Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Ignorant and proud of it - Trevor Zwingli opines on the rejection of science.

Source: Western Morning News

We are all used to reading the insane rantings of north American theist's proclamations on wilful ignorance, but it still shocks me when I see evidence of it here in my backyard of the 'Old Country'

Our anonymous writer (he has now revealed his identity as Trevor Zwingli of the Tremough Catholics) appears to be rather bored of learning and understanding the world we live in. Here, for you all to enjoy, is the article in full, complete with my responses. I urge you to comment yourself.

In a forlorn attempt to improve my education, a friend regularly pops round with a pile of back copies of a magazine called New Scientist. They invariably have clever and colourful covers asking things like "Is Time Travel Possible?", "Can we Build a Brontosaurus?" or "Will Man Live Forever?"
Sadly, the answer to all these questions is always an emphatic NO. Sadder still, to reach this conclusion you have to wade through pages of gobbledegook understandable only by the sort of chap who wears sandals and socks and still lives with his mother.
However, it's good to know that people who have difficulty forming relationships have somewhere cosy to discuss quarks, neutrinos and the Higgs Boson Particle. After all, you never see them down the pub.
But this indulgence is rapidly turning to horror as you notice how fascination with the arcane is seeping out from publications like New Scientist into the media as a whole. Coverage of such things as the arts and history – even light entertainment – has been replaced with matters scientific.
Comedy panel shows all must now have a technological bent and every time someone notices something odd happening with a sandwich in the canteen of the Cern large hadron collider it dominates headlines. The schedules are packed and it will be only a matter of time before peak viewing is dominated by Kirstie Allsopp splitting the atom in a folksy, accessible way.
All through, the message comes across clear as "Hey! isn't science interesting? Isn't it fun?" to which the answer again is an definite "No!"
Riding the crest of this assumed wave of interest is a simpering weed called Prof. Brian Cox who obviously took his chair as a result of research into zit cream and having a whining northern accent. He is science's answer to gardening's Alan Titchmarsh and once he has appeared in front of the cameras he is presumably sucked back into the same oily tube from which he was squeezed. On his very debut he joined the Ron Bendell "Don't you want to hit him in the face with a shovel?" hall of fame.
As BBC budgets are trimmed – entailing vast cuts to local radio, regional TV and the rest – Cox is always there, delivering a piece to camera outside an observatory in Chile spouting on about his interest in black holes and the wonders of delving into dark matter.
His preoccupation – and that of the legion of cohorts dragged out from the bowels of laboratories across the world to back him up – always seems to be the origins of us all, the Big Bang and how little gizmos flying around the cosmos affect you, me and the fundamentals of creation.
Once, of course, these things were all left to theologians although that's terribly non-PC these days. Now, exponents of the new beliefs are free to ponder the imponderable and come up with the explanation of life, the universe and everything.
But what, I wonder throughout, has any of this got to do with the price of fish? Yes, bearded men looking at screens may have tracked down the tiny neutrons that enabled the formation of the Crab Nebula but how should that alter my life? Does that knowledge help any of us, at any time, drag ourselves through the day?
All of it, as archbishops, popes and ayatollahs before have found, is irrelevant tosh and does nothing to make the world a better place.
Good science must surely lead to practical good rather that highfalutin conjecture. Do new thoughts about the origins of the Solar System help us provide sewage systems that could save thousands in the slums of India? Do theories about the first few seconds after the creation save millions from malaria?
We already have all the understanding of the basics we need to make a happier, comfier world but instead billions are spent on meaningless research while millions starve – and folk shiver in front of gas fires they can't afford to switch on while their licence fees are spent sending Prof Cox to sit in front of yet another radio telescope. But clearly the nerds have taken over. Our tiny bit of spare cash goes to the new elite and our tiny bit of leisure time is filled by the same people telling us how fascinating it all is. New Scientist should be placed on the top shelf along with other publications of interest to people who need to get a life.

It is, indeed, a terrible thing to read this anonymous tirade of admitted ignorance and lack of education lecture us on the worthlessness of science as a constructive area of endeavour. Were it not for science he/she may not be afforded the computer upon which this ill-conceived diatribe could be formed, nor would they have anyone to share it with. Perhaps they should reject this obvious waste of time and effort and stick to opining these hackneyed arguments and ad hominems from the pulpit, where ignorance and the rejection of reality is more in tandem with the tone of this article.

I don't know which pub the writer frequents, but I bet they are considered the most frightful and boorish of characters. My pub friends would welcome the opportunity to highlight the ignorance, logical fallacies and over-arching arrogance of credulity espoused here.

These issues were once left to theologians, which is the exact reason why modern science became necessary in the first place; concepts of some abstract deity not explaining anything about the nature of reality. But if the writer here is happy in his ignorance, then let him/her stay that way and politely shut the hell up on matters that do not interest  or apparently concern them.

Science is all about scepticism, but this scepticism drives our understanding of our environments to new levels. What we have presented to us here is nothing of the sort. It is nothing more than a call to embrace stupidity and leave everything in the hands of an indifferent, cowardly and capricious God.

You don't like science or progress? Become Amish.


The author has made himself known.

It is actually mine, I am sorry that the arguments were too subversive for some of you...
Trevor ZwingliTreasurer,Tremough Catholics


What arguments? You didn't provide any. This article is an ignorant whine at your own inadequacy, and a bawl at those that are clearly and admittedly your intellectual superiors.

Look, if you are not interested in science, that is fine. You are in good company. Watch C-listers on ice or something. But deriding the entire scientific process and its practitioners in ignorance of it, merely makes you look like a wilful imbecile. If that were not enough, you encourage others to adopt your ignorance, because you are incapable of understanding it.

Surely your article would have been better received if you had called on people to embrace science, so that people like you don't have to concern yourself with it.

As it stands, it is a disgraceful affront to the intellect of those that have dedicated their lives to making your life better, and you are now the poster boy of Cornish anti-science stupidity. If that was your goal, consider it a masterpiece.

We Cornish have a bad enough reputation towards being Luddites, you do us all a disservice, sir.

I was taking a swipe at popular science, all of you who serve as earnest and willing mouthpieces for Dawkins, the emperor of Free Thought and all that is Rational and Good.
Worship your false idols, but don't expect me and my kind to pick up the rubble from your moral wasteland.


Haha. You are an absolute scream. You'll be quoting Psalms 14:1 at me next.

As you have clearly drifted away from the subject of science, allow me to approach your non-sequitur response. 

I am not a mouthpiece for Dawkins, and I actually think he is a bit if a t-i-t sometimes. If he is an 'emperor of free thought', it is the likes of you that anoint him thus, and not we in the sceptic community. Oh what idols you create to infuriate your God.

I am an unabashed atheist, inasmuch as I see no credible evidence or reason for the existence of any form of deity, as such, I do not 'worship' anything. This is a 'virtue' confined to the theist.

To reduce all this to some perceived 'moral wasteland', is a non-sequitur the likes of which I rarely see - despite being active on the atheism/theism debate in that hotbed of pious stupidity, America - and says a lot more about your laying waste to matter's moral than do mine.

by Yellowscarf 
“The A-Bomb was progress. Yes, not all progress is good, but mistakes exist to be learned from. 
However, it seems that you will not learn, since the tenor of this piece seems to suggest that anything new is bad, and the status quo with all it's flaws must be preserved. I realise that is not exactly what you had in mind, but you certainly present yourself as a closeminded bufoon.
Seeking to gain knowledge entirely for it's own sake doesn't seem like a particularly bad idea to me, since inspiration and enlightenment are found in the oddest of places. Looking into something that seems unrelated may give unexpected bounty - Does god not move in mysterious ways, and help those who help themselves?
On a historical note, it is amusing to see you continuing the punishment of Galileo, many years after the fact. Good job with the consistency there.
And as a side note, go and read the gospel of St Barnabus. It's a wonderfull read, I think you'l find it quite interesting.”

by trevorzwingli
“Just you lot wait 'til God hears about all this...
Your blood will be our wine!
Tremough Catholics”

by Yellowscarf
“You sound nicely pagan with that sort of one-liner. Keep it up, there's hope for you yet!”

by trevorzwingli
“Someone (and i'm looking at you Yellowscarf) is gonna get transubstantiated if they're not careful! 
Physicists keep looking for a god particle to give em' mass, they should just visit the church and one of our boys will give it to them without all the effort and expense.
Tremough Catholics”


Do you even know what transubstantiation is?

It is the literal turning of wine and the wafer into the blood and body of Christ.

Surely you are not suggesting that Yellowscarf will be deified as the new incarnation of your messiah?

Personally, I find vampyrism and cannibalism somewhat distasteful. Not so you pious Catholics, eh?

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