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Friday, 1 June 2007

Oh, the ache of disappointed patriotism.

Via PZ Myers, I just discovered that my country is not as wonderful as I thought. Maybe I gotta stop stereotyping those crazy Americans. The really harsh thing is that Weta Workshop is getting involved. Weta, the company that grew huge as a result of Lord of the Rings and was every bit as Kiwi as Peter Jackson. Weta, the cool little company that wanted to dress up their Oscars in little Barbie and Ken suits until they realised that the little statue comes with a big rule book!


How dare they.

Yeah, I know they're doing it for the money, but I still think it's unethical. So I sent them an email:

To whom it may concern,

I was shocked to read in the New Zealand Herald that Weta Workshop will be helping to design a creation "science" museum:

I seriously thought New Zealanders were above such blatantly false doctrines, and I am disappointed that such a vibrant and previously likeable company as Weta would consent to be involved in a misinformation campaign.

There is solid geological evidence (from radioactive dating) that the Earth is millions of years old. To pretend that any reputable scientist could say that the Earth is only a few thousand years old is a mistake of such undeniable magnitude that it can only be called a lie.

Museums such as these are aimed at children, children who are too young to have developed the proper critical thinking skills to deal with them. Please, please, do not assist these people in their distortion of reason and promotion of ignorance.

Yours sincerely,

[my actual name]


Alon Levy said...

That's the advantage of being a general purpose anti-American: I don't have a problem when other countries fuck up.

L.L. Barkat said...

So, is the museum specifically promoting this kind of creation theory (the six-thousand year position)? I couldn't tell from the article.

L.L. Barkat said...

Oops. I just went back and realize I should never comment while also on the phone! I see they say something about 6,000 years. I find it interesting that they would land specifically on presenting this particular view, since others exist as well.

Lynet said...

They say they're trying to present the two views 'without bias'. However, they also say the data can be 'interpreted' to support the 6000 year viewpoint just as well as the evolutionary one, which I have a hard time believing, so I'm not trusting that statement.

I almost wish they weren't presenting both sides. I'm kind of concerned that their presentation of the evolutionary viewpoint might be less than accurate, making it harder to teach it properly because children who have been to the museum will have false preconceptions about what it says.

And yeah, I know there are intermediary points of view. I also get the impression that a lot of biologists think that Behe, Dembski et al are just as difficult to argue with as Young Earth Creationists, holding just as dogmatically to a view that happens to be considerably less absurd (Behe's casual dismissal of paper after paper, book after book that might address the problems he proposes for evolution is supposed to have had a strong impression on the judge in the Dover trial). It doesn't help that mostly their arguments focus on finding problems for evolution and then suggesting that the solution is that an 'intelligent designer' (i.e. God) did it. If you go around finding problems with scientists' theories, you can bet they'll go looking for solutions -- that's what science is about. And if the reaction to this work in finding solutions is to say "Don't be silly, it'll never work" without actually addressing the points that are being brought up, well, scientists get kinda annoyed. Because basically you're ignoring all their hard scientific work and refusing to debate reasonably. And then they try to teach it in schools...

And, well, yeah.

But theistic evolutionists, sure. I don't buy that whole "evolution is an atheistic theory" thing. It removes one argument for God's existence, but as long as design isn't your only reason for believing, it won't necessarily turn you into an atheist. Ken Miller, Francis Collins... they might not be popular with some atheists, but they're good biologists who also believe in God.