Further to “Debate!: Tree of life? Forest of life? What about matchwood?,” legacy mainstream media are offering their usual sock puppet theatre beside the actual issues* in the Nelson Velasco debate on the supposed Tree of Life.
That said, the local paper reports an interesting comment from a local U prof:
But Dr. Martin Rice of Pitt-Johnstown says ideas on intelligent design and creationism are worth hearing.
Anyone who thinks otherwise is a Nazi, he adds.
“I believe in free discourse and inquiry,” says Rice, who teaches philosophy, philosophy of science, logic and philosophy of mathematics.
“Even though I don’t agree with him, I think his views should be aired. People should have the chance to question him, and he should have the chance to explore and question his competition. Anything else is fascism.”
That may sound a little extreme but if you read the Our Town story, it quickly becomes clear that many don’t think Nelson’s perspective should be heard in scholarly circles at all.
Playing to a crowd educated by the likes of Our Town, his opponent Velasco explains,
“I would like to say that in principle, any topic can have a place in scholarly debate,” he says. “But this does not mean that all questions are or should be actively debated by scholars. It is impossible to separate the scholarly activity within science from the political and social ramifications of the practice and interpretation of science. The common ancestry of living things is extremely well-supported by the evidence and explains a number of different kinds of facts about the diversity and distribution of life on this planet.”
The critical difference in this case, Velasco says, is that the debate is not technically “scholarly.”
So if Nelson presents the kind of evidence you can read for yourself in the journals and is covered here at UD, about why the Tree of Life is matchwood, and undermines Velasco’s position, it doesn’t really count. And Velasco will help see to it that the debate never takes place in a venue where it did count.
It’s hilarious listening to rants in legacy media about how supposed creationism in voucher schools contributes to low science rankings. What contributes to low science rankings is precisely the stupidification on display here.
The first step toward reality is to realize that almost anything we hear from Our Town will be aimed at defending a deteriorating status quo, on which it itself depends. The Tree of Life (which Our Town didn’t even want to tell its readers is the real topic of discussion – even though the image it ran (above left) makes that clear – is indeed now matchwood. Shouting otherwise impresses the low information readers — increasingly the ones they are left with.
The topic of the debate should have been: Where do we go from here? Not “Is the thing dead?”
– O’Leary for News
Note: Here’s the link for the live stream of the debate.
*For these reasons, they cannot afford to examine real issues seriously any more.
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