Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Laughed Out Loud ...

I was mining YouTube for entertainment the other night...

This, incidentally, is a phenomenon that is getting all too popular at parties - people share their demented finds and watch as their friends recoil in horror or laugh until they split their sides.

At least 3 times in recent memory I have been to parties where this has happened. Maybe I just need more interesting friends.

But it is interesting that those same people would never think to email me a link, nor even Tweet it. It is the witnessing of your reaction that is the valued moment it would seem.

But all of that aside - I was determined to watch the new Red Dwarf Episodes. And so I did. It was quite the emotional roller-coaster and in the end I loved it.

But then I started poking around and I came across something I find interesting. It is an entire series of short video clips called "Why Do People Laugh at Creationists?" There's 29 parts to the thing! And yet I found myself sitting through each and every one of them and marveling at the eloquent ruthlessness of it.

Now please do not think that I hold an anti-religious viewpoint. I do not. I actually am of the opinion that Religion and Science are nothing at all like mutually exclusive and it constantly amazes me when people get hung up trying to reconcile the two.

I am however a scientist. Perhaps 'engineer' is a better term, since it is the applied sciences, however I prefer the term 'technologist' since what I actually do for a living is to apply technology to solve problems. I would have absolutely nothing to work with if I did not have the fruits of science.

Furthermore I apply the Scientific Method in every aspect of my life, every day. That is to say that I try very hard to learn from my mistakes.

Experiment, Observe, Verify/Negate Theory, Hypothesize, Repeat.

Most life forms follow this simple procedure to eke out knowledge of the world that they live in. This does not preclude them from Loving others, displaying Compassion, and seeking Justice. The two complement each other, rather than negating each other.

What perhaps makes some people uncomfortable is when they unduly influence each other. Using technology to seek Justice for example is a cloudy mixture. At what point does the Power afforded by Scientific research threaten to overwhelm the concepts of Compassion? All too soon, if we are to learn from History.

But on the other hand - people get downright nasty when they appear to conflict. If the Big Bang Theory did not line up with Genesis in a vague sort of way I am certain that it would be pursued with equal venom to that aimed at the work of Charles Darwin.

The interesting point there is that Evolution explains the Diversity of Life, not it's origin. This is usually the sticking point that starts the argument to begin with - a lack of proper understanding.

It is this lack of understanding that causes the conflicts to begin with. The only people who seem to be on the attack against the accepted scientific explanations for our reality are those that not only do not make an effort to learn the science that they are trying to debate, but also display a lack of understanding in how their own acknowledged religion would have them behave in a confrontation.

WWJD? Would he act like the stereotypical nut-job Zealot:
  • Watch Bill O'Reilly and hang on every word - calling people you disagree with 'pinheads'?
  • Tell scientists they don't have the Right to Question 'Biblical Truths'?
  • Use votebots to get anti-creationist videos banned from YouTube?
  • Slander anyone who disagrees with you?
  • Encourage intolerance?
  • Participate in a Culture War?
  • Blow up statues of Buddha with explosives?
  • Bomb abortion clinics?
  • Start a New Era of Crusades?
Or perhaps would he instead pursue the loftier 'egg-headed' goals like:
  • Encourage people to seek the Truth
  • Encourage people to speak the Truth
  • Cure suffering, disease and pandemics
  • Give clean water to those who have none
  • Feed the starving - Finding new ways to grow food
  • Extend everyone's lifespan
  • Be Compassionate and defend the Rights of others to express their opinions, especially when you do not agree with them - but then holding everyone's opinions up to the same scrutiny

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