She refers to adherents of creationism who are upset by the lack of coverage creationism is receiving in the currently-running-but-still-to-be-viewed-by-me Cosmos. Neil deGrasse Tyson has responded by saying that science will give creationism equal time as long as it goes first from its pulpit. Nice :)
Erin then goes on to quote some things Ray Comfort, Christian apologist for creationism, has said about science and the bible:
You know, the word ‘science,’ it’s kind of a magical word,” Comfort said. “‘I believe in science.’ It just means knowledge, that’s all it means. There’s different areas of science, different areas of knowledge. When you say the Bible is not a science book, you’re saying it’s not a knowledge book? It tells us how God created the Earth!Now, I don't post this here so we can point at Ray Comfort and laugh and say what an idiot. I'm tired of Christians being lambasted in the science field. In fact, I'm tired of everybody being lambasted by everybody else in every field. Disagree with what seems so obviously ridiculous to you, but do it respectfully. You might actually teach someone something in the process, that way.
... It gives us the basis for all creation, and it passes the scientific method,” he said. “It’s observable – Genesis – and testable. Evolution is not. You can’t observe something 60 million years old, but you can observe what Genesis says.
But it definitely betrays an understanding of what science is. Scientific knowledge is a specialised form of knowledge. It's a small and rigorous space where many things ~ which may actually be true ~ are not gained admittance because they can't be studied in that way. Scientific results must be testable and provable. I think many scientists are understandably frustrated by the seeming lack of understanding of this process.
But I think the reactions of some people, Comfort included, may also be fuelled in some measure by the frustration many people feel in a culture where by dint of the place we find ourselves in history, scientific knowledge is considered the only valid form of knowledge.
That's an insanely small turning circle with which to conduct yourself in the world. Only choose to believe as true that which is provable in a scientific context and you could quite possible - ironically, tragically - find yourself living as a fool.
This is a blind spot of ours. It may seem curious or even tragic to those in the future. We are constrained, like every other people, by our time and place and brave are those people who break out of it. Which is what scientists are meant to do but are not always able, but by dint of being of a group which operates according to certain conventions of what is and what isn't, and who are funded by those conventions.
I'm fascinated by the politics of science and by observing how those internal politics are being and will be forced to change in coming years. The area of science that most stresses its boundaries and its internal belief systems (yes, it has them) is surely that of consciousness. This is where the changes from discovery are going to come in future years. I can't wait. It will smooth out some of those narrow dualistic distinctions we are still struggling within now.
I wonder if many people rail against science not because they aren't fascinated to know how the beautiful world works, what is "out there" and to explore it, but are rather railing against that constraining consensus that scientific knowledge is the ONLY valid and allowable form of knowledge in our western society. In that sense I'm in agreement with them. The idea that scientific knowledge is the only knowledge is a profoundly stupid stance to take, but it's an historical backlash that continues against the destructive results of empire Christianism with its imposition and control and ideas of faith being the only valid and allowable form of knowledge. It's just that we've gone too far the other way.
I look forward to a greater form of balance. I think that it's going to come via our scientific discoveries of the future. I think we'll begin to have greater balance between acceptance of other forms of knowledge as valid as our western conceptions of matter continue to change - that whether observable or not, it is essentially dead. We live in a world that is dead to us in a way that would have been bizarre and creepy to people of other ages and cultures. Perhaps the creepiest thing for them, if they could have crept inside our cultural heads, would be the chilling realisation that it would be so very difficult for us to see that the potential destruction of our world would be birthed from the same thinking that birthed our great understanding and great knowledge. Our great scientific achievements have stunted us in other ways. We are Icarus, with the destruction of the earth the rotting core of the fruit of our scientific success.
This is a hard thing to understand and to take in a culture that does not understand very well the rhythms of life, the yin and the yang, the limits. I mean, we don't even readily accept death in our culture so what chance do we have! We shut it away in nursing homes. We are the perfect people to fail to understand decline and decay and therefore to understand the renewal that comes after the decline and the decay. We live, and yet we still do not very easily understand how life~death~life works. But I think we are beginning to. I see green shoots.
Maybe as this bigger, more beautiful and expansive view of the world comes into focus, people like Ray Comfort will disappear. We will not need to slice ourselves in two so as to preserve our myths in wholeness. I look forward to that sort of renewal.