Fundies and Science - Fear Of The Dynamic Nature Of The Universe


Twitter is a popular site right now - how long it will remain relevant who knows. One thing I like about twitter is the atheist presence on the site and the ease of link sharing. What I don't like about twitter is the unfair advantage fundies are given when you find yourself going against all better judgment and interacting with them on the site. There's plenty of room to type 'god did it' in 140 characters or less. Explaining evolution - not that easy. Not that you would want to and if you did want to, you would most likely provide informative links rather than try to stuff the theory of evolution into two or three or thirty 140 character messages.

While I have a rule about arguing science with fundies (it's as pointless as arguing aquatic plantlife with birds) I found myself going rounds with a fundie today for the first time since I joined twitter and I found out first hand exactly why this particular forum is useless for debate.

While the fundie's arguments were essentially wordy versions of 'nuh uh' and 'well, that's not good enough for me' my arguments entailed trying to explain the intricacies of aviary speciation and also utilizing animal husbandry as a simple and familiar example of evolution when it's being controlled by people. The animal husbandry comments solicited this response - "Oh, so a cow and a cow make a horse? I don't think so."

This is precisely when my head exploded.

There are a few things I really don't understand about the fundamentalist position that I have run across and it may not be indicative of the majority of the group - this is purely anecdotal experience.

1. Prove evolution is correct.

What? No. Read a damn book. It is not my responsibility to prove anything to you. I'll provide you links, I'll make compelling arguments, and I'll offer my opinions. When you ask someone to prove something to you you're asking for more than this - you;re asking someone to take the time to frame information in a way that you can understand it and to present information which you yourself accept. "Prove evolution is correct" is like asking someone to prove air is correct. There's no right or wrong, it's about reality.

2. I reject your proof. More proof please.

This is initially understandable but ultimately aggravating. My favorite example of evolution in action is animal husbandry. It's a simple, easy to understand example of how one can select for traits and breed animals to eventually exhibit those traits selected for most of the time. As the only 'proof' fundamentalists have for their positions is a single unverifiable document - the bible, I like to give two examples of evolution if I ever find myself in one of these torturous conversations. There you go, you have one thing, I have two things, I'm not trying to change your mind myself but maybe you should look into this more as I have obviously proven your initial statement of there being 'no proof' of evolution false. But no. Invariably you will hear this - I don't accept that proof. What else do you have? My response is initially 'Why don't you accept that as proof?' as I don't accept the bible as proof I feel it's fair to ask this question. I have heard all kinds of reason for fundamentalist rejecting scientific proof -
  • "That sounds strange." - ...is...is that an argument?
  • "That's too complicated of an explanation." - the complexities of life are not going to be explained in 140 characters or less, sorry friend.
  • "I don't get it." - No one gets it right away, but you have to be willing to learn.
  • "Science is an invention of the devil" - posted online. Sweet sweet irony.
  • "Science does whatever it takes to trick people into believing evolution" - as if science is a physical entity with evil preconceived desires.
I don't know how to reconcile religious fundamentalist thought with science because I don't feel like scientifically minded people are the ones who are causing the need for reconciliation. Good, reputable science does not start out on the road of discovery with an end result in mind. Science takes up all the evidence, studies that evidence vigorously and from the evidence presents conclusions. Not stoic and unchangeable conclusions - nothing science says is an absolute truth in that tomorrow something new could be discovered that changes everything within scientific understanding. Maybe that's what this ridiculous jihad against science from the fundamentalists is all about - the fear of a dynamic reality.

3. Evolution doesn't make any sense.

Yes, It does. This is the most pig headed argument of all. You can classify this as a ridiculous argument when you ask someone how it doesn't make sense and they respond, 'it just doesn't.' or 'crocoduck' or what have you. No amount of pseudoscience and willful ignorance can discredit evolution as not making sense because evolution is just a term we have applied to how life works. No, evolution isn't a fanciful scientific fantasy - it's the term we now use for the progression of life. Look at how dogs can be bred to have thicker or thinner coats. That's an example of evolution but even before evolution was a theory it was still true that if you breed dog a with dog b, litter c will have the traits of a and b. That is an (oversimplified) fact. By saying that evolution doesn't make sense, people are saying that facts like these don't make sense either.

This is why I don't argue with fundies on twitter or really at all. Arguing with a fundie is a lot like arguing with a child - they've made up their mind and all you're doing is wasting your time with illogical arguments that essentially amount to 'nuh uh.' No thanks, just go clean your room.