and thus merits investigation.
However, the evidence must first be convincing before any level of confidence is established.
I had it proposed to me that the human brain is basically a circuit board; a rich network of highways, buzzing with energy. As energy cannot be destroyed, the essence of who we are persists beyond death, like a driver stepping out of a car.
This was proposed to the individual I was talking with from someone with tertiary training in physics – an appeal to authority, of course.
I know enough about physics to know that energy cannot be created or destroyed and I also know that matter is parcels of energy as well. In truth, all that we are and all that surrounds as were pressed together in the tiniest of spaces just after the birth of the universe.
In a way, we were all there, at the beginning, and closer than we will ever be again.
But that is more poetic than relevant. There is no reason to suggest that energy holds a consciousness. If so, did I recharge my phone yesterday with my long dead great-grandfather? There’s something wrong with that picture.
The human mind is alive with energy impulses, but it is just as immersed in chemical reactions. We are a hotbed of hormones, thriving for chemical equilibrium where it counts.
If the car had poor while alignment, when the driver steps out, does she have a limp?
I was informed that a personality carries through, to “the other side”, which would lead to the necessity for the question to be, absurdly, answered with a “yes”.
An angry person; a mentally disabled person; surely their traits are the result of hormones and a malfunctioning body; surely the soul cannot be injured by such. What of a person with an overtly high sex drive? That would clearly be the result of hormones and would serve no function to a bodiless entity.
Just because someone with additional training on one subject proposes a hypothesis that sounds logical, this doesn’t inherently provide evidence, only a question asked. That species seemed unique suggested to divine creation – something the evidence has since proven wrong.
Genuine physicists are in the business of understanding how matter and energy work and if energy can be conscious, then this effort would be in vain as energy could never be predictable, just as I would be unable to tell when you might next sneeze, yawn or what your next thought may be…
It is reassuring to think that life may exist in some fashion beyond ones being and I have no problem with scientific investigations on the subject. However, I get slightly irate when sloppy musings are dressed up as informed arguments. If anything, such behaviour hurts the cause and credibility of the proponents.
I used to be called a “know it all” but, by now I hope my readers know me better than that. I seek reality. I share my views because it’s the only way to test them. I invite constructive criticism, but not insult. I have equal tolerance of insulated ideologies as I do for insult, because such are insults to the human mind.
If an opinion is shared in public space, it is done so with the expectation that others will test the ideas proposed for their factual merit. If the author does not live up to this expectation, becoming unreasonably offended and/or resorting to insult, then the author is demanding nothing less than dark-age authority. That is to say, “my views ought to be held beyond reproach because I favour them”.
Excuse my language, but that is bullshit.
We get nowhere as an intelligent species by lusting over fantasy any more than we would wishfully thinking that some spell may cure our ailment. We need data, we need quality evidence, on which to base our statements and planning if we are to do better than simply gamble our way through life. I, for one, will not gamble the lives of my children on favourable ideas – my own or others. I seek reality because of this.
We are told never to debate religion and politics over the dinner table, but that is gutless. Surely the results of both mean as much to everyone present at the table and hopefully each wants the best for themselves, their family’s and for their friends. Why then cower away from such topics, when the results of such ideologies can negatively taint how an individual sees another, based purely on gender, race and sexual preference or when it could mean the difference between general prosperity and growing inequality?
I’m not weak nor am I under the impression that I am right. I’m entirely about testing ideas so that I can find an acceptable path forward so as I can watch my children grow into happy, confident and empowered adults. Without any fantasy of an awaiting “bonus level” beyond my mortality, my sole desire is to help to propagate a society that fulfils these objectives beyond my lifespan, to illustrate my love for my family. When I can no longer provide guidance, knowing that I helped build an easier environment for my family is, at least for me, the most rewarding and comforting outlook I can fathom.
And so I hold insulated ideologies the most insidious and inhumane affronts to our species. I will be damned if I stand by as such invasive mindlessness corrodes our societies. I thank anyone who critiques my thoughts, as you provide me the greatest gift in removing uncertainty from my life. Others that share this view are the few brave ones whom carry our species into a brighter future.
I’ve been musing about my online efforts, the root to my frustrations and motivations and it all seems to come back to a fairly mundane point;
I have no faith in a paradise awaiting me in the future, so I’m driven to making one here and now.
My father always told me that violence is the default position of the moron, too feeble to reason. That’s part of the reason why I spent much of my adolescence with a split lip, cursing myself for not holding my tongue when some thug grunted in my direction.
I needed to learn too when silence was required – that is, when the noise made was aimed to stir emotion rather than reason. I have the online trolls to thank for that lesson.
All of this came to mind when hearing the latest news from Pakistan in relation to their upcoming election.
In truth, these terrorists only demonstrate that they are wrong.
From a strictly secular point of view, if the social package they had on offer truly provided the chance for improved human flourishing, then they could sufficiently reason as much and many people would adopt it. They wouldn’t need brutality to make their point.
From a spiritual perspective, how impotent does your deity need to be to require young men – this deities apparently loved creation – to strap explosives to themselves to make this super being’s point?
At least the Westbro Baptist church claims natural events are the wrath of their impression of a god, as naive and grotesque as it may be. This position is more “defensible” as far as spirituality is concerned.
If they require to undertake horribly inhumane acts on the behalf of their deity, these individuals demonstrate that they have no faith in the abilities of their deity. They ought to be able to simply enjoy a nice peaceful life and let god get on with teaching its creation about itself.
Of course, I strongly suspect nothing but silence in the way of “wrath” from some superbeing, and so must such people if they act in such a fashion. The actions undertaken do nothing but undermine the faith involved.
In a recent post, I made the point that the power of an idea is not with the transmitter, but entirely with the receiver. The only the difference (and I mean only) between Chris Monckton and, say, the walking sign, screaming hysterically that the end is near is the audience. The message is manic, obsessive and irrational in both cases, but the audience provide validity to the former over the latter.
In truth, my efforts have been focused upon such crackpots and in doing so, I’ve given them audience. Correcting an error airs the error and, from what I have seen, does little to improve the accuracy of information. The ardent climate “sceptic” remains committed, if not entrenched, regardless of the counterfactuals provided. The truther on fluoride, vaccination or creation remain as much so as well on their pet subject.
I’ve often convinced myself that my efforts are aimed, largely, to provide not a counterweight, but an example of the approach a true sceptic should take. This is critical thinking; do not simply believe a compelling argument, but investigate the evidence to see if it supports the conclusion. Yet, I’m no longer convinced that this is useful.
In fact, it costs me a lot of my personal time, it has brought me a lot of otherwise avoidable stress and recently it has gotten worse. I don’t receive huge traffic and yet what I have created has been provocative enough to merit genuine concern in my real life.
What frustrates me the most is that none of this even attempts to critique my work. I’m happy to be wrong, just prove it. Instead the target is the writer, leaving me convinced that I must in fact be correct and the opposing individuals simple do not wish to face reality.
The Idea of Ideas
Dawkins “meme” seems revolutionary for the same reason the notion that free will is an illusion, as debated by Harris, sits so uneasy to most. In essence, it comes back to my point about the power of ideas.
We hold no ownership of ideas. Sure, an individual may provide new insight or invent something that changes how a society functions, but in truth, they only did so because of the background conditions that lead to that resolution. This is why our ancestors scratched out rudimentary agriculture around ten thousand years ago and not the tablet computer.
Ideas develop, sometimes fuse and eventually evolve, using us as hosts all along. Ideas belong to no-one. For this reason, the transmitter is of little importance.
Personally, I am certain that I am not ideological by nature.
Even as a child, my Lutheran upbringing never sat well with me. In my adolescence, I wanted to “believe” and researched what I could of numerous faiths to no avail.
Even an ideological basis to “environmentalism” cannot be labelled on me. I became passionate largely because I detested invasive weeds. I was passionate and naïve. My environmental message has changed due to my training and increasing education on the subject rather than becoming solidified to a single position due to mounting counterfactuals.
This is what puts me at odds online. So much of my effort has been in addressing ideological positions or critiquing claims. This effort has largely been ineffective.
For the most part, I suspect the internet is not, as YouTube’s Thunderf00t puts it; “where religion goes to die,” but in fact the very opposite. The internet is one’s personal faith booster when reality stubbornly refuses to bend to a favoured position.
This is across the board; from the free-market ideologs, to the religious or pet-theorists, to even the environmental advocate or greeny-pretender, advocating a single solution to enormous problems (eg. like those whom push feverishly for nuclear power).
The internet is where propaganda thrives. It is not unlike the early days of the printing press and the audience then too had to learn new skills to avoid being taken for a ride. Of course, it was too often after their messiah had been proven false by the relentless erosion of time.
Futher, one online tool used is ‘troll bombardment’. If you call upon enough of your audience to comment wherever, you can provide a false impression of the general position. Again, the ability to critically analyse the material provided and then to critique such comments exposes such a hoax.
Yet, all of this typically falls on deaf ears or finds hostile and irrational knee-jerking from the faithful to a given position.
Unfaithful and Weary Writing From Here On
At this point, I’m not certain of the future of my writing online. Within the last couple days this has ebbed from outright shut down to where I currently sit.
This position comes back to ideas. Until the committed climate sceptic, anti-fluorider, anti-vax or creationist provides compelling scientific arguments, I will not report on it. The ideas I have tended to report on have been lousy and a waste of effort. Does one still need to argue that the earth is round or would such be a waste of effort? Likewise must similarly be said for all bad ideas.
I will focus on critical thinking, but I’ll find more productive avenues than relying upon examples from the various ideologs.
I will also return to discussing new science as it comes my way. The best way forth is forward and writing so much on backwards thinkers is simply not worth it.
Political posts will most likely completely disappear. I have no confidence in the Australian government and am reaching the conclusion that it has given up on the people in favour of undemocratic business interests and we are all worse off for it. Yet, the negative reaction to my writing here seems to be the greatest and is simply not worth pursuit.
I mustn’t be the first to discuss this – indeed it isn’t even my own idea – but an alternative explanation for the age of Biblical characters makes far more sense and places a hint of reality to what is quite obviously laden with myth.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I cannot for the life of me remember whom it was that suggested the following to me. It was some time ago and I didn’t think much of it then and wouldn’t have thought much of it even recently had I not taken some time to watch some of the rants of young Earth creationists on YouTube.
However, someone once suggested to me that it is likely that that genealogy described in Genesis is more likely based upon Lunar cycles than solar years and doing the mathematics proves interesting.
There are 12.37 full moons in a year. Taking the Biblical ages of the longest living characters we get the following.
|Name||Biblical Lifespan (“years”)||Divided by Lunar cycle|
Which all seem far more likely than the literalists would have one believe in taking the word of the bible as an absolute. I have no doubt that many of the characters actually did live and I wouldn’t be surprised if they lived for as long as the Lunar cycles suggested. What I doubt (for very good reason) the divine inclination and story of Genesis itself – that is to say, the root of the Abrahamic faiths which simply cannot be matched with observation.
I initially planned a post of this nature on my personal and low traffic blog, but trashed it a mere few sentences in.
After reading Sam Harris’s article to the same effect, I became inspired again and completed a new post on the matter – this time upgrading it to New Anthro (because it does have implications for our future).
And then I got nervous and trashed this as well, a few hours before it was scheduled to go live.
Free speech is fundamental and I hate that, in Australia, I am allowing myself to be bullied out of it by a few aggressive and immoral individuals. They dodge standing national laws and demand – through fear and intimidation – that everyone submits to the laws of their personal ideologies.
Now, just as a personal note, I don’t consider myself anything. I’m not a theist, nor am I atheist any more than I am a believer or a nonbeliever of the literal existence of Humpty Dumpty. No-one would ask me to hold an opinion one way or another because the whole idea is absurd. To me, the obsession with deities and “life after death” rate just as high.
That said, I don’t care what anyone else thinks and practices in private. Unlike some nonbelievers (as opposed to unbelievers), I have no interest in pursuing any such individual on their private stomping grounds (please keep this in mind; I am not interested in the debate about religion, nor do I seek to render one mute over another).
It is only when they expect me to play Simon Says with their invisible friends that I go a little like Hulk (that is, foamy at the mouth and growl a bit and not green and shirtless).
Laws based on ‘cos my book says so, are nonsensical and unjustifiable. Even adherents know this or we would still have mass stoning events, slaves and believe handing over women, as though they were a piece of meat, to a mob to be acceptable, to name a few.
I expect moral laws in which one can express themselves openly and honestly to be essential for an ethical and improving society. The right to offend is essential – sometimes the best and/or more accurate ideas come from uncomfortable locations. Let the ideas be weighed and measured by the populous and see it they pass the test.
In one respect, the continual disgust felt towards actions carried out by characters like those of the Westboro Baptist Church stand as a true testament to the increasing morality of the majority. Violent or oppressive behaviour aimed at such people only brings one down to their level. It’s far better to take the high road as a whole and leave such disgraceful attitudes to the ages. It is, after all, beneath one. They’ll eventually fade away if they are ignored.
Such an attitude, I would hope, others would express if someone offends their particular faith. A measure of value and truth is how well an idea stands up to critical investigation, after all. If the faith is so paranoid about such scrutiny, well that’s telling.
It shouldn’t matter if someone breaks religious law when they are not an adherent to that religion. In my colourful life, guess I would have broken many rules applicable to the followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Norse Myth, the Olympian Gods and any other faith brought to the table. I don’t know if that says anything about me really – other than I’m not interested in that particular doctrine.
My values are instead based on national law and empathy.
Nothing can be out of bounds in discussion for an open and free democratic country like Australia. By all means, it can be abhorrent, but not out of bounds. One should not be made fearful of “witch” burning mobs, beheading or other practice some idiot wants to revive from an age before effective sanitation simply because they offend someone else.
Yet drawing a stick figure and giving it the wrong name could lead to violence on the street, burning of flags and threats of terror in lieu of any actual national laws being broken.
That’s not on and politicians, as upholders of the constitution of the given state, should be brave enough to say, “Look, these morons created such media because they knew you would start jumping around like a headless chook. While I think they’re actions were pretty pathetic, you’ve made yourself look pretty silly too in how you’ve reacted. They said ‘jump’ and you did.”
While I’m not interested in following the example of such people, the truth of the matter is nothing more than that; they know how to incite behaviour objectionable in most secular states and let a few unbalanced people fill in the blanks, leaving the rest of us fearful and questioning just whom has moved in next door.
I’m not a fan of undertaking such activities, but I detest feeling like I’m unable to talk about it in fear of hateful retaliation. Through apologetic denouncement of the inciters by politicians and silence by the media and the general public, when we should be unified in deploring acts of terror, hate and reckless vilification, based entirely on religious law, we undo our own constitutions.
Too often we hear paranoid fears over government controls regarding environmental and social regulation (eg. it’s my liberty to smoke, that is, kill myself for corporate profit, if the truth be known), but where is the discussion regarding liberties against personal ideologies?
We don’t see outrage about the above behaviour in such discussions. In fact, the loudest protests for personal freedom tends to come from individuals with an ideological values package which includes many faith-drawn conclusions; eg. anti-abortion, anti-stem cell research, anti-equality for sexual preference etc. Where’s the freedom of the individual when we cannot choose aspects of what we do, what we can research and whom we can share our life with?*
If the Hump-Dumptians were out on the streets with signs “Behead all those who scramble eggs”, “death to those who mock aviaries” and other signs to the same effect, with as much hatred and vilification as that seen by other groups, we have the right to protest. While they have the right themselves to protest and to personal lives lived within religious law, they do not have the right to impose such personal laws on the wider community through fear and intimidation.
If instead, the Hump-Dumptians said, “it’s against my faith to eat egg or question the spiritual meaning of birds”, so be it. That’s completely acceptable. In a society of growing morality, the right to dissent needs to persist. Poor choices will eventually be weeded out through articulate and intelligent criticism.
It’s one thing to play a game of Simon Says with your invisible friend and quite another to demand others join in as well or face violence / murder. Such behaviour should not be acceptable and we have the right to say so.
*Such questions usually return the “floodgate” reply. Again, free and open debate will lead to the most rational conclusions. Censorship and blind taboo do nothing to improve human flourishing.
I spend a lot of time attacking the ideologies of what could be loosely termed strongly conservatives. Far less of my posts have targeted another group which too deserves as much criticism.
I, for one, thank Greenpeace for their activities in pursuing whaling operations. Not so much from an emotional view point, but from the view of preserving genetic diversity. Harvesting of the oceans is almost entirely unsustainable and until we can appropriately farm sea life sustainably (if it will ever be possible) I will not support fisheries on any level.
That said, their destruction of a CSIRO GM crop was a pathetic, emotionally fuelled gesture that will have no positive effect to their cause (unless they are simply attention seekers). Likewise, Nature recently published a news article about PETA activities to pressure the transporters of research animals.
Firstly, I do not support animal testing of cosmetic materials, but that said, this too is an emotionally fuelled gesture based more on an extreme ideology which contradicts the benefits such people have been able to enjoy in the modern age.
Animal testing is fundamental for safe medicines. It’s not enough to test the effects on living tissue (as psychological effects cannot be tested on non-conscious material), nor is it ethical to test directly on people*. Likewise, many such tests require certain genes to be present (or absent) to understand the relevant effects. This again requires fully formed animals of some sort.
Without such testing, it would have taken far longer for there to be conclusive evidence (at least, within the public arena) of the detrimental effects of cigarettes on our species; indeed the carcinogenic and otherwise poisonous properties of many materials that have (and still do) surround us.
The resulting data we have obtained for such testing has greatly improved the quality of human life and our understanding of ecology and animal behaviour (essential for conservation). Further testing will only increase our understanding of the brain, toxins, improved medicines, genetics, ecology and animal behaviour.
If any one of the PETA characters behind this movement have ever taken medicine (as opposed to the untested or tested-and-proven-not-to-work “alternative remedies”) to overcome an ailment (or to save their life), well, they are thus a hypocrite. They would expect such medicine to work and the only reason we have confidence of the abilities of such chemicals to do a certain job as well as knowing the side-effects is due to this process.
The same could be said about species conservation; behavioural ecology sometimes requires a sample group to be taken into the lab for behavioural as well as physiological studies. It’s also our work in genetics and population dynamics as well as animal testing which leads us to conclusions about gene pool and outbreeding coefficients. Saving the animals indeed means studying them.
It’s unlikely such actions will even do as PETA would like them to. Instead, other less favourable methods of transport will have to be considered – at the expense of the very animals PETA are trying to save.
From the Nature article;
In India, for example, the government’s National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), in Hyderabad, relies on Air India to ship specialized mouse strains to researchers and companies throughout the country. “From Hyderabad to Delhi by train would take more than 30 hours” and require an attendant, says Madan Chaturvedi, dean of life-sciences research at the University of Delhi. Without Air India transporting the animals, research at his institution “would definitely suffer”, he says.
Admittedly, it does serve as an ethical dilemma. If PETA genuinely stand for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, they would have more positive impact by working with researchers to set up a best practice policy. It would start with trying to eliminate needless animal testing where possible and then steps to ensure animals are handled appropriately. I wouldn’t be surprised if PETA learnt, through such an endeavour, that many researchers already act as ethically as possible.
Scientists are not the villains, riding on the back of some mutated rodent, out to take over the world that cartoons tend to portray. Believe it or not, they’re your average human, in a given profession, and like your average human they tend to be empathetic. They are not in the game to inflict cruelty for the sake of it.
Only through working with researcher can such groups truly understand what work is actually being done (rather than what the read in their pamphlets and understand from hear-say within their group) and work to ensure that important work is done to the highest ethical standards possible. Bullying others into a certain ideological framework will only lead to worsening the conditions of such animals and isolating such extreme ideologies even further… It’s counterproductive to mantra of PETA and hypocritical to the benefits its members enjoy in the modern world.
* There isn’t a version of the reality that I’ve heard that would not exploit the vulnerable and unnecessarily threaten human life.
As another foot note; I suspect many fans of PETA and alike, whom reject any animal testing / food supply, would have rejoiced at the recent study, by Séralini et al. 2012 that suggested a link between tumours and GM foods. Of course, this conclusion could have only been drawn by animal testing (whether or not the implications indeed turn out to have the impact, or meaning, those now trumpeting its message – without reading the paper or relevant material surrounding it, some of which is summarised by Butler here as well as an illuminating editorial here – would hope it to have).
It’s not so black and white.
I must admit, I’ve been lazy in contributing to the wider scientific communication network over the last year. I was once in continual contact with a wide range of communicators, scientists and advocates, however with my attention focused elsewhere throughout mid-2011 to mid-2012 and in some ways allowing the endless swarm of trolls burn me out, my heart just wasn’t in it.
The people whom have been patiently keeping tabs on my site through this period (for which I am very thankful) would have noticed a return to regular posting. My plan is a new post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at a set time, with random posts around that. I am also keen to build up the former connections I once had as well as many more.
With that in mind, in resurfacing to the subject matter – that is (in my case), issues that impact our immediate future – I have found that the arena is becoming dirtier and, well, more pathetic.
The actions behind the whole Climate-gate saga where nothing more than a criminal act; private information was stolen from research facilities. For all the hype and bung “nails in the coffin”, all that happened was theft and unfounded noise. One would have thought, if there was indeed a genuine case of fraudulent behaviour, such material would be teeming with it. That we have a couple quotes, taken out of context illustrates the point I return to again and again – committed sceptics are in no way interested in the science.
But it gets worse.
I only recently learnt about the hacking and theft of private material from the forum of Skeptical Science and again the same pathetic quote mining. Geez; someone said we need a conspiracy to save humanity, OMG – the crazy environmentalists are duped by, I don’t know, bankers, the devil, Zombie Stalin, in the grand scheme to produce the one world government… this one quote proves it all!!!
No it doesn’t. It was one of the cuff comment that wasn’t really entertained and even if it was; these are people writing on one website… come on, get over it.
Entertainers of this delusion are simply looking for confirmation to their warped perception of the world. This proves the whole conspiracy! When you have no expectations, when you don’t have a strong ideology to prop up, you have no need for confirmation bias. It’s a wonderfully liberating place to be – although, I must admit it is isolating.
This is because the same types of events are occurring against the contrarians. This has happened to Jo Nova (from what I’ve heard, twice in the last year) with her site being bombarded by traffic and shut down.
Now this act too demonstrates no interest in the science. The science may never have actually come into it at all, instead it is purely a battle between the two major political wings; a battle that has resorted to cyber terrorism and has long included bullying. It’s increasingly an affront to free speech as much as the Islamic backlash, insisting global adherence to religious law.
I’m not really in favour of the petition against letting Anthony Watts pollute the air ways with his nauseating brand of hype and misinformation or the online petition in response to the, somewhat typical, thoughtless rant of the near senile Alan Jones.
In the spirit of free speech, I say; let them speak! Let every last loud mouth, zealot, hypocrite and idiot stand on a soap box and record their thoughts and values.
If it wasn’t for this, we wouldn’t have the brilliantly funny video presentations by Peter Hadfield and the world would be a poorer place for it.
Think about it; by letting every last people write or present themselves, they are effectively telling their decedents what kind of person they are. The black and white photos from rallies against racial equality look horrid by today’s standards. We can judge them, as we do the Westboro Baptist Church, for what they were and what people like Monckton, Alan Jones and Watts write and say. We have the right to object to their rubbish, which itself is recorded.
What I feel is being overlooked is the true cause for all this angst (in those who counter the contrarian position); the proliferators of nonsense and ideology have lulled us to confuse “equal” for “fair”. They demand “equal” time to sprout their contempt for reason, when what they deserve is “fair” time.
To quote Eugenie Scott;
“Now let’s just say that I find all of this research and peer review to be burdensome and let’s say that it’s so much easier for me to go to a state legislator and convince him to pass a law that determines that [my idea] goes directly to the class room without having to go through all that tedious research and review. You can imagine that my colleagues would be rather annoyed at me and I would be strongly criticised by my colleagues for the unfairness of my cutting to the head of the line. They had to go through a very laborious process… I took a short cut.”
Fair air time for Anthony would be a 30 second bite, in which he can say, “I don’t like it,” following a 30 minute presentation of the best information we now have due to critical investigation by the leading experts on the matter. We should be petitioning for fair weighted media on the important subjects – weighted by its empirical credibility and not political popularity. That’s the fight worth fighting.
Outside of this, as I’ve hinted throughout this post, we should have a laugh at what is really funny: Many of these people actually believe there is a secret agenda to create a one world socialistic government! Many of these people actually believe in various conspiracies dating back to the Middle Ages – even John Tyndall must be involved somehow! Many of these people still believe the warming trend in the data is entirely the result of urbanisation encroachment on weather stations! Many of these people actually believe that an invisible superhero is the sole agent behind our climate (the seasons too were in this boat until we understood the tilt in the Earth’s axis)…
These, and many more similar arguments, are hilarious. We should acknowledge just how far off the spectrum into some dark and dank extreme pocket they arrive from. By taking them seriously – without credible empirical evidence – we unfairly give them weight, in fact, equal weight.
I’m totally against censorship and all in favour of transparency and fairness. Let everyone share their thoughts, demand empirical evidence and weigh their ideas accordingly, just don’t resort to this juvenile warfare.