McCreight left the following comment:
I would prefer that it was not reposted here in full. I'm working on re-writing it to leave out some of the details relating to my department, but containing the bulk of the message of my post.I've removed the majority of her original post, and the screencaps of it. I also removed a reference in my own text that may have been too specific, and made other edits for clarity.
Jen McCreight had to remove a blog post.
You may have noticed that I took down my previous post. Why? Because apparently it was being perceived as burning bridges with people in my department, which was not what I intended. I just thought it was a starting point for an important and relevant discussion about evolution education.Hrmph.The post is still in my Google Reader, and I think it's worth reading. Below is a portion of the original post. In response to some criticism she received that stemmed from her passion for evolutionary biology and the potential of sharing it as an educator, she made the following points.
1. Wanting people to adopt an evidence-based view of the universe is not dogmatic. In fact, it’s the very opposite of dogma. I want people to be able to change their minds when confronted with new evidence. Admitting you were wrong is one of the most intellectually honest things you can do. The only “dogmatic” thing about living in reality is that some things are true, and some things are not. You don’t get to flap your arms and start flying through the air just because you wish that was the way the universe works.
2. I don’t want people to “believe in evolution because that’s what I believe in.” I want people to accept evolution because there’s an insurmountable mountain of evidence supporting it. This isn’t a subjective opinion that’s up for debate. I’m not forcing people to think that chocolate ice cream with peanut butter swirls is the best flavor (though it totally is). To deny evolution is either based on ignorance or willful delusion. I know, what mean words. That doesn’t make them less true. Heaven forbid that being a science educator is important to me, and that I want to tackle the “ignorance” side of that equation.
3. Rejecting evolution is certainly a “terrible” attitude. Again, why should we pat people on the back for ignoring scientific facts?
4. We don’t give pilot’s licenses to people who think planes are held up by fairies. We don’t give geology degrees to people who think the Earth is made of chocolate pudding. But we have no problem giving biology degrees to people who think an invisible supernatural being created life, despite it having as much evidence as Puddingology. I should feel shocked that people who reject the fundamental concepts of their field can still successfully earn a degree.
5. I don’t think that everyone who rejects evolution is stupid. I do, however, think they are wrong. Those things are not equivalent. And when ignorance – the lack of information – is the cause of their rejection, that can be fixed. And should be fixed – but apparently it’s dogmatic to think people should be educated.
Why do I even need to have this discussion? Why, if I had proposed educating people about gravity or plate tectonics, would there have been no debate? Why would any other drive to educate be seen as positive, rather than dogmatic? Why are we expected to roll over and simply accept that some people are going to ignore the fact of evolution?
Because religion is protected in our culture. Telling someone they’re wrong is “dogmatic” if it’s contradicting their religious beliefs even if, you know, they’re wrong. Mincing words and avoiding hurt feelings is more important than education and reality.
Religion does not deserve this special status. We don’t have to tiptoe around, pretending the universe bends to their wishes when all of the evidence says otherwise.
The post is important, I think, because it shows the extent that evolution-denial and religious privilege has infected our culture. Showing the kind of enthusiasm she does for her field of study necessarily brings her in conflict with the religious beliefs of many, but acknowledging this fact drew some criticism from fellow scientists. But she can't really go into detail about the situation that led to the criticism without effecting her standing within the department. What a miserable situation.