SCREAMING AT A WALL

Posted in Quick Hits on February 5th, 2014 by Ed

So is everyone satisfied that debating a creationist about creationism at The Creation Museum, prominently displaying a man riding a dinosaur, is a waste of time? Was it everything you hoped, hearing a stupid person who believes that the Earth is 6000 years old make a bunch of nonsense arguments? Isn't it fulfilling to see a man attempt to take seriously another man who is utterly incapable of either logic or shame?

Part of the problem here is that most of us are raised to Be Nice about religion and religious people. In general this is good advice. However, this is counterproductive with fundamentalists. The pseudo-noble desire to Listen to Both Sides and to give their point of view a fair hearing quickly crumbles under the weight of the utter stupidity, in terms of historical and scientific accuracy, of their beliefs. Not their belief in god or in Christianity, but in their Beliefs about things that are actually empirically testable facts. There is no point in, and nothing to be gained by, debating someone who has "beliefs" about things that are matters of fact.

What Bill Nye did on Tuesday evening was to dignify a ludicrous argument from ludicrous people with a debate, serving largely to give creationists a platform to throw their bullshit at a large audience and to generally create the impression that this issue is up for debate. The odds of someone being persuaded by the logic of Mr. Nye's argument seem to be lower than the odds of some gullible professional skeptic – the kind that buys into 9-11 conspiracy theories because of a 3-minute YouTube video – being persuaded by a snippet of "But radiocarbon dating is unreliable!" water-muddying from a group that combines the smugness of lobbyists with the terrifyingly dead eyes of a religious zealot.