From an exchange with Vox Day (Who lists me as a writer of interest), when I criticized his fetish for Creationism.
"Mr. Williamson, with all due respect, you don't appear to realize that you are not only dealing with a number of people here who are smarter than you are, but are also better educated in science than you are. It may help to keep in mind that at Vox Popoli, those who live by the rhetoric tend to die quickly and brutally by the dialectic."
That's the funniest thing I've read this week. Thanks.
I was at first interested in your site. I thought I had found the anti-Scalzi. And in fact, I have.
that is not a compliment.
So, first, by what metric does he assume, after one email exchange and a couple of comments that there are a "number of people" there who are smarter than me?
It's certainly not impossible, but per standardized testing, the odds are 99.8% in my favor. That is a mathematical extraction based on my tested IQ. So unless his blog is a haven for pure geniuses, it seems unlikely. Nor have I seen much demonstration of any hard scientific knowledge among his supporters. Though to be fair, I haven't read much of his blog and don't plan to.
Given that most of the interest there is in unquantifiable local social issues, devoid of cites or analysis, it's untestable, but my perception is his belief is incorrect. There's a lot of opinion there--some little of which I concur with--but a lot of BS, including the obsession with myth (Creationism) over science. It even repeats the "Evolution is losing support among scientists!" bleat that's been around since...Darwin. Yet every year we have better information, better ability to define what we're looking at, and better ability to predict what we don't see. That's called "Science." He even cutely entitles his response to me, "rhetoric is not science." Indeed. His rhetoric is not science.
Second, he seems unaware that for Darwin to be challenged is a POSITIVE thing for science. It means we've refined the theory and have improved precision. Much like the Earth went from spherical to oblate to precisely delineated, and we are now working on equations to explain orogenous upthrust (which isn't as sexy as it sounds).
Third, it doesn't matter how smart or educated either of us is. Facts are facts. Extrapolations are extrapolations. And mythic fantasy is mythic fantasy, even when called "religion." It is untestable, unprovable, and not scientific. There's also an implied assumption that the scientists working in genetics aren't as smart as...a blogger. Which again, is not impossible, but is irrelevant.
He knows nothing about me other than our two emails and a couple of comments. But he knows I'm not as smart as he because I "believe" different things. In point of fact, I believe very little. I observe. If there is no conclusion to be reached, I delay judgment until there is.
Fourth, it's entirely possible to disagree with the modern American left, while being just as idiotic, prejudiced and intellectually dishonest as its worst practitioners...which he ably demonstrates (forex, constantly calling Scalzi "McRapey," apparently completely missing the point of one of John's blogs that I do agree with), despite his ability to solve the softball pre-algebra question I tossed at him. During the Spanish Civil War, the Fascists and the Communists were diametrically opposed, yet largely indistinguishable. Or in a non-Godwin sense, pick European peasants forced to choose between Viking raiders or the Franks.
And Darwin's (or any) ideas are only "dangerous" to bleating ideologues. Information falls across a spectrum from factual to opinion, from useful to not. A truly smart person analyzes the content and comes to a conclusion, adapting the conclusions as needed as new facts are presented. That, we call "Science."
As I have predicted for years that they would, biologists are beginning to turn away from Darwin's dangerous idea of evolution by natural selection. Even self-styled champions of evolution such as PZ Myers have reached the point of giving up on their erstwhile secular saint:
We aren’t using Darwin’s model anymore; he had no accurate notion of how inheritance worked, for instance — genes and alleles, the stuff of most modern theory, are not present anywhere in his works. “Darwinian” is also problematic. It does have a specific, technical meaning, but it’s often applied thoughtlessly to every process in evolution.
Besides, everyone knows Coyote and the Great Spirit created the universe.