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Oct 28 2011 Published by under [Science in Society]

I am a little unmotivated today, given the late but favorable outcome of last night's World Series Game 6 (Go Cardinals!). As I read stuff in emails and my feeds, I got directed to a couple of postings over at Free Thought Blogs by Jen McCreight.Once again, a young woman has been told to shut up so she does not offend anyone.

I clicked through to read the edited version of the original "offensive" post, which I found completely inoffensive. Of course, being a liberal scientist-type woman whose life has been spent mostly in the bible belt, I found much to identify with and appreciate. I particularly liked this bit, when someone felt that Jen should not be shocked that biology majors may not accept evolution:

We don’t give chemistry degrees to people who believe in alchemy. We don’t give aerospace engineering degrees 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.

Of course, the side-splitting part of the whole endeavor occurred when I scrolled down toward the comments. Google Ads helpfully placed this at the bottom of the post:

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3 responses so far

  • Katharine says:

    Unfortunately the distinction is that the bit about some biologists being creobots is a direct result of the fact that said creobots are steeped in the A-bomb-grade crazy that is religion.

  • Girlpostdoc says:

    At a conference this summer I encountered this attitude from some very Christian biologists. I think the term "Christian biologist" is an oxymoron.

  • Dan says:

    I think it is instructive how many top debate teams hail from very conservative colleges. Debating requires that you be able to win an argument without regard to your own belief on the matter.

    Similarly, someone could privately believe that CIA-controlled fairies keep planes aloft and yet still successfully get a masters in aerospace engineering by giving the "socially accepted" answers.

    When it is about the science, education is on safe ground. In the linked article, "The fact that so many people didn’t share my fascination with evolutionary theory troubled me on a personal level." That's something beyond wanting to educate, and if I was evaluating proposals this would make me more likely to fund someone else: where either the science itself was the goal, or the desire to educate came from a place of affiliation rather than alienation.

    For the record, I am a Christian, a scientist, and an acceptor of evolution and the big bang.

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