My meeting with a creationist - an anecdote.

I think I discovered a creationist the other day.

I was busy copying something and an acquaintance of mine approached the copier with her documents and we started chatting while I copied my pages. The conversation turned to evolutionary psychology, as it does, and I recounted an incident that took place during my first year at university. The lecturer had asked the class what evolution was and a kid replied "it says we came from monkeys" and the lecturer replied "that's right!"* I looked at her with incredulity, expecting her to gasp and splutter like I did when I witnessed this event. Instead, she responded "I don't believe in that stuff."

What did that mean? Suspecting that she meant she didn't believe in evolution, I launched into nervous chatter, trying to prevent myself from going all Charles Babbage on her (he's the guy who once famously responded to a stupid question with this gem: "I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question"). I told her that I was very interested in the theory of evolution and that the concept is really quite simple to grasp. She asked me, and I'm paraphrasing now, "so is it a fact? Do we know that evolution is true?"

Well now. I tried to remain calm, since we were in a library. I told her that the theory of evolution is one of the most robust sciences and on par with the germ theory of disease and the theory of gravitation as far as acceptance is concerned. I provided her with an example of how we can witness evolution happening right here in Africa at this very moment, with the shortening of elephant tusks. She seemed interested and asked me why elephant tusks were becoming shorter, so I briefly explained that due to poachers killing the elephants with the longest tusks, the African elephants now have a gene pool containing fewer genes for long tusks, resulting in recent generations sporting significantly shorter tusks. She agreed that it was rather interesting and I, nearing the end of my copying, hurriedly told her that here, in this very library, there is a book by Jerry Coyne entitled "Evolution is True" and she really ought to get it, but I don't think she will.

They so rarely do.


* To be fair to the lecturer and my university education, the course was on the history of psychology and the section on Darwin's theory of evolution and how it affected psychology was only a paragraph in the textbook. The lecturer chuckled when she said "that's right" and I suspect that she just couldn't be bothered to get into it, since it wasn't significant in that particular course. I hope.

Views: 7

Tags: conversation, creationism, evolution

Comment by Dave G on September 24, 2009 at 11:15am
My compliments on restraining yourself from delivering a speech on the differences between fact, hypothesis, theory, and law, as they are used in scientific arenas.
Comment by Prazzie on September 24, 2009 at 11:54am
She just wasn't ready, Dave G!

In retrospect, I think she is one of the lucky ones who simply never investigated the matter, who grew up with "God did it" and just never bothered to find out more. The unlucky ones are the ones who did investigate and ended up trusting Kent Hovind and are now ignorant by choice.
Comment by Dave G on September 24, 2009 at 12:59pm
Yeah, willful ignorance is far more of a tragedy than incidental ignorance.
Comment by Reggie on September 24, 2009 at 8:07pm
She just wasn't ready, Dave G!

Way to recognize that, too!
Comment by a7 on October 28, 2009 at 9:58pm
ffs man, grab the brainwashed fucker by the hair, drag him/her doen to the group with a swift pulling down of said head, who's hair is in your hands and start kicking hard on the head.


keep safe.
]
george

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