02
Mar
09

Funding and public interest

Instead of taking the normal angle typically taken against this horribly written letter, I’m going to approach it completely differently, like I normally try to do.

When one typically has absolutely no substantiated argument with the experts of a given field, they turn to public opinion. This is what the Discovery Institute has done time and time again. As a result of this repetitive ignoring of the experts in a specific field, you will, naturally, get at least SOME bad press. I even found the little note at the bottom particularly funny:

The misreporting of the evolution issue is one key reason for this site.

Note, it does not say WHICH side of the misreporting they are on. I would argue, and probably prevail, the website is the one doing much of the misreporting. When you take a well established theory, such as evolution, and cast it into a straw man and pretend you’ve one, generally, scientists get a little touchy. When you essentially try to get scientists to be forced out of jobs, they will also tend to get a little touchy. When you misrepresent tons of scientific data to suit your own non sequitur argument, honest scientists tend to get REALLY PISSED. So allow me to take you to task on your argument that scientist should, for sake of funding, agree with the idea that there is some kind of a controversy, when, in fact, there is not, and many scientists have more important things (like science) to think about. I for one am not excluded, but this is my hobby, not my work.

So let me explain to you the situation:

Scientists like it when they don’t have to baby down the language to third grade level for introductory biology courses. Many scientists are not only researchers, but also educators. This blog, for example, allows me to pass on little bits of insight into things which many people would not normally have access to. If someone wants me to explain, for example, allelic disparities between two populations of the same species, they must first understand evolutionary concepts such as the founder effect and genetic flow. If, for example, someone wants me to explain why influenza must be vaccinated for yearly, they would first have to know about genetic drift and carrier-borne viral evolution, or at the very least, genetic drift and its role in evolution. It is impossible to understand viral spreading without understanding linear evolution. It is likewise impossible to understand antibiotic resistant bacteria without understanding horizontal gene transfer and ultimately evolution. Saying evolution is useless to medical science is not only false, but also a very dangerous idea. Typically, I would just point and laugh at such a claim as it has NO evidence to support it and tons of evidence to contradict it. As for evolution not mattering in the research of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, a quick scan through the titles of many articles would prove you incorrect on this matter. (the one about Pseudemys concinna may be a later blog post)

You seem, however, to consider your position to be somehow good for the public interest. How, exactly, is your so-called “theory” with absolutely NO substantiation and TONS of evidence to the contrary of ANY use? Please, explain this to me. Understandings of evolution have lead to new antibiotics, new ways of treating infection, new ways of preventing disease, better means of biodiversity conservation, and, above all, a decent explanation of the biological world around us. While there is still much research to be done in the field of biology, (thus the need for funding) what you fail to realize is that from this research doesn’t just come understanding of evolution, but also leads to insights into medical applications, alternative fuel production, biotechnology, and a lack of the argument from incredulity.

Trying to inject religion into my science means I will continue to inject logic into your dogma. It seems the cold war has finally become a hot war, look for me around your local church this Sunday.

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3 Responses to “Funding and public interest”


  1. March 3, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    These people understand that to a non-scientist everything is opinion.

    All they need do is win popularity contests to be in a position to redefine what is taught as science in classrooms.

    Of course there is a certain element of kids who’d rather NOT want the study of science to be difficult, it makes them look stupid.

    The kids who like to study science are at odds with a certain element of parents who have only religious answers to difficult scientific questions.

    Ignorant people don’t like to think of themselves as stupid so they’d rather the school taught the kids according to their worldview.

    I.D. accomplishes diluting science with religion AND injecting religion into science at the same time.

    “Yes but the LORD did it all and that’s all we really need to know!”, turns an ignorant Creationist into a sage, blowing away all those difficult concepts in less than twenty words.

  2. 2 Colloquy
    March 5, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Nice. I have only one grievance …

    “Scientists like it when they don’t have to baby down the language to third grade level for introductory biology courses.”

    In my experience, most are happy to do just that when asked.
    (present company included)

  3. 3 jaredcormier
    March 5, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Perhaps you should reread that once, Stacy, I LIKE when I can discuss something without having to bring the language down a few levels, I prefer it. I am more than happy to explain underlying concepts, at least briefly, before going more in depth, but it saves time when we don’t have to.

    It’s not that I mind it so much as I prefer far more discussing the topic at hand that explaining underlying principles.


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