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View Diary: Bill Nye Is Making a Mistake (339 comments)

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  •  This isn't a debate. (10+ / 0-)

    It's not even an argument. It's propaganda, unfortunately for Bill Nye. I understand the need and want to do it -- to slam religious nuttery with facts and stats and Real Things. But, Ken Hamm, as the diarist pointed out, doesn't care. This debate lowers science to the level of spectacle while allowing Creationism to tar science by association as propaganda... and worse: as controversy.

    There is nothing so sad as giving a stage to ignorant bigots as sharing a stage with ignorant bigots. Imagine if we had a debate on whether the Earth is flat? Or whether Black people are 3/5ths a person? Or whether Jews (my people) turn into horned demons at night? You cannot, by definition, debate faith. It is not only impervious to facts; it exists wholly outside of rational thought or logic.

    I doubt Bill Nye will "lose" this debate in the classic sense. He will make points that rational people will have to accept as true. But he will lose in the sense that he simply cannot have the insane zealotry of Ken Hamm that will make even regular people sympathetic to him... if only because far too many scientifically-illiterate Americans these days are obsessed with the lowest-common-denominator. As if science and religious nuttery are part of a reality TV show for our benefit.

    And, sadly, Bill Nye is giving that impression, well-intentioned though he may be. If this debate were between Hillary Clinton and John McCain, that'd be a different thing entirely, because then we're dealing with two opposing viewpoints that have the country nearly split in half. But Creationism is so fringe it might as well be a tinfoil hat.

    You want to really piss off and hurt Creationism? Ignore it. Ignore it in every echo chamber from Seattle to Tampa, from San Diego to Bangor, from Minot to Austin. Ignore it and ignore those who ascribe to it. Ignoring idiots is the slowest, most painful, and worst sort of punishment imagineable, especially for demagogues like Ken Hamm. They hate being ignored.

    "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

    by Zek J Evets on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:22:03 AM PST

    •  Yeah, the next move after this debate (6+ / 0-)

      is to declare it a success and ask "so why can't we have the same debate in public school science classrooms?"

      So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

      by illinifan17 on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:26:05 AM PST

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      •  Something I appreciated about Catholic school (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, irishwitch, terrypinder

        Religion and science were separate classes and never the twain shall meet.

        Religion class: Hey kids, this is the story about how God created the world. Isn't that nice.

        Science class: Now let's learn how the world was actually created in real life.

        No making the case for Creationism. Just scientific evidence.

        •  That sounds like my Catholic school education (0+ / 0-)

          Grades K-8, taught almost exclusively by nuns. The gist was basically God gave us souls and eternal life in Heaven, but here's the science (evolution, photosynthesis, etc) about how the PHYSICAL world works.

          A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

          by METAL TREK on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:30:44 PM PST

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    •  Is Creationism so fringe? (0+ / 0-)

      Did you see the Pew poll about evolution?  1/3 of Americans believe that man has existed in his present form since the beginning of time.  For some reason, everyone focused just on the evolution bit.  But it's not just evolution!  Clearly man didn't exist in his present form in the Jurassic, or during the forming of the Earth.  That puts the numbers of Creationists at about 1/3 of Americans.  

      •  And yet... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mmacdDE, irishwitch

        Ask them whether Jesus and his disciples were riding dinosaurs in Galilee and suddenly you have A LOT more people who would say differently, even changing their answers.

        The problem isn't that people reject science so much as they are scientifically illiterate. They simply don't understand it. And for why that is becomes a whole other discussion.

        But, certainly, the cure for scientific illiteracy isn't to debate the faux-controversy like major news networks talking Democrats versus Republicans. My essential point is that debating someone's view implies their view is legitimate enough to need rebuttal. Creationism doesn't need rebuttal because people realize it's ridiculous on its face.

        "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

        by Zek J Evets on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:21:16 PM PST

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    •  An argument is a collective series of statements (0+ / 0-)

      intended to establish a given proposition!

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:09:24 PM PST

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