How Can We Talk About This When You Are So Emotional?

Yesterday was certainly an eye opener. I posted a blog entry stating my belief that a good knowledge of evolution should be required to graduate from High School or to earn a GED. My reasoning is that evolution is the currently widely accepted theory to explain the origin of life on earth. This theory is important to the scientific disciplines of medicine, zoology and chemistry among others and I feel that it is important to have an understanding of the theory, especially if you want to pursue a career in most any scientific or technical discipline.

Well, Zarquon’s knees! What a hive of angry bees I stirred up! All of the riotous action took place on Facebook, where I posted a link to my blog and asked for feedback. What really astonished me was that people, my friends, became so emotional about it, even though I never said, or implied that creationism was wrong or that God didn’t create the universe. All I was saying was that evolution should be required for a well balanced education.

About half of the responses were vehemently against my suggestion, most based on the reasoning that evolution is just a belief like creationism or other dogmatic beliefs such as creationism is correct because the bible says so.
The other half argued in support of evolution, but some in almost as a vitriolic a way as those against, which serves no purpose, except to incite.

It is easy to get emotional about beliefs we hold dearly to be true. We’ve become so polarized as a society that we can’t even get a debate off the ground anymore before people on both sides start getting into it and a debate devolves into an argument, which deteriorates into a flame war.

I am a very firm believer in the personal liberty of the kind that the founding fathers of the American Revolution believed in and founded this nation on. I feel that we all have the right to believe what we choose and that all beliefs and points of view should be respected.

So, I’d ask everyone who gets into a debate like this, anywhere or at any time in the future to stop and think before you post. Take a minute to read aloud what you plan to send and make sure that it isn’t something that might be harmful or hurtful or come across as a put down or preaching. Just state your argument and the facts to back it up. Then listen to what others have to say. Then, go from there.

There is a line from the musical 1776 when Hopkins, the delegate from R.I. learns that he is the tie breaking vote to decide if the continental congress will debate independence, he says, “Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yeah! I’m for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea! “.
So, let’s continue to talk, just remember to respect one another while we do it.

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2 thoughts on “How Can We Talk About This When You Are So Emotional?

  1. Eeeeesh, what people say when worked up. So sorry you went through that (and my customary response to those who think that creationism and evolution are on the same plane because of the word “theory”…lol, there’s a reason that one is an ISM [which implies a dogma] and the other is part of a scientific exploration of which theorizing is a proven part). 😉

  2. I was one of the participants on that Facebook thread, though I hope my contributions weren’t as vitriolic as some. That said, it can be awfully hard, for me at least, to remain calm in some of these online debates regarding evolution.

    First off, remarks like “Evolution has really nothing to do with science, medicine, or engineering. Or for that matter, any real connection with science at all” are simply infuriating, the rhetorical equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and claiming not to be able to hear.

    No better is the implication that people believe in evolution merely to have a reason “not to have to” believe in God. This is arrant nonsense. I believe in evolution because of the evidence, and I believe in God as well, and I react poorly when someone claims to understand my motivations better than I do myself.

    We were also treated to recommendations to read “Answers in Genesis”, a thoroughly discredited website, arguments-by-authority when somebody pointed our that they know an MIT graduate who’s a creationist (so what?), and condescending offers to have prayers said on our behalf.

    Most annoyingly…martyr-complex exhortations for us to “let children think for themselves”, as though religion isn’t the ultimate argument-from-authority. Newsflash: science is significantly weighed in favor of individuals being able to test the truth of a proposition for themselves, as opposed to religion, which essentially asks you to accept things on faith precisely because they are not derivable through rationality alone.

    I agree that everybody ought to take a deep breath in these arguments. But let’s not pretend that unreasonable remarks are equally likely to come from both sides of the debate. One side is based entirely on unreasonable premises, for heaven’s sake, and they aren’t entitled to claim the rigor of science just because they happen to feel strongly about it.

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