Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Michael Shoesmith - Need I say more?

Michael Shoesmith (formerly known as "The Internet Pastor") has written another letter to the editor of the local newspaper (The Sarnia Observer).  The main point of the message, it seemed, was about parents being aware of what their children are doing on-line.  Wow, I thought, something sensible from possibly the least sensible person I know.

Sadly, that wasn't really all he had to say.  He suggested that TV is really really bad and should be removed from homes with children and that letting your child use the Internet unsupervised is like knowingly leaving your child with a serial child molester.

Near the end of the article, however, he states the following:
Finally, while modern scientific enlightenment has come a long way to make our lives easier and more exciting, the term "science" has been hijacked by agenda-driven atheistic groups and Darwinian evolution plays a large role in promoting the attitudes of these groups. Evolution has become a religious tenet in the main stream scientific community, even though real science is happily performed without it.
Parents must realize that there is a battle going on for the hearts and minds of their young ones. Neither you nor your children are animals. Real science makes no such claim. Intra-genus micro adaptation is an obvious reality, but gametic isolation restricts any extreme extra-genus variance and none has ever been observed. Remind your children that they are special, unique creations and there is a God in heaven who loves them.
Starting from the first paragraph, let me say that science has done more than make life "more exciting" - it has made our lives, on average, twice as long.  It has brought about some of the greatest and most awe inspiring discoveries of all time and it has (and continues to) provided us with a greater knowledge of the universe.  In turn, one could argue, it has removed the necessity for belief in sky-fairies.  The scientific method is self-correcting and, because of that, can't be hijacked.

The statistics tell us that the higher level of education a person has, the less likely they are to hold beliefs in a god.  They also show that an overwhelming percentage of scientists do not hold on to supernatural beliefs.  The agenda, if any, is to find the truth.  Science is about following the evidence and building comprehensive theories that successfully explain the evidence.  From there we are able to make valid predictions and, in turn, create new medicines, new technology and much more.  As a result we have been able to increase crop yields, decrease childhood mortality, extend life, generate electricity, improve quality of life - the list is almost endless.

Evolution is, in many ways, the central unifying theory of biology.  Without evolution, biologists can make little (no?) predictions and have little to explain life.  Without an understanding of evolution, little (if any) modern medicines would exist and germ theory doesn't make sense.  To suggest that "real science is happily performed without it" is ignorant (at best), but (more likely) blatantly misleading and false.

Michael - you, like all other humans, are an animal.  We are all animals and every living thing on this earth is related.  We share a common ancestor with apes, aardvarks and apples.  Simply wishing that were not the case does not change that fact.  Get over your self-importance. 

And, people, remind your children that they are special - imagine how many chance occurrences had to have taken place for them to have ever lived.  Billions of possible sperm, thousands of possible eggs - for each generation before them, billions of possible pairings of couples - and, in all that, the statistical improbability still resulted in them having the fortunate (and nearly improbable) ability to ever experience life.  That is pretty special.

As Richard Dawkins said in his 1998 book, Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder:
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.


Sherwoodskeptic said...

Mike managed to get several of his falacies printed in one letter. "Evolution is a religion...,"no such thing as macro-evolution"...,"we are not animals"... Maybe he'll stop writing for a while.
Would someone please let me in on what the "athiest agenda" is? No one has contacted me with any agenda, and I feel left out.

Anonymous said...

I knew you would have caught this one.
Michael is being used by the paper to give us all something to laugh at.
It is too bad that Michael's parents did know about birth control.

Anonymous said...

It is too bad Michael's parents DIDN'T know about birth control.
My mistake.