P.Z. Myers, a prominent and outspoken speaker and blogger in the rapidly growing secular non-belief movement gave a rousing and informative lecture on the conflict of religion and science Monday night.
Many of you saw the posters out on the Quad or at the Curris Center before some charmingly intolerant and probably religious person(s) took most of them down Homecoming weekend. The MSU Freethinkers and Students for Reason and Science really appreciate their ignorance: WWJD?
Well, we don’t take anyone’s religious posters down.
Anyway, P.Z. exposed the appalling situation in grade and high school education where teachers and administrators are afraid to teach evolution because it offends the religious beliefs of some parents.
Unfortunately we are seeing that situation worsen. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), being a good Southern Baptist has extended the idiocy to proclaiming that not only evolution but the Big Bang and embryology (embryology?!) are “lies from the pit of hell.” Denying evolution or cosmology as mere “theories” i.e. “secular world view interpretations of science” as they are wrongly characterized by the Biblical literalists is one thing, but attacking embryology? WTF? It’s a purely descriptive discipline. Anyone can pop a slide under a microscope and see the unquestionable facts of development for him or herself.
How in the hell does that have anything to do with hell? And then it hit me: They’re screwed.
They are stuck now; the Biblical literalists, the science disparagers. They have to come fully out of the closet now as the absurd and extremist deniers that they are of not just science in general or fully accepted theories like evolution … they gotta hate the facts now, they gotta deny reality itself.
Dissing theories alone won’t do it, it hasn’t worked. Evolution and cosmology and a host of other scientific theories grow stronger every day as the data that supports them continues to pile up exponentially.
The data themselves now must be denied. Reality has to be thrown out completely to uphold the ridiculous claims of creationism, homophobia, and the like that the conservative Christians tout as truth.
Broun is an intelligent man, smart enough to earn a medical degree and he may be a competent physician, but he also characterizes himself as a scientist and he absolutely ain’t one.
Scientists just don’t think data are the product of the devil or emanate from the fiery pit.
Embryology is defined as a descriptive branch of biology dealing with the early growth and development of living organisms. Braun’s medical training certainly would have exposed him to a lot of embryological data.
Embryology is not a theory that he can try to pick holes in based on his faith in an absurd creation myth: it is comprised of data, information, facts, unbiased and un-interpreted results of empirical study.
Guess he didn’t like what he saw in the microscope. He may not like the fact that human embryos develop a tail and full coat of hair like other mammals and primates which are promptly reabsorbed and disappear through the action of developmental genes.
Maybe he takes exception to the fact that early on we have the genes for and briefly develop a yolk sac just like reptiles and birds. Maybe he doesn’t wanna fess up to the knowledge, the data, not theory or hypothesis, but the fact that at least 50 percent or more of human embryos die in the first two weeks of incredibly delicate cellular replication and genetic unfolding which according to his faith constitutes the killing of a human person, making his god the biggest abortionist of them all.
So what’s next? Irate parents prompted by their ministers to stop school children from peering into microscopes lest they catch a glimpse of the “pit of hell?”
Will Broun, a member of the Congressional Committee on Science and Technology committee recommend that educators stop their students from looking at evil embryos?
Many believing scientists don’t agree with P.Z. Myers that there is an inescapable conflict between religion and science and they resolve the conflict by leaving their religion at the laboratory door.
Rep. Broun needs to leave his religion at the door of the House of Congress before he steps inside.
Column by William Zingrone, assistant professor of psychology.