Kicking up a stink over origins of life

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Contrary to what some sceptics would have you believe, I’m not “anti-science”.

I think science is amazing, and we’d be impoverished without it. So, why do I get myself into such hot water with the nay-sayers, then? Perhaps I should explain.

Simply put, science is the systematic organisation and study of knowledge through observation and experiment.

Who could have a problem with that?

So far so good. My issue isn’t with science, but more with the culture that often surrounds it.

I don’t mind scientists telling me what they’ve discovered, but what I don’t take kindly to is being told what I should believe.

Give me the facts, but don’t get heavy-handed with me and tell me how I should interpret them.

In all probability I’ll bow to the expertise of scientists, but I reserve the right not to on occasion.

And that’s what some individuals don’t like.

One contentious area involves the debate between evolutionists and creationists.

Orthodox science teaches that we evolved through a process of natural selection.

Creationists believe that there was a divine influence in our origin, and that we were the product of conscious design.

Now no matter how much evolutionists shout and scream at creationists – and believe me, many do – everyone has the right to disagree with conventional scientific dogma.

Many critics openly call creationists idiots and buffoons.

That’s their right – but I think it tells you something about the mindset of those sceptics.

Whenever I’ve suggested to sceptics that it would be far more productive to engage creationists in constructive dialogue, the responses have sometimes been disappointing to say the least.

Local blogger Swiftsure, who runs the aptly-named Bad Thinking blog, loftily told me, “Creationists, however, cannot be engaged in ‘constructive dialogue’ as you put it – if creationists could be reasoned with, then there would be no creationists.” (www.badthinking.wordpress.com)

I don’t know about you, but I find that sort of attitude appallingly arrogant, for it forces us to presume that great minds like Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Newton, Herschel, Joule, Pasteur and Kelvin were so beyond the pail of rational thinking that they could not be reasoned with.

As far as l have been able to determine, all of these geniuses believed in a Creator. Oh well, that’s us telt...

Swiftsure also admits that science “is not a perfect system” but if it isn’t perfect, why should people be ridiculed for rejecting some of the things science currently teaches?

History is littered with scientific ideas that seemed great at the time, but were later discarded. With hindsight, many were patently absurd.

Many creation scientists have been bullied, harassed and threatened because they reject the theory of Darwinian evolution.

If you’re sceptical, then you should read Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters by Dr. Jerry Bergman (Leafcutter Press, 2008) www.icr.org/article/4162/

I don’t get angry in the least when I hear people deny creationism, but I openly confess I do not like the high-handed, arrogant and often venomous way in which some evolutionists belittle those who do not agree with their view on the origins of life.

We’re told that science is “self-correcting”, but that’s a process which only works if one allows for dissent and open debate.

And you can’t have open debate if you believe those who disagree with you are too stupid to be reasoned with.

The same bullying tactics are often employed against those who are sceptical about global warming and other “accepted” scientific doctrines.

No matter how convinced you are about the wonders of science, just remember: behind every currently accepted scientific doctrine lies a long trail of discarded ones which seemed just as sensible in their day.

Oh, I know that heterodox thinkers can be just as nasty at times. A little more civility on both sides of the divide would be welcome, I reckon.