Friday, 21 December 2007
Take for example this recent news story (1 , 2) about a Creationist (capitol C, i.e. someone subscribing to literal interpretations of the book of Genesis) stabbing to death an evolutionist (just about anyone else).
The media naturally reports the incident, sensationalizing the matter by emphasing the creation/evolution argument the individuals were having before the stabbing incident took place (which was after all involved got drunk). To their credit though they emphasise that the parties involved were drunk and that the judge believed this to be abnormal behaviour for the guilty party.
Good, some balance.
This is not to excuse what the guy with the knife did in anyway at all. It was still wrong and ended in tragic consequences.
What I find actually disgusting is the way that several of the aforementioned blogs use this incident to bash Creationism and people who support it. While I have little patience with Creationism pushed as a fundamental tenant of Christianity, I hold equally if not less patience for this type of stupidly conceived, immature, reactionary and frankly twatish behaviour from the 'other side' of the argument.
Examples are of such behaviour are here and here.
Phil Plait (whose blog I have in general been enjoying recently) offers a bit of fairness, but even then can't resist a few digs and comments while ignoring the details of the case.
What actually ticks me off the most here is that the authors of these blogs are actually scientists, working at universities and yet they demonstrate such a juvenile level of argument. I know the situation in the States is vastly more polarised in terms of evolution/creation than it is here in the UK, but still, come on!
If you want to let off steam in such a way, good for you. It might make you look a fool, but essentially harms nobody. The beauty of the Net. However, don't go and put your name, profession and place of employment on it, not unless you are prepared to state your point and defend it in such a way and in such a manner that you show that you rightly deserve your position.
Part of the reason that Creationism can take such a hold is that the public (who are actually not stupid) can see when we scientists are talking crap and merely throwing our rattles out of our baby pens. This puts people right off not only what we are saying to them at that point (however valid it is), but also science in general and makes them increasingly unlikely to listen to what we might say in future.
In this case especially it is obvious that the bloggers I have mentioned are being very, very selective in what facts they use (as they link to the complete story) and the language they use in presenting their case is frankly poor, deliberately divisive and off putting at best.
Both the media and the bloggers in question have also put the emphasis on the evolution/creation argument the individuals were having before the stabbing took place. That may be true, but who else knows what was said or what was even argued right before the stabbing? It's immaterial to what happened. The argument may just as well have been about life on Mars, MOND and Dark Matter, Chickens and Eggs or even the existence Marmite gateaux. I seriously doubt the finer points of biology were in the forefront of either mind at the time of the stabbing. And if they were, it could just as easily have been the other way round with another two people.
I have titled this post 'Reprehensible' as these bloggers are indeed in need of serious rebuke, not just as ambassadors of science to the wider world, but also as decent, human beings. Somebody got killed. For no reason. Stop. Using. It.
If the authors of the blogs I've linked to ever read this, guys, please:
1) Show a little bit of respect to *all* sides involved in this particularly case,
2) Get the chips of your shoulders and learn to engage with people who have different beliefs to yourselves rather than just ear(Bible)-bashing them. You may never agree with them or persuade them that they are wrong, but that's all part of living in the real world.
3) Stop making our jobs as scientists harder by sounding off without thinking first.
This all reminds me of a saying one of my primary school teachers used to say... "If everyone in the world was just like me, I wonder what sort of world it would be?"
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
However, after speaking with two good friends on Sunday evening my own little problems seems somewhat less of a big deal than they did before.
I count myself very fortunate that my problems are (hopefully!) not insurmountable with a bit of further effort on my part and may in fact lead into better things.
It's very easy to become too self-focused (even to the extent of being self-centred) and forgetting those about you and I publicly frown at myself for having done so.
The soup at work today was pretty good as well.
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
So instead I did an interpretation of it which I have been assured is quite good. I might do the rest as well as James is only a short book and I did enjoy working through the first chapter to write my bit.
So, here it is:
It is not easy,
Being amongst these people.
But I say listen!
Your trials are many yes,
But it is for good!
They will strengthen you, mould you.
Seek wisdom from God
He will never forget you.
And you will receive.
Be sure of what you ask Him,
Allow no doubt in.
Or your hope will be for naught.
If you are serving
And putting others before you,
You’re before others!
If you’re before all others,
You are just passing through here.
If you are tested
Be blessed and receive your due.
His promises hold.
God does not tempt you to wrong
It’s not possible!
Do not put the blame on Him.
We all want our way
A way that is not for good.
Sin and death result.
Keep your eyes fixed to this truth!
All things helpful and for good
Come from the Father.
He dwells amongst the Heavens
And always is He.
Our life comes from Him.
It was His choice to meet us,
To make us His best!
Remember to listen always!
Be slow to argue
And tame anger even more.
Our God is peace.
We are dull to follow Him
And be his image.
Let us make the best effort
And live by his Word!
Because that Word saves us all.
Don’t just listen hard,
But move yourselves to action!
Don’t become a fool.
What you see in Him is good?
Reflect that then too.
Make all efforts to dazzle!
Keep yourselves going,
Secure your minds always
And you will be blessed.
Don’t do things for their own sakes
Speaking all loosely.
Such things show you to be false!
Instead live the work
To which He has called us all.
Take care of others.
Look out for those who get missed.
Be careful with yourselves!
And the Lord will accept you.
I have been enjoying other peoples contributions with a cup of tea at work today. Good work people!
Random Quotes from the evening (see if you can guess who):
"She's feeling very No."
"I love my McJob!"
"It was the best Christmas ever." - (think empty plane, business class, 8 x flight attendents, personal screen, etc)
Plus I got a load of good words to use on Scrabulous over on Facebook. I may be defeated still, but hopefully not crushed!
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Can't say I was planning on going or not going to see it anyway, but it's nice to see that there is some more balanced thought out there than what I have seen so far.
Besides, with Transformers now out on DVD what need is their to ever go out again?!!