Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Thu 30th Jul, 2009

The cost of beliefs

I was recently walking around the Australian National Botanic Gardens with friends when we discovered a sign that had been vandalised. References to geological times had been scratched out in a crude attempt to remove any reference to how long ago various features of the Australian continent were formed. My partner, who frequents the gardens, noted that the Creationists had vandalised the sign. It was certainly hard to refute - nothing else on the sign was touched, and the erasure was limited to those specific words, so there's little evidence for any other objective than obscuring the date ranges of geological periods.

I have a large amount of contempt for the vandal(s) that did this, and those that think that defacing public property is reasonable as long as it supports their own world-view. It costs the gardens about $1000 to replace that sign - that vandal has just asserted that their point of view is worth $1000 or more. And in the grand scheme of things it's hardly proving their point - they leave no other information or evidence to prove any contrary assertion. So really this is just a childish attempt to stop someone else from being heard by shouting louder.

Yet this is not done by a child - the scratching is fairly precise and it's too high for a child to reach. So some adult has thought that it's perfectly valid to deface public property to keep their own little world-view intact. The same adult would presumably be outraged if their church was defaced; so why is their defacement OK?

The thing that really annoys me is that it's not even a scientific debate. There's only one type of person who does this - people who believe that a literal interpretation of their own holy book is absolutely right and no amount of scientific evidence can show differently. They're so prepared to ignore scientific evidence they'll try to remove any sign of it. These people fiddle with scientific procedures to prove their own conclusions - they put their hand on the scale when weighing the evidence. Science and logic has always tried to reason out its arguments based on common ground that we all agree on. This person hasn't even tried to be reasonable.

Why do we keep being reasonable with them?

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