Bad Astronomy Speaks Out

Okay – so apparently you’re not sick of the sound of my voice even if I am. (Well you wouldn’t be, would you – because if you were, you wouldn’t be here. Unless you’re all a pack of masochists who go out of your way to read stuff that you’re sick of. But that’s not likely either, because in fact if you’re masochistic and want to read stuff you’re sick of, you can find plenty of stuff you’re sicker of than you are of me. I’m quietly confident of that. Really. I happen to know [this is a little-known fact, but I’ll make you a present of it] that there is quite a lot of boring stuff on the Internet, ideal for people who want to read stuff they’re sick of. There is boring, pointless, fatuous, even loony stuff by the yard – whereas here if nothing else you can find interesting links. So this place [sadistically enough] is not the first stop for masochists, or even the second or third. So I think we can safely conclude that if you were sick of it you damn well wouldn’t be reading it.) And if you’re not, I’m not. I’m a sheep, you see, and take all my opinions and reactions and degrees of queasiness and malaise from other people. I don’t have any of my own – I’m a kind of weathervane, or pregnancy test strip – I just react.

So Bad Astronomy has a few words about Creationism and the ‘Discovery Institute.’ In particular he says one thing that made me sit up straight and stop slouching.

Many people like to say that science and religion are compatible. I find that to be a monumentally naive statement. Perhaps science and some religions can be reconciled, but if your religion says that Jupiter is really made of pixie dust, or that the Earth is flat, or that 1+1 =3, then your religion is wrong. It’s really just that simple. The Universe knows what it’s doing, and the reality of it is what science seeks. If your religion cannot be reconciled with that reality, then your religion is wrong…

Exactly. Funny how reluctant many people are to say that, even if it is what they in fact think. Funny how they prefer to hem and haw, or change the subject, or talk about different kinds of reality, instead. That’s why I wrote that In Focus on Science and Religion a couple of years ago: in order to make that point as bluntly as possible. I’ve had some emails about the bluntness, and there are places where I should add a footnote saying something like ‘yes I realize there are arguments that can be made about this’ – but I wanted to get as far away as possible from the ‘different kinds of reality’ line of talk. And the Bad Astronomer has the same kind of idea.

Over the course of time, you’ll be seeing more rebuttals — no, debunking — of creationist claims here. I’ve had enough, and this threat is real. They want to turn our classrooms in a theocratically-controlled anti-science breeding ground, and I’m not going to sit by and watch it happen.


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