Thursday, September 06, 2007

This is the IDiocy That Never Ends...

PZ ended up with an email from Michael Korn that induces another round of groan-inducing stupidity I've touched on in a rant before. I think it's pretty revealing of the typical Creationist mentality, as you'll see below.

Anyway, here's the quote I'm going to be talking about briefly... unless I go off on another rant:

survival of the fittest

i wonder if, since you are a proponent of darwinism and its creed of "survival of the fittest", you would accept my challenge to a fight, at a place of your choosing, using just our God-given or, in your case, randomly evolved, hands and feet (i.e., no weapons of any kind, as in a duel).

it would be interesting to see finally who really is fitter: an Evolutionist believer in Darwin or a Creationist believer in God.

our exhibition could render a real service to the community and help resolve this vexing issue.

for your information, i am 5' 6", 120 lbs, and have no military experience or training in martial arts or any other form of self-defense or combat.

it will be a very fair battle i think.

please respond soon.

Rhetorical question I feel I must ask: Since when is combat ability a determiner of fitness?

PZ's fitness and success as an organism isn't determined by his ability to beat up some crazy little Creationist on demand. Life is not a Mortal Kombat tourney. In terms of evolution, a pacifist who raises a small family in the suburbs is more successful than some virgin who defines his life in terms of how much combat he can handle. Humans are adapted for life as social creatures. Senseless violence tends to decrease a human's fitness when other humans band together to lock violent people up in a concrete building where their gametes will never meet up with those of the opposite sex.

Biological fitness is not measured by combat. I suppose fitness could be described as problem-solving ability. "Kill it!" might be the favored solution for the typical D&D dungeon crawl, but that hardly applies to the real world. There are plenty of other methods for competion (including cooperation). The typical Creationist's ignorance of this suggests that they honestly believe violence is the best solution to any given problem.

On top of that enormous level of stupidity is another, of course: Since when is the truth of evolution dependent on the fitness or combat ability of its louder proponents? It's positively medieval: Trial by combat. Are Michael Korn and his ilk going to insist on bringing back that barbaric tradition? It's the logic of bullies. Might makes right.

Science is done by performing experiments and seeing the results: The experiment is analogous to a question we ask of nature, and the measurement of the end result is nature's answer. What a novel idea!: Asking reality what reality is! Much more intelligent to test reality about evolution than asking irrelevant questions like "Can PZ beat up some 5'6", 120 lb. guy?"

Of course, though, my baser instincts think that irrelevancy would make for an amusing, if not informative, experiment.


Rhoadan said...

Heck, "Kill it!" ain't even necessarily the best strategy in D&D. A party I was in once got past a room full of orcs by distracting them with food. None of us got hurt, and if any of the orcs did, it was because they were fighting each other, not because we attacked them.

Bronze Dog said...

I was going for a bit of exaggeration, of course.

But yeah, creative strategy is something I can really appreciate.

JackalMage said...

"Kill it!" is only often not the best strategy in the games I play in because the Dice Gods hate my characters specifically and like to make them die. I got knocked unconscious in two rounds one time and only survived because the DM allowed my horse to run away. T_T

Otherwise, though, yeah, the absolute inability of creationists to understand just what 'fitness' means is *infuriating*. No wonder they don't understand evolution! They never even tried! (Or were lied to.)

King Aardvark said...

Of course they want trial by combat - it's thoroughly medieval, just like their beliefs. They like the idea of trusting in God for their answers, rather than in reason and science. Well, they'll like it until they die from a simple infection or until PZ beats up the little 5'6" guy, then they'll go complain some more.

Anonymous said...

I think he was trying to say that "evilutionists" think might makes right and doesn't actually think violence is the best method. The writer there was trying to make some sort of point by illustrating the ridiculousness of taking it to a "logical extreme".

At least, that's the sort of nonsense I was taught, that "believing in evolution" means you think violence solves everything. It's another flavor of the whole "evolution is a racist policy" or "evolution leads to nazis".

Now I know that's totally insane, but their logic, if it can so be called, SEEMS to be this. They first take god for granted, and follow that god (at least in terms of whatever they think is true about it) wholeheartedly, to the point where atheism is considered an odd novelty. For example, in the same way we might consider flat earthers a strange oddity ourselves. (The difference is, of course, evidence.) Once you have that firmly rooted, there's the whole "The Bible says creation happened, so evolution isn't true" stuff. If you are indoctrenated in all those tired arguments about how evolution can't ever happen, you just sort of accept that. Well then it comes back to one thing. Anyone that has faith has to deal with people that have faith in different things on some sort of cognitive level, and generally they just invent excuses as to why their faith is superior. Christians like to pretend their's is the only faith that "only requires faith for salvation, and the others are all "work based" (and even if this was true, it would make the religion truth because...?).

Of course, they are already convinced that evolutionists (I'm also a thermodynamicist I guess, the "ist" suffix is just really weird for something like this) just have FAITH in this, but WHY do they have faith? Well, so they "can rebel against god by having an excuse not to believe in him" seems to be the typical answer. Remember, they are all psychologists and know 100% for a fact why YOU think things.

Well if it's a faith and their reasons are so they can live as they want, it follows that they derive their morality from this faith, just as they derive their morality from their faith.

So in other words, that insane notion that evolutionists must think might makes right and want to beat people up and start eugenics programs comes from a combination of a misunderstanding of evolution, as you covered, and the fact they convince themselves evolution is a religion and treating it as such.

Of course, the idea that just because reality is one way I should form some sort of moral system that somehow poetically meshes with that reality is utter nonsense. The most we can say is reality tells us what moral systems are physically possible to accomplish, or inform us, having already decided on a moral system, which course of action fits that moral system the best. It doesn't GIVE us our morality (except in the sense that evolution shaped our morality of course).

It is totally ridiculous to say that just because we believe in evolution we must therefor take up some moral precepts from it. Nope, I know evolution happened from the evidence but I don't hold it as a holy precept. In any moral sense, I could take it or leave it, and to be honest once we get our genetic engineering to a certain level, at least for humans we'd probably be best just abandoning it outright. Further just because survival of the fittest would previously have meant death for invalids and the mentally ill doesn't mean I'm somehow morally obligated to "follow" that. Nope, I'm fine with "flying in the face" of it and helping those people anyway.

I mentioned the mind reading thing above so of course it seems hypocritical of me to analyze "them" but here's the reality. I used to BE one of them and I was guilty of that exact thought process, though not fully aware of what I was doing at the time. Further, I thought in such a manner because I was TAUGHT those sorts of conclusions, though not as naked and ugly as I explain them above. In other words, I have a good idea what sort of thinking goes into it, at least for SOME of these creationist chaps.

Creationism isn't dead, it's just that ID is what gets into the paper lately. You'd laugh at the wars going on between the ID and creationist crowds. Creationists consider IDers just as evil as the "evolutionists" for "copping out" to science and not having the faith in the inerrancy of the bible.

Bronze Dog said...

You cover quite a lot, anonny, and I agree with a lot of it.

Creationism isn't dead, it's just that ID is what gets into the paper lately. You'd laugh at the wars going on between the ID and creationist crowds. Creationists consider IDers just as evil as the "evolutionists" for "copping out" to science and not having the faith in the inerrancy of the bible.

I do laugh when I see them. There's a troll at Scientia Natura going by the name of "JesusFreak" who often rants in all caps over ID when he's not calling people like us "evoapes".

Anonymous said...

First of all, reading that link you provided, that site puts the whole argument much more succinctly and clearly than I could ever hope for.

Second of all, if there was something there you disagreed with, well I was on a rant so make it clear and I'll reconsider, and also I'm always up for a debate or claryfing misunderstandings.

Thirdly, all the time I've been posting here (I assume you can check IP addresses for commenters?), I've been going anon simply because I tend not to sign up at web sites unless I need to (I'm a little net-wary you might say), and also because this whole "blog" thing is fairly new to me (I tend to congregate at message boards, the "old school", before glorified "guestbooks" became the norm). In other words, I didn't really notice or find out about the "Other" tag right there. Yep, I'm DJ from the Randi boards. I started going here when you mentioned you had this site and I think I'll add I like it.

Oh, once again I think I'll apologize for just sort of going on and on. In reality these posts take a bit of time for me to put together, what with mid-sentence tabbing to something else because my mind wandered, or just stopping because I'm distracted by... you know that mental "static" like your brain hit the wrong channel or something. I need to get a better handle on that... anyway, I'll be posting as an actual name from now on.

Bronze Dog said...

Yeah, tone gets confused on a lot of rants out there, but it was a good rant.

I often make a point that woos show a lot of signs of projection, and you do a good job of covering it, too.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if it's projection or just painful irony, but it sure is funny.

Lifewish said...

Is-Ought Problem. Should be required reading for idiots (with or without multiple capitalisation).