Monday, November 28, 2005

Righteous Fury and Much Butt-Kicking

I do not know who was the first to quote and comment on the remarkable statement from PZ Myers (of Dilbert v. Pharyngula fame) that was originally posted as a comment on the Panda's Thumb web site. Several bloggers have made reference to it. I would be remiss not to include it here, since this blog is dedicated to Darwinian Fundamentalism, and this is such a good example. One might even call it a legendary example. It has even reached the legacy media, thanks to Jonathan Witt's excellent piece that appeared recently in the Seattle Times.

Keep in mind, as you read it, that this is not coming from a crank holed up in a cabin in Utah with 15 shotguns cocked and ready. This is coming from a professor of biology in a mainstream university-- one of the University of Minnesota campuses:

Yeah, I’m afraid the “civilized academic debate” was settled about a century ago. Scientists have been engaging in that ideal, non-militaristic fashion for quite some time, and still are — those discussions go on in the pages of the journals. Unfortunately, while we have been doing everything in the proper civilized way, the forces of ignorance have not; they have lied their way into considerable power.

Here I am, a biologist living in the 21st century in one of the richest countries in the world, and one of the two biology teachers in my kids’ high school is a creationist. Last year, the education commissioner in my state tried to subvert the recommendations for the state science standards by packing a hand-picked ‘minority report’ committee to push for required instruction in intelligent design creationism in our schools. All across the country, we have these lunatics trying to stuff pseudoscientific religious garbage into our schools and museums and zoos.

This is insane.

Please don’t try to tell me that you object to the tone of our complaints. Our only problem is that we aren’t martial enough, or vigorous enough, or loud enough, or angry enough. The only appropriate responses should involve some form of righteous fury, much butt-kicking, and the public firing and humiliation of some teachers, many schoolboard members, and vast numbers of sleazy far-right politicians.

In light of the recent holiday, let me just say that I am truly thankful that I am not a student in Professor Myers' biology class. I am even more thankful that I am not the high school biology teacher who has Professor Myers' child in my class.

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For another post on PZ Myers with a catchy title thanks to his "eloquence," go here.


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