Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A rant against pseudo-science

In today's NY Times:

Evolution Takes a Back Seat in U.S. Classes

I found the final paragraphs most chilling:
But several experts say scientists are feeling increasing pressure to make their case, in part, Dr. Miller said, because scriptural literalists are moving beyond evolution to challenge the teaching of geology and physics on issues like the age of the earth and the origin of the universe.

"They have now decided the Big Bang has to be wrong," he said. "There are now a lot of people who are insisting that that be called only a theory without evidence and so on, and now the physicists are getting mad about this."

Here's another one: the propagation of electrons through semiconductor material is just a theory. An alternate theory is that computers work because they're God's gift to the righteous, and will ascend into heaven along with the saved come the rapture.

Just like electromagnetic transmission through the atmosphere. You could also believe it's God's breath that carries fundamentalist preachers' messages over the airwaves, and all the other stuff is carried on Satan's.

Jet propulsion? Just a theory. Another, more religiously correct (RC) one is that the hand of God lifts the aircraft from the ground and sets it down safely.

And of course there's all the theory about the transmission of disease, but we already know that AIDS is God's plague on the fornicators, right?

I could go on and on. The point is that anyone who doesn't want to learn science, fine, don't learn it. But (1) don't you dare stop my kid from learning it, and (2) stop using technologies that are derived from "theories" you don't believe are "fact". And you Amish, I'm onto you... those tractors weren't handed down from heaven, and even if you forswear electrical power lines, do you really believe that no electricity at all was used to fill the LP canisters you power your home with?