No Wonder

These people piss me off.

Lenore Durkee, a retired biology professor, was volunteering as a docent at the Museum of the Earth here when she was confronted by a group of seven or eight people, creationists eager to challenge the museum exhibitions on evolution. They peppered Dr. Durkee with questions about everything from techniques for dating fossils to the second law of thermodynamics, their queries coming so thick and fast that she found it hard to reply.

That’s not a group of people seeking understanding or enlightenment or further education or information or an interesting discussion – that’s a group of aggressive over-confident truculent aggrieved fools who think they have a special pipeline to certainty and a right to challenge people who both know more than they do and eschew certainty. That’s a pack of hostile theocrats out to dismantle every secular institution and branch of education in existence. Nothing will make them shut up, nothing will make them understand that their pipeline to certainty is a short rusty tube leading nowhere. Nothing will even make them perceive the irony of the fact that it is science, which actually revises its findings on the basis of evidence, that disavows certainty, while it is know-nothing zealots like them who do not, ever, revise their obstinate beliefs excuse me ‘faith’ who claim to ‘know’ that someone made the universe and who the someone is.

They piss me off.

…science museums and other institutions struggle to contend with challenges to the theory of evolution that they say are growing common and sometimes aggressive. One company, called B.C. Tours “because we are biblically correct,” even offers escorted visits to the Denver Museum of Science and Nature. Participants hear creationists’ explanations for the exhibitions.

Biblically correct. And people in museums have to waste their time answering hostile questions from imbeciles like that. It pisses me off.

Instead, he told the volunteers that when they encounter religious fundamentalists they should emphasize that science museums live by the rules of science. They seek answers in nature to questions about nature, they look for explanations that can be tested by experiment and observation in the material world, and they understand that all scientific knowledge is provisional – capable of being overturned when better answers are discovered.

Unlike religion – which does not overturn its ‘knowledge’ when better answers are discovered. Ever, ever! No, instead it just causes people to keep insisting more and more loudly, more and more stupidly, more and more self-righteously, on the inarguable certain truth of the fairy tales they grew up on!

It pisses me off.

There is more than one type of creationist, he said: “thinking creationists who want to know answers, and they are willing to listen, even if they go away unconvinced” and “people who for whatever reason are here to bother you, to trap you, to bludgeon you.” Those were the type of people who confronted Dr. Durkee, a former biology professor at Grinnell College in Iowa. The encounter left her discouraged. “It is no wonder that many biologists will simply refuse to debate creationists or I.D.ers,” she said, using the abbreviation for intelligent design, a cousin of creationism. “It is as if they aren’t listening.”

No wonder indeed.

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