Friday, 28 March 2008

The Lying Liars and their Dirty Lies

Accuracy and evidence seem to be two words that escape fundamentalists, where what they are saying doesn't matter if it's backed up. All that matters is pushing their belief as if it were fact and if lying about scientific discovery helps them do so, then it's somehow justified. I spoke a couple of entries ago about wilful ignorance, it seems I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to some people that really don't deserve it. One thing I've come to learn is that people are ignoring evidence to the point they utter outright falsehoods in an attempt to silence dissent. That irks me to no end, I think I'm under my own delusion; one of which people will willingly tell the truth as they see it. There has to come a point where someone's ignorance can no longer be excused, especially when they are subjected to the same evidence as the rest of us.

Sharing (lies) is caring (about God)
There isn't much better than lying to someone's face. We've all had that door-knocker before, the one who picks up on your scientific nature then tries to spiel off something that sounds vaguely scientific in an effort to show they are an authoritative source. Unfortunately for them, their attempts are specious at best, and outright wrong at worst. And not for one second I'm convinced they believe it either, it's just another tactic to turn your life over to the mythical entity that is Jesus Christ. For them I feel that the science is just another tool to inspire belief. Too bad their understanding of science is ignorant to the point of absurdity.

I was inspired to write this blog thanks to this video. It's an investigative report into youth earth creationists leading home schooled children though a museum so they can explain science from a biblical perspective. Believe what they want eh? That's fine. Except that they are lying to the children deliberately. Now I could bore you with a point by point refutation of the absolute absurdity the people in charge are spieling off as fact, but it's obvious. The journalist does a half-decent job of calling them out. What I take exception to is the way they place the argument in the children's heads. To set up a false dichotomy about a Tyrannosaurus is just absurd. To say that humans lived for 800 years pre-flood is stupid. To say scientists use circular logic to get the age of the rocks is an outright lie. Not to mention dismissing displays as art instead of science. It's clutching at any straw necessary and hoping that it's strong enough to carry a child's mind, and at that age it probably is.

It feels so unmercifully unrelenting to the point of nausea. They believe something else, there is nothing stopping them from doing so. But to deliberately lie to children to get them to believe what they do surely has to come to the point where they can see that their position is out of line with human knowledge and evidence. Sometimes you can't back up what you believe with evidence, but to go contrary to evidence is blind ignorance.

Repelled - no propaganda allowed
The old way is far more personal than the new way, but the propaganda machine that is media is a far more effective and global way to reach people. Why go around street to street converting others when you can make a website to potentially reach millions? Or better yet make a video which could be distributed and viewed en masse. We are seeing creation museums open based on websites deliberately spreading misinformation, films like Expelled complaining that Intelligent Design doesn't get a fair go in the science classroom. It's not about being right scientifically, it's about been seen as scientific by the unscientific public in an effort to show that their belief is compatible with science. All they have to do is ignore mountains of evidence, attack the character of evolution advocates personally, drop the J word a few times and use the bible as history.

Anyone who wants to see a poorly written propaganda vessel, just head here. The irony of the name is far outweighed by the idiocy in the blog. For something meant to be dealing with evolution (a science), he sure goes on about God (not science) a lot. The blog itself is an absurd amalgamation of everything possible one could muster to make something that sounds scientifically possible that really doesn't disprove a thing. But this is the kind of nonsense that people push as ways of marginalising one of the strongest scientific theories out there. I've had the displeasure of actually debating the fool who wrote it, he's more infuriating than even his blog would have led me to believe. He even uses his blog as an authoritative source for his arguments. The most ironic thing about it is the quotes he uses:
"A mind bent on suppressing or hindering the truth will ultimately find the lie it is chasing." - Ravi Zacharias
How appropriate...

It will be interesting to see what the full write-up is on Expelled once it hits theaters. The PZ Myers incident really shows how pathetic the movie is, on the one hand having him in the movie and thanking him in the credits while on the other hand not even allowing him to see the finished product. Thankfully Dawkins was there to give his thoughts on the movie, though The Discovery Institute is still pushing the lies for the sake of belief. I'm looking forward to watching the film, I'll download it, sit back, have a few brews and enjoy it in the same way I would an episode of Bullshit! A poorly researched episode of Bullshit! that employs every dirty trick imaginable, but still that's where the appeals lies to me. Unlike it's target audience, I do have a reasonable knowledge of science, I do have a reasonable knowledge on the start and end points of freedom of speech and I do have a knowledge on what constitutes religious belief masquerading as science as a means of getting it taught to children.

Selective scepticism
The internet is a wonderful vessel for information, it's a way to connect with people around the globe. Same goes for television, radio, films, books, etc. They are ways of communicating ideas between one another, and because these have become the new trusted source of information, the imperative for truth is paramount. Media is easy to manipulate, it's self-confirming and plays on peoples emotional response to the point where ideas so abstract and irrational can get paraded as truth by the willing viewer. Though you need to wonder how much some of them still believe in an inerrant bible.

Is the earth really flat? Is there a light source that isn't the sun? Does the sun orbit around the earth? Are bats birds? If the bible is inerrant the answer to all these should be yes. Yet the scientific method can demonstrate otherwise. We can see the earth as being spherical from space. We see that we orbit the sun which provides us light where day and night come from the earth rotating. Bats are mammals, which have evolved wings. Yet we don't see creationists questioning astrophysics, it's an outright attack on a science that shows we weren't crafted by God out of dirt, but by a process of mutation over billions of years. Why the double standard? I honestly don't know. Evolution is one of the strongest sciences out there, but it's somehow incompatible with an inerrant bible that is compatible with a round earth orbiting a light-giving sun.

Evolution should not be under attack in the way this is, all science is a system of discovery and falsification that is constantly updating. Yes it should be questioned, but the arena for that should not be in a public forum, it should be in scientific laboratories where the claims can be analysed and tested. Otherwise it's deliberately stirring up controversy for the sake of irrational arguments to bypass a rigorous screening process and enter the minds of the masses. It's a point where truth is irrelevant and the thing that matters is that people believe what you do, regardless of the evidence. And in a world where spreading anecdotal information as fact is easier than ever, these irrational ideas are being perpetuated by those selective enough to take it in without question. The meme that is Creationism has found it's ultimate conduit.

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