As a somewhat interested, somewhat passive observer of the culture wars that are the Creationism/Evolution debate I find it mostly to be a knife fight. Both sides are throwing daggers at each other. Many of us are caught in between. I find myself both interested and disgusted by the skirmishes.
The battle du jour is coverage and reaction to the decision by The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology to not hold their conference in New Orleans due to new legislation that it feels "undermines the integrity of science and science education in Louisiana". Big surprise there - this is the South, after all. So, Michael Egnor (never at a loss for words) has produced a reaction in the form of an open letter, which prompted reactions from PZ Meyers, Tim Sandefur, and others. Naturally, their reaction and comments protesting Egnor's protest of SICB's protest has produced still more protest from Egnor. Obviously, all the forms of protest have rippled into reactions throughout the blogosphere.
Zing! The daggers fly.
Pile up the paper from all sides of this present little skirmish and light a match. Burn it to ashes and still nothing in the world has changed. By the time the last embers are dying from the paper pyre a new conflict will have erupted. A school that (gasp) is teaching Evolution and won't give Intelligent Design equal and fair coverage. A court case involving a challenge to who-knows-which flash point. DI spouting off that Science is evil and censoring...bla bla bla. Make a new pile. Strike a new match.
OMFG - does it ever end? More seriously: does anyone actually change their opinion? Is there any learning and growth actually happening, or are we all just getting more pissed off?
I for one am experiencing the latter.
It has been almost two years since I (another gasp) discovered that in fact the world was wee bit older than the 6,000 years that were suggested. Prior to that I was aware of the flying daggers - naturally from a Creationist perspective. None of the controversy convinced me. What got me thinking was data from another controversy, Global Warming. "Where did that chart come from that shows the weather trends extending back 100,000 years? Is it just simulated data? Is it based on some weather model? Is it simply crap?"
For me, stepping away from the volley of flying daggers and (third gasp) actually educating myself and looking at real, primary data sources opened a new world for me. Light literally shown in the darkness. "Truth" was proved to be myth and reality presented itself in its stark, sometimes brutal persona. Turns out (who knew?) that the world is a bit older than 6,000 years and that there really is no evidence for a world-wide flood some 4,000 years ago. Wow. Yet, as I shared my discoveries with my suburban Christian friends, they started reaching for their daggers.
Howard Beale told us to open our windows and shout "I mad as hell and not going to take this any more". I'm not that seething, but I have had enough. I'm tired of the constant banter back and forth between the Scientists and the Discovery Institute. Sometimes I wish the Science community would just stick to doing Science and producing good materials that educate. I wish the DI would just go away so that the scientists could do their job. I'm glad, however, that there are educated researchers who are willing to toss a few daggers for truth's sake.
But mostly what I am tired of is having to stay quiet because some stupid neighbor or church-going friend is too ignorant and too lazy or scared (or brainwashed) to actually educate himself about the reality he calls home. I'm tired of them looking at me like I'm some sort of poor deceived soul.
But mostly, I'm just tired of dodging daggers. I guess it's time to sharpen a few of my own.