Maybe the world is flat and the Apollo landings were faked.

Posted in Society at 9:13 by RjZ

Did you know that if a lot of people believe something, then it must be true? And worse, questioning what a lot of people believe is censorship? That’s what John West maintains.

John G. West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture, referring to several polls that show public support for criticism of evolution in science classes, said, ”The effort to try to suppress ideas that you dislike, to use the government to suppress ideas you dislike, has a failed history… Do they really want to be on the side of the people who didn’t want to let John Scopes talk or who tried to censor Galileo?”

That’s just ripe. The Center for Science and Culture (which sounds creepy to me) is part of the Discovery Institute, whose only discovery seems to be, “Wow! The world is complex. It’s so complex, in fact, that I have no idea how it could work.” They never mention that God (or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster) could have designed it all; they just stop there.

Mr. West is claiming censorship because he, and lots of people like him, believe in Intelligent Design, and the Ohio School Board has decided to stop giving this view the time of day. Lots of people believe that the earth is flat and the Apollo landings were fake, but we don’t teach those in school, and that’s not censorship, is it?

I see the Discovery Institute like this: a group of religious people lobby every scientist they can find who isn’t actually an atheist (I’m sure there are plenty who are not.) to say that because they study physics or chemistry, they are authorities on the origins of the universe and life on Earth, and that they too question Darwin’s theory of evolution. I believe in the marketplace of ideas, but I am skeptical of the marketing of ideas. Proving your cause by associating it with smart people is marketing, not proof. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman once said, “I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

The Discovery Institute comes up with clever, important-sounding names for committees in their organization, and then they make all sorts of quotes supporting each other such that when they make it into the news, the rest of us hear that the serious-sounding Center for Science and Culture thinks that Ohio’s decision to stop teaching about a controversy that does not exist and stop confusing its students is tantamount to censoring Galileo! Hilarious comparisons, since in both cases they were censored, at least at first, and in both cases they were censored by religious groups.

1 Comment »

  1. Traveling Hypothesis » Flying yogis and other scientific theories said,

    October 25, 2006 at 17:07

    [...] —Richard Feynman (I also mentioned this quote here.) [...]

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