Monday, August 24, 2009

Chris Mooney's Hypocritical Strawman

A good test for a proponent of any position is to explain their biggest weakness. What are the best arguments against their position? What do their strongest detractors say? When I investigate evolution my goal is to find the best arguments for it. Why should I believe it is a fact, every bit as much as gravity? I have criticized evolution, but I want to do so using its very best evidences and arguments. If I criticize strawmen arguments I waste everyone's time, including my own. And I fool no one, except myself. Not so with evolutionists.

It is a sure sign of a problem that evolutionists consistently fail to address their biggest weakness. They consistently ignore the best arguments against their position. Indeed, I have yet to find any evolutionary work that violates this trend.

The latest example comes from an interview of evolutionist Chris Mooney in Friday's LA Times:

Religion: How has it deepened the divide between Americans and science?

It's been there forever. There really is a huge history of not being able to grapple with this issue in the U.S. Other countries have handled it better in many ways. There is just a ton of data on Americans, why they don't accept science, particularly evolution, and what their views on religion are. And there is zero doubt that religion is the block.

Religion is the reason they think they can't accept evolution. That's because they are told by their pastors from the pulpit, all across the country, that evolution is an assault on their identity, their moral universe and their ability to raise children who get taught this. So there's been an attempt to create a hermetically sealed environment in the conservative Christian community that keeps this stuff out. And that's a huge problem.

The world of science is very angry about this, and justifiably so. They are sick of playing Whac-A-Mole with the anti-evolutionists. Every year, maybe more than every year, there's a new battle.

Of course there are people who reject evolution on religious grounds. But this does nothing to resolve evolution's monumental scientific problems except, that is, if you need a strawman argument to mask those problems.

And the strawman argument is hypocritical. If Mooney was truly concerned about religious influences in science he could find it in spades in his own backyard.