Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The art of compromise. Yeah, right.

If there's one thing I hear way too much of, it's people like lunatic creationists or proponents of Intelligent Design suggesting that we all "compromise". In their minds, compromise typically involves something like splitting classroom time 50-50, "equal time", that sort of thing.

And how can you argue? It seems so ... fair. Both sides getting a chance to air their views, sharing the classroom, accommodating each others' opinions. What it is is total rubbish since there's absolutely no reason to "compromise" at all. Let me explain by way of an analogy.

Imagine a creationist looking for that compromise. "OK," says I, "that sounds reasonable. Uh, by the way, you got a wallet?"

"Um, yeah," answers the creationist, looking a bit puzzled, "Why do you ask?"

"Pull it out," I say. "How much cash do you have?"

"About 35 dollars, it looks like."

"Great," says I, "I'll take that."

"What?" yelps the creationist, "How come? I'm not giving you my money."

"Oh, come on, be a pal."

"No way!"

At which point, I say, "All right, I'll tell you what. Let's 'compromise'. I'll take half and you can keep the other half. That's fair, isn't it? We're sharing equally, so you shouldn't have a problem with that."

"But, but,", says the creationist, "that's still silly. It's my money, I don't have to share it with you, not even a little bit."

Precisely, and that's the point. Compromise always sounds so fair and appealing, unless you're talking about something for which there is no need for you to compromise in the slightest. It's true of the money in your wallet, and it's true of creationist time in the classroom. There is no need to "compromise" with creationists in the classroom since, quite simply, they haven't earned the right to a minute of that time.

Creationists seem to think that, just because they have an alternative idea, they're magically entitled to half of the classroom time to present it. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. As long as your point of view is pseudo-scientific rubbish, you're not entitled to any of that time. And, no, I don't feel like compromising.

And if they still don't get the point, well, just ask for their wallet.

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