June 24, 2011
Okay, I know the Miss America pageant is not the best place to look to for intellectual discussion… but it seems the pageant coordinators and the contestants haven’t figured this out. It’s a beauty competition. Yeah, there’s scholarship money and a title and all that, but it boils down to fifty-one women trying their best to look nice and pretty for the gawking judges.
They’re judging you on your yabos, ladies. Just admit it.
That being said, all fifty-one contestants were asked if evolution should be taught in public schools. The results don’t, to be blunt, speak well for these ladies. If you believe these contestants represent your state in any way, be ashamed. Be very ashamed.
Warning! The following is fifteen minutes of the most mangled wordplay and most blatant social cowardice I’ve seen in a while. Especially the one that said evolution was “real sciency.” That being said, it’s funny watching them try to sound smart.
If you ever want to show someone a rundown of every bad argument for teaching creationism, this is it. Right here. All of them.
Let’s start with the obvious argument most of them made. Evolution is a scientific theory. Creationism is a religious belief. One belongs in a theology class. The other in a science class. It’s like claiming you need to teach philosophy and veganism before dissecting a frog.
A lot of these women kept calling evolution a “theory.” A theory, they say, is just someone else’s belief, guess, or opinion. We shouldn’t teach it since not everyone believes in it.
Well, I guess we need to stop teaching that the Earth is round, too. Or that we landed on the moon. Or that President Obama is a natural-born citizen. There are, after all, people who dispute these FACTS.
I swear to Bob, I was in DC working for Congress when that birth certificate rumor first came up. I thought it was a joke until we got 100 emails in thirty minutes.
Anyone who ever did a science fair project, even in elementary school, should understand what is wrong with this excuse. A theory, for a real scientist, is a guess based on observations, then the theory is tested, and, if sufficient evidence is found, then the theory eventually gains wide acceptance until evidence to the contrary is brought forth.
You can never “prove” a theory. You can find evidence to support it. You can, however, disprove it. If tomorrow we found a fossil for an animal that had zero relation to any animal on Earth, it would disprove the theory that creatures gradually change over many generations…
Or it would prove the existence of aliens.
In other words, a theory, as used by the scientific community, is not a “guess.” It is a set of assumptions based on observations that has survived repeated scrutiny. At its most basic level, science DESCRIBES. That’s it. The “theory” of evolution describes the fossils and processes witnessed by biology, geology, and pretty much most of science.
Let me put it another way.
You and I come across a lot where the charred remains of a building remain. Surrounding structures are heavily damaged and pieces of rubble are scattered over half the block. The unmistakable smell of gasoline is in the air.
After testing the burnt remains, I determine that the most likely explanation for this site is that someone used a gasoline-based bomb to blow said building up. I can’t be sure of the delivery method or ignition source, but I’ll keep working on the specifics.
You, upon hearing this, proclaim that, since I don’t know every detail and was not witness to the event, there must never have been a building and what we are witnessing is really just the way said structure was built. Someone must have put up partial support structures, then carefully burned them to make it LOOK like an explosion after scattering debris in a predetermined fashion.
It has to be the ONLY explanation.
This is the logic that people use when they claim evolution is “just a theory.” It speaks volumes about the state of education, and it shows the willful ignorance we accept as tolerance. You’re free to worship and believe whatever you want. Everyone is entitled to his or her informed opinion.
You are not, however, entitled to your own facts. So, ladies of the Miss America pageant, go back to basic science class. If you don’t even understand the basic scientific method, you have no right to be looking for money for college.
It should be a rule.
That, and you are limited to two pounds of make-up on your face.
No links today, but keep reading for more updates on Charcoal Streets, some new features coming up next month, and other goodies. Don’t forget to Like Randomology on Facebook or follow the site through Twitter, too. Happy weekend!