Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Do You Care?

Despite my preference for scientific videos on youtube and my eventual plan to make a few of my own, I have avoided the subject of evolution and creationism directly on this blog. I was trying to create a place where actual debatable things could be discussed, things that rely strongy on personal logic, morality and philosophy. A denial of the veracity of natural selection does not fall in to that category, and there are people that have explained evolutionary theory and mechanisms over and over to the youtube community at large already. That isn't to say that if someone asked me directly a specific question with regards to a scientific matter that I wouldn't answer it to the best of my abilities, but that has not yet happened beyond a silly ID video posted as a response to Penn and Teller - Creationism Part 2, but that simply uses the classic argument "It's far too complicated for my brain to grasp, therefore it must be designed by something far mor intelligent than mere mortals". Beyond pointing out that that is a fallacy, and after he admitted that it was what he "believed" (as opposed to something he knew) there isn't really much to say about it.

So for these reasons I have not delved into the biology behind evolutionary theory, or explained certain mechanisms that may have been beyond some people's understanding. However, I still enjoy watching science videos, and if I see someone in the comments section that hasn't understood something I do tend to try to explain it to them. This has led to a question that I have been getting with increasing frequency, especially from my mother: Why do you care?

In all honesty my mother comes from a partially biased perspective. Of course she accepts science and evolution, but she sees my involvment with creationism being tightly linked with my atheism and as a personal attack on anyone or anything spiritual or supernatural. She therefore becomes unconsciously defensive if I say things like "have you heard that this has happened" or "did you see that this bill might pass" with regards to creationism, until she bursts. Why do you care what happens in a country that is not your own? Why do you waste your energy watching these videos and responding to comments? Why do you get so worked up over nothing?! What is your purpose here, just to attack someone's belief for no reason?!

Of course I can't say "wow Mom, since we've never been that close I was just fishing for conversation, and I thought of something I had heard about". But the question is worth answering: why do I care?

It's because I care about science and education. I feel that every human being should have a right to have access to good education if they want one, whether they live in the Congo or the USA. It's because I think that people have ignored creationists for too long, thinking them a part of a fringe minority not worth considering, and it was precisely that lack of interest which has allowed their faux science to spread into classrooms all over the world, particularly the US and the UK. I has been a lack of clarity from the science side that has allowed so many people to fall for deceitful creationist talking points leading to a whopping 46% of the US identifying themselves as young-earth creationists, and while it is not that high in the UK yet, the number grows.

This is just one of those examples of people thinking that certain topics should be handled with kid gloves just because they touch on religion. I know for a fact that my mother nor anyone else would get this upset with me if it was holocaust deniers that were gaining so much traction, nor would she ask me "why do you care what happens in a country that is not your own" if I had brought up what was happening in Zimbabwe or Iran. I have this terrible habit of giving a shit about things that are not necessarily firmly within my monkeysphere.

I enjoy teaching others and explaining things to them so that they can also experience the wonder and beauty of the natural world. I have a true passion for biology, which is why I have wanted to study it for as long as I can remember. I want to share my wonder and knowledge about fascinating things about the natural world the same way I want to share a movie, song or book that I found particularly moving with my friends and family. It's just part of my personality. I will never, ever be too busy or not feel like explaining something that I fully understand to someone who does not. Gee, I wonder why I wound up tutoring half my bio class in high school.....

Time to take the kid gloves off. Science is science, it shouldn't matter why someone doesn't get it when you attempt to explain it to them. And if you are one of those people that gets defensive when you hear about this sort of thing, try to really examine the reason for your discomfort. Is it because you avoid all subjects regarding education, or do you treat this particular one differently than you would someone who doesn't believe the holocaust ever happened, or that Mussolini and Stalin were actually great guys?

No comments:

Post a Comment