Thursday, January 12, 2006

If there were any more "evidence," I could beat you to death with it.


A friend relates the story of walking on the U of Toronto campus recently, and passing by an animated discussion in which someone was shouting something like, "Show me some evidence for evolution!"

Very. Long. Pause.

Think about this. You're in the middle of one of Canada's premier universites, surrounded by world-class researchers (not to mention a decent library or two) and you're standing out on the sidewalk, demanding that someone else standing on that sidewalk provide you with evidence for evolution that you are almost certainly too fucking stupid to either understand or appreciate.

My advice to this person: Take a course. Read a book. Talk to someone who isn't as stupid as you are. And stop expecting others to do your work for you.

The evidence is all around you, and it's readily accessible. Stop being so goddamned lazy and look at some of it, OK?

Objective evidence? WHAT objective evidence? One anonymous commenter tries to level the playing field with:

Others would give the same argument about God, CC. I don't see you defending them when they say something like, "The evidence is all around you, and it's readily accessible. Stop being so lazy and look at some of it, OK?" Oh, no. If they were to say something like that, you'd take them to task for being unable (or too lazy) to provide proof of God.

Sigh. OK, I'll bite (although, by now, you think I'd know better).

I'm
quite capable of providing truckloads of evidence for things like an ancient earth and biological evolution. Objective evidence for that matter. Can these people really say the same about evidence for the existence of God?

I doubt it, since part of their shtick is that having complete faith in the totally unseen is critically important to them. So it's hard to see how they're going to simultaneously hold on to that faith part and still claim to be able to provide evidence, no?

In any event, you seem to be suggesting that one person's evidence is entirely equivalent to another person's evidence and that there's no way to judge the difference between the two. Is that really what you're saying? That there's no real concept of objective evidence? I hope that's not what you're saying but it sure sounds like it and there's no way I'd want to try to defend something like that, but it seems like that's just what you're trying to do. Good luck.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The problem with your assertion is this:
How do you how you discuss your perception of those features of reality with someone who sees obvious evidence of divinity?

Anonymous said...

friend here: actually, the guy yelling about needing 'proof' was holding a rather large and ornate bible, and was accompanied by a number of others with bibles in hand. It really struck me that it was a purposeful religious demonstration (or an attempt anyway) literally 100 meters from the Anthropology department. I'm fairly certain they were baiting secular humanists, and it appeared to be working from the crowd they was gathering, one of whom I know to be an Anthro TA.

Anonymous said...

'they was gathering'. pardon me, I ought to proofread my writing more closely. Yep, graduating UofT student here!! only the best go to Toronto.

CC said...

anonymous #1 writes:

The problem with your assertion is this:
How do you how you discuss your perception of those features of reality with someone who sees obvious evidence of divinity?


If this person sees, as you put it, "obvious evidence of divinity," then it's totally pointless for them to be asking you for evidence.

If they've already made up their mind, then all the evidence in the world is not going to change their mind and they're just wasting your time.

Anonymous said...

Others would give the same argument about God, CC. I don't see you defending them when they say something like, "The evidence is all around you, and it's readily accessible. Stop being so lazy and look at some of it, OK?" Oh, no. If they were to say something like that, you'd take them to task for being unable (or too lazy) to provide proof of God.

thickslab said...

Anyone who believes in Creationism is too stupid to understand all the books in the U of T library.

Grog said...

Oh, no. If they were to say something like that, you'd take them to task for being unable (or too lazy) to provide proof of God.

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The hard-line religious argument is that there is no incontrovertible proof for evolution. (In other words, there are unknowns - gee - big surprise there)

If religion can claim a scientific model is invalid on the basis of the unknowns (and therefore the absence of absolute proof), is it not perfectly unsurprising that the counter question would be the equally unanswerable "prove that God exists" question?

The problem that the Bible Beaters(tm) have is that on one hand, they want us to treat the bible metaphorically or literally as they see fit, but conversely, they seem to see rationalism - and especially sciences - as being obliged to provide "concrete" proofs - failing to realize that absolutes don't exist in science.

Couch Stu said...

People who deny evolution should simply be denied access to drugs for anti-biotic resistant bacteria. You're a creationist? Here have some plain old penicilin. Since those bacteria can't possibly have evolved, it will still work, right?

Gazetteer said...

Or, you could just ask Little Stephen

PR said...

"Anyone who believes in Creationism is too stupid to understand all the books in the U of T library."

Wow, you're confident. Does this mean that you consider yourself smarter than every single person in history who has believed in a god that created the world? 'Cause that roster includes some pretty bright lights.

CC said...

Pete writes:

Does this mean that you consider yourself smarter than every single person in history who has believed in a god that created the world? 'Cause that roster includes some pretty bright lights.

Careful, Pete. If you're talking historical figures, then there's nothing wrong with very clever people a long time ago believing stuff like that. They didn't know any better and they didn't have the tools to figure it out.

Nowadays, it's different. For someone today to be, for example, a young-earth creationist is inexcusable. Just as, with the evidence available, it's inexcusable to claim there's no evidence for evolution.

Don't be mixing apples and chainsaws here.

CC said...

By the way, Pete, the Greeks were aware the world was round some 2500 years ago, and people were already aware that the Earth was really old quite some time before Darwin.

So, again, if someone today is still a young-earth creationist, then, yes, they really are too stupid for words.

Adam said...

Pete;

For the record, there is a tremendous difference between Creationism and "(belief) in a god that created the world".

The former is directly contradicted by scientific evidence from many fields. The latter is unfalsifiable and open to debate.