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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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The Genius Of Darwin

Science is like a good friend: sometimes it tells you things you don't want to hear

August 2 2008 Article history, Charlie Brooker The Guardian.

Must be frustrating being a scientist. There you are, incrementally discovering how the universe works via a series of complex tests and experiments, for the benefit of all mankind - and what thanks do you get? People call you "egghead" or "boffin" or "heretic", and they cave your face in with a rock and bury you out in the wilderness.

Not literally - not in this day and age - but you get the idea. Scientists are mistrusted by huge swathes of the general public, who see them as emotionless lab-coated meddlers-with-nature rather than, say, fellow human beings who've actually bothered getting off their arses to work this shit out. The wariness stems from three popular misconceptions:

1) Scientists want to fill our world with chemicals and killer robots; 2) They don't appreciate the raw beauty of nature, maaan; and

3) They're always spoiling our fun, pointing out homeopathy doesn't work or ghosts don't exist EVEN THOUGH they KNOW we REALLY, REALLY want to believe in them.

That last delusion is the most insidious. Science is like a good friend: sometimes it tells you things you don't want to hear. It tells you the truth. And we all know how much that can hurt, don't we, fatso?

Many people find bald, unvarnished truths so disturbing, they prefer to ram their heads in the sand and start dreaming at the first sign of scientific reality. The more contrary evidence mounts up, the harder they'll ignore it. And even the greatest, most widely-admired scientists can provoke this reaction. Take Darwin. Or rather, take The Genius Of Darwin (Mon, 8pm, C4), the latest documentary from professional God-hatin' Professor Yaffle impersonator Richard Dawkins, which sets out to calmly and lucidly explain a) Why Darwin was so ace, and b) Just how much evidence there is to support his findings.

Darwin's theory of evolution was simple, beautiful, majestic and awe-inspiring. But because it contradicts the allegorical babblings of a bunch of made-up old books, it's been under attack since day one. That's just tough luck for Darwin. If the Bible had contained a passage that claimed gravity is caused by God pulling objects toward the ground with magic invisible threads, we'd still be debating Newton with idiots too.

Since Darwin's death, Dawkins points out, the evidence confirming his discovery has piled up and up and up, many thousand feet above the point of dispute. And yet heroically, many still dispute it. They're like couch potatoes watching Finding Nemo on DVD who've suffered some kind of brain haemorrhage which has led them to believe the story they're watching is real, that their screen is filled with water and talking fish, and that that's all there is to reality - just them and that screen and Nemo - and when you run into the room and point out the DVD player and the cables connecting it to the screen, and you open the windows and point outside and describe how overwhelming the real world is - when you do all that, it only spooks them. So they go on believing in Nemo, with gritted teeth if necessary.

What was it that spooked them so? Probably natural selection's lack of reassuring narrative. It lays the ruthless, godless world pretty bloody bare. As Dawkins says: "The total amount of suffering in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute it takes me to say these words, thousands of animals are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, feeling teeth sink into their throats. Thousands are dying from starvation or disease or feeling a parasite rasping away from within. There is no central authority; no safety net. For most animals the reality of life is struggling, suffering and death."

Woo-hoo! Compare and contrast with the plot of Finding Nemo and it's easy to understand why people would rather believe in the purdy singing clown fish. But this is our reality, people. Like the man says, there's no safety net - so since we're all in this together, we'll have to make our own. And we can't do that with our eyes and minds shut now, can we?
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-15-2008, 08:01 PM
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Oh shut-up, V, lest we draw and quarter you, ya heretic bastard.

Oh wait, now-a-days we dynamite your infidel ass. Alahu akbar!

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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-16-2008, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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I confess my transgressions, I must have been bewitched, Yes the world is only six thousand years old and stuff, so where do I sign so I don't get burnt ?
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-16-2008, 06:56 PM
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And you call me stupid, Huh.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-16-2008, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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I've never called you stupid, dog breath guy yes, trash can breath yes but not stupid, I'm saving that till you not drunk.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-16-2008, 10:22 PM
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The more I read this board it reminds me of Social Darwinism in it's raw form. Of course I see intelligence as an anomaly that natural selection is in the process of weeding out. I am hoping it survives a few more generations but there sure seems to be a lot of evidence against it.

Last edited by concretist; 08-16-2008 at 10:26 PM.
post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 05:55 AM
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Will you be quiet please, i am watching walt disney cartoons

ERIC.

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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by eric242340 View Post
Will you be quiet please, i am watching walt disney cartoons
heh, heh........same here! heh, heh...........
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by eric242340 View Post
Will you be quiet please, i am watching walt disney cartoons
Ah Walt Disney. Genius film maker,anti-communist and renowned atheist.

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" - Seneca
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-17-2008, 07:28 AM
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Ah Walt Disney. Genius film maker,anti-communist and renowned atheist.
A man after my own heart, bless his cotton socks This Charles Darwin chappie only talked of animals, but he could not talk to them
Good old Walt filled the gap there.

ERIC.

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- George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second ... if there is one."
- Winston Churchill, in response.
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