March 31, 2009

I'm scratching my head a little in confusion, not because I have lice.

You know, I post very rarely now due to several reasons I've already mentioned. And even when I did post regularly, I never got many comments. So imagine my confusion when I see that my last post has garnered several comments in the span of a couple of days. I guess part of it is due to the fact that people obviously have strong feelings about Expelled and/or the question of intelligent design vs. Darwinsim. I'm just curious how those people ended up reading my post. Not that I mind. That's why I blog. I like sharing my thoughts with the big wide world because I'm vain and think everyone else will find my opinions as engaging as I find them. It's also why I podcast. I think my conversations are hilarious, ergo others will find my conversations hilarious. At any rate, getting back to the issue at hand—I like comments and welcome them, I just wonder where they're coming from all of a sudden.

March 29, 2009

Can't we just get along?

I just finished watching Ben Stein's Expelled, his documentary investigating the established scientific community's resistance (and perhaps active attempts to squash) to considering intelligent design as a possible explanation for the beginning of life. At its heart, the film focuses on a troubling trend within American academic/scientific circles to exclude lines of questioning that fall outside the accepted evolutionary (Darwinism) paradigm. The film presents several established scientists who have been ostracized for daring to mention or include intelligent design within the broader scholarship on evolution and human origin.

Stein also interviews scientists who eschew intelligent design as a valid line of investigation within serious scientific work. In all, I think Stein does an excellent job of warning the viewing audience of the inherent dangers of allowing a societal silencing of ideas that exist outside the accepted norm. When the film first came out, I read reviews of it which included those that said Stein was trying to make hysterical connections between Darwinism and Eugenics, such as the attempted genocide during WWII. I didn't find his presentation hysterical. I found it fairly balanced. Of course, the argument can always be made that we'll never know what sort of comments were left on the cutting room floor, but I didn't come away from the film thinking Stein was trying to say Darwinism was wrong and that people who believed in evolution were ignorant. I came away thinking he is frightened of current events that seem to be stepping on one's freedom of speech in this country and wants to bring light to a problem that the average American might not be aware of.

Having spent the last 12 years of my life working in an academic environment, I have witnessed what Stein speaks of in the film. Academics, in my experience, are probably some of the most rabidly closed-minded people I've encountered in my life. Don't get me wrong, there are many who are very open to the idea of differing opinions, but those who are not scare the living shit out of me because they've got an institutional support that allows them to justify their closed-mindedness as truth.

Let me say that I don't view evolution and creation as mutually exclusive. In many ways, I consider evolution to be creation. Evolution is perhaps, in my mind, our human attempt to understand what God created. I'm not a literalist as far as the Bible is concerned. It's not essential to me to think what is written is exactly how it happened. The world was created in six days. What the hell is six days to God? Everyday I see things and experience things that make me think it can't be an accident, this life that exists. But, I don't automatically think atheists are ignorant people. I think whatever events of their lives brought them to their beliefs are just as valid as the events that have brought me to believe in God. All I ask is for the same respect.

At any rate, this has all been a really rambling and disconnected attempt to say I liked the film and I think everyone can benefit from watching it.

March 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th. Hope you don't trip over a rock, have a donkey kick you in the butt as you get up.

Guess what I just learned. There's a limit on how much you can type into the title field. Did not know that. It's almost like Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, that's where I am most days now. You may have guessed by the dearth of posting going on here. As you can see, I've placed a Twitter scroll of my tweets off to the right. You may have noticed that has seen a lot of action lately. I'm only posting now because I don't want my blog to know I'm cheating on it. This is like a mercy fuck. I don't want to get rid of the old blog. It's been good and faithful, but I cannot resist the minimalist allure of micro-blogging on Twitter. Basically, I want my cake and I want to cram fistfuls of it down my throat.

Twitter is so easy because I can just type in any random though that pops into my head. I use a couple of desktop apps to keep track of the people I'm following while I work. If it wasn't for that, I probably wouldn't be as addicted to it as I am. If I had to log in every time I had a thought, I probably wouldn't do it. But TweetDesk and DestroyTwitter just make it so easy to dash off something before I've even realized I've done it. Really, who could ask for more?