Sunday, February 8, 2009

Darwin Dissed in his Own Hometown

Everytime I read the results of another survey taken by impartial persons (yeah right!) showing what a bunch of moronic yahoos Americans are because of their gun ownership, their illiteracy, and the fact that the "typical" American does not know where France is etc., I wonder, "Does anybody ever give these same impartial surveys to Europeans to find out what they (don't) know?"

I'm pretty sure the answer is "not usually". It's much more fun to think Americans are the only stupid ones.

Well, maybe that's changing. El Mundo published this article on the run up to Darwin's 200'th birthday showing that more than 50% of Brits don't accept Darwin's evolutionary theories - and he is their guy! Is intelligent design and "guided evolution" on the move in Europe?

The religion and creationist thing has been a favorite club for superior minded "Americans-are-idiots" types to hit us over the head with for years. Everyone knows no one in Europe could possibly think the same way as those American dolts - so let's not bother asking them.

I'm just saying that if we are idiots then I know that many people all over Europe are just as stupid on a whole range of subjects - if anybody asked them in the same "impartial and honest way" that they ask the Americans. That's right. I'm setting a real low bar for myself, I just want to be as stupid as the next guy!

I wonder what the results would be in Spain?


Midnight Golfer said...

Without exaggeration, I have had the displeasure to know more than one person (two individuals) who have said, "I'm an atheist" in one type of situation, in order to appear more intelligent and reasonable, and to change the subject, and on another occasion have said, "I'm from a long line of [religion x], and nothing's going to change that," in order to change the subject, and appear consistant and steadfast.

It's kind of like Americans who say they don't even care what other countries think of them, or people, who like me, believe that both evolution of species AND intelligent design are BOTH correct, inasmuch as we humans can understand how either actually works.

We can get better at both, and it's only the nutjobs on either 'side' who think you have to pick a side, and there's something wrong with YOU if don't.

leftbanker said...

Americans certainly don't have a monopoly on morons. I have read quite a bit about the numbers of Brits who refuse to accept Darwin's contribution to science. I don't know about Spain. If there is an opposition to evolution it must be pretty quiet because I haven't heard so much as a peep. The Catholic Church has moved away from its former position of acceptance of evolution. At least that's what I heard when Pope Rat ascended to the throne or whatever the hell you call it. But even with the Catholic opposition, it's not like they are still debating it half-to-death in Spain, with teachers afraid to teach the subject because it irritates the Jesus freaks as educators are in many American communities.

I am just speaking anecdotally but I haven't met any Spanish people who are very well educated on the subject of evolution. It's kind of a hobby of mine and of the two books in English I brought with me to Spain, one is Richard Dawkin's The Ancestor's Tale. I see that book as sort of like Genesis for rational thinkers. It is also ironic that in America—the land of the bible thumpers—recent books on atheism have made it into the best seller lists. I think America is a country of extremes as far as education goes.

both evolution of species AND intelligent design are BOTH correct, inasmuch as we humans can understand how either actually works.

Sorry, Midnight Golfer. We can explain a lot about evolution and nothing about ID, it's just made-up pseudo-science and hasn't a shred of merit. It was practically invented by the Discovery Institute simply to give the evolution deniers another few rounds of ammunition to fire at school boards to keep evolution out of schools. If people's religious beliefs are so threatened by advances in science, don't blame it on science, blame your backwards beliefs.

Carl said...

Hey Leftbanker, I knew you would have an opinion on this one.

I know you feel strongly about this but it is not necessary to insult people who may believe in a deity. No one knows if there is a God or not.

It seems at times that both sides in this debate can be “fundamentalists”. One side believes that God exists and that no other argument is possible, and of course, the other side believes God does not exist and no other argument is possible. Both sides are threatened by the possible existence, or non-existence, of God.

I am not a creationist and I believe that evolution seems like the best possible explanation out there for most questions. However, there is still a ton of shit we do not understand. Tops on that list is, “How did it all begin?” Hey, maybe God created evolution?

I do know that the answer is, as Barack Obama says, “Beyond my pay-grade.”

Midnight Golfer said...

SOME things can be explained using evolution (just the scientific method) and some things cannot.
With each new discovery, there are new conclusions, but also the realization that there is even more that we don't know.

EVERYTHING can be explained with Intelligent Design. That's the whole point.

How did the universe come to be created and organized the way it is?

God told it to be created that way.

How do species evolve?

God caused that they should evolve.

I can see how that is as annoying as hell to someone that has chosen to only accept empirical answers and that thinks they are wise for doing so.

The truth is that there are some questions to which neither science nor religion give very thorough answers.

Just one example:
Why is the Moon just the perfect size to eclipse the Sun?

Science: "It's just a coincidence."
Religion: "Because God said so."

If you see religion and science as opposing sides, you will never be totally satisfied with the answers.

I prefer to see both as a pursuit of the Truth, and I realize that we don't have a monopoly of answers on either 'side'

englishvalencia said...

My intent wasn't to insult anyone, I didn't mean it personally. That is just an ambiguity in the English when I said, "your religious beliefs."

With that said, you can't lump ID and evolution together as if they have equal merit. ID isn't based on science, it's based on religious faith. ID isn't "correct." It's a pack of disingenuous lies made up after creationism theory failed in the courts. And just because we don't have all the answer doesn't for a second mean that evolution is flawed or that there are "holes" in the theory. In just my lifetime science has made enormous and exciting strides in explaining how life on earth came to be. Sure beats the heck out of "God did it," at least in my rational way of thinking.

leftbanker said...

Oops, that last comment was mine. I was signed in under my other identity, the one trying to teach my girlfriend English.

Carl said...

Thanks for that Leftbanker,

You mentioned before that you haven't heard anything out of Spain on the "anti-evolution" debate. My question is - has anyone asked them?

Voices en Español said...

By sheer coincidence this week I came across a fascinating article in a Spanish history magazine about "el miedo al mono" in Spain when Darwin's writings were first translated into Spanish in the 19th-century. Not surprisingly, it caused quite a stir in Spain and became such a topic of conversation in intellectual circles that some businesses started using it as a marketing hook.

In 1870 one guy started producing a liquor under the brand name "Anís del Mono," which went on to become a huge hit in Spain. The article I read had a picture of the bottle. The mascot on the label, looking like a 19th-century version of a character from the movie "Planet of the Apes," holds a bottle in one paw and a scroll in the other that contains the company's slogan: "Es el mejor. La ciencia lo dijo y yo no miento."


Interestingly enough, in 1939, after the Guerra Cívil, Darwin's writings were banned in Spain and it wasn't until the 1970s that translations of his writings were available once again.

Fascinating stuff. I want to do a podcast on this. :)

leftbanker said...

Midnight Golfer:

If it were up to people of your persuasion we wouldn't have made any gains in science. Simply saying that god did it is an insult to human intelligence. That isn't an answer. As Richard Dawkins says, the trouble with religion is that it doesn't do justice to what has really happened on earth, much of which we have explained through science. The scientific answers are fascinating, the former religious answers were moronic.

As far as evolution and the teaching of that subject in Spain, I haven't heard much controversy. Not like we have in some of the hick backwaters in America (Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, for example). The Catholic Church seems to be back-pedaling on their former stance of accepting Darwin's great gift to biology. But the Church is pretty lame these days as only old grannies go to church in Spain.

But please, don't lump ID with the science of evolution. It's like comparing astrology and astronomy.