Monday, September 8, 2008

Evolution Denial Close to Home

Friday evening my wife and I joined our regular group of friends for dinner. This a is pretty standard weekend arrangement for us. I try not to be very vocal about political issues, because I don't spend the time to be well informed on everything. One buddy of mine does tend to pay more attention than I do, and he usually is my polar opposite in view point. We hadn't talked since the RNC, so I wanted to get his take on the Sarah Palin speech. I expressed my opinion that she gave a good speech and seemed charismatic enough, but her stance on creationism, religion and abortion were troubling to me. All our friends are at least nominally Christian, so I qualified my objection to creationism as being required in science class. (People can believe creationism privately, but it isn't science.

This is where the stories gets good.

My buddy comes back with a response that included "the religion of Darwinism" and "absolutely no evidence for creationism or Darwinism" and "after 150 years there are no transitional fossils." I was halfway through a can of Joose, so my social filters weren't at their normally restrictive levels and I laughed out loud. This may not have been an appropriate response, though I'm still not sure if he was sincere or playing for a laugh. It was a perfect example of Poe's Law. In a matter of seconds he hit the three main bullet points of the uninformed evolution deniers. I'm used to seeing these kinds of comments shredded on various online discussions, but I was totally unprepared to encounter them in person. Sadly, I'm thinking that he was sincere and parroting the talking points of creationism. I must admit that is much easier than having to question and support your beliefs.

I was ready to stage an intervention right there, but I was out numbered. The conversation moved on to strollers and hardwood flooring. I'm not sure exactly what to do next, but I can't let him off the hook that easily. Maybe I should send him a link to the child theory of development. At least next time this comes up (and I think I'll make sure it does) I won't be shocked into laughter.

I think the best thing to do is to come to some sort of agreement with him. If he really is past being open to evidence, I won't try to discuss it with him. I'll have to move on to someone who has a hope of an open mind. Until then I'll keep hoping he is open to evidence.

Just as a matter of reference a few links:
Talk Origins Response
Whale Evolution
Hominid Fossils
Human Ancestry

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