Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Arguing with the anti-scientific...

What makes the science vs. anti-science debate so futile (from a scientist's or science educator's point of view) is that over-whelming evidence for one position has no apparent impact on its doctrinaire (and fundamentally irrational) opponents.

If creationist/anti-science ideologs were open to argument (or for that matter honest about their prejudices or true agenda), then discussion might be worthwhile.

There are, of course, many historical examples where the tentative nature of science has been forgotten by people who have attempted to the authority of science to support their political/ideological positions (think slavery and racist eugenics) - but the religious attack on rationality is despicable primarily because of its dishonest tactics.

Only the backing of the fundamentalist religious groups keeps this debate alive at all - from a scientific perspective there is no point in backing a bankrupt and obsolete position (although there still people trying to patent perpetual motion/free energy machine, advocating a flat-earth or trying to sell homeopathy).

As far as I can tell, the only appropriate response to anti-rationalist attacks on the scientific enterprise is to ignore or ridicule them.

No comments: