Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some Important Points

I can understand how some - or many, or most - people might be offended by the incivility of biologist and blogger, PZ Myers, an outspoken atheist, even if they share his basic beliefs (or, more accurately, lack thereof).
I'll admit it; he can be harsh and abrasive. I would deny, however, any claims that he's "just as bad" as the kinds of fundamentalist theists he rails against.
Personally, I'm not offended by anything he says, but then I'm not easily offended in general. (Not making a judgment about people who take offense more readily than I do, just stating for the record that I have a high tolerance for offense.)
All of that being said, there are some very important points raised in this post which I think need to be recognized, understood, and considered completely independently of how you may (or may not) feel about his attitude and his approach to blogging on issues he feels passionate about.
Some of the more noteworthy points:

The city of Jericho — it's in the Bible, look it up — is 11,000 years old.

People were manipulating the precursors to modern wheat, rice, barley, taro, and soy at least 9000 years ago; Sumerians had invented irrigation 7000 years ago; and Mesoamericans began to tweak teosinte by artificial selection about 6000 years ago. The crops we grow are the product of millennia of selection and cultivation, and show the marks of our ancient biotechnology.

A middle-aged woman in northern Israel died and was buried with her puppy dog…twelve thousand years ago. We know the first dogs with skeletal indications of domestication appeared over 30,000 years ago.

And finally...

Now the people who believe this unscientific nonsense claim to be "serious scientists." I don't think so. They haven't demonstrated that their superstitions are serious science at all; all they've shown is that some few people who are totally nuts can graduate with doctorates. Which is not a surprise, and is actually a far more parsimonious conclusion than their bizarre idea that all of physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, and biology are completely wrong.

There's a lot more information in the post itself. It's worth reading...even if you have a knee-jerk "Atheists bad!" reaction. Actually, I would say especially if that's a reaction you have.

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