Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

PZ Myers is Made of Win

Elles, author of the blog Splendid Elles, wrote this about the PZ Myers presentation we hosted recently, so I though I would share.

“So, after the Metro-State Atheists went through much stress and annoying bureaucracy stuff involving the student government, I got to see PZ Myers give an epic speech that was made of win!

After having heard the majority of my non-science teachers pussyfoot around having to say the “E word”, it was refreshing hearing somebody say that we shouldn’t avoid talking about evolution just because the creationist “has a big rock”.

Most refreshing was hearing somebody say that science and religion are in fact competing worldviews. One relies on faith, while the other asks for evidence. Now, that doesn’t mean that people can’t be compartmentalized and use faith in one situation to make them feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and science when they end up in an emergency room, but they’re really not the same.

PZ gave a very good summary of the present state of science education in our country, loaded with all those juicy statistics and stuff. He also pointed out that a certain vice-presidential candidate is a creationist and thinks that creation should be taught along-side evolution.

He then divulged his evil plan for when he becomes Emperor of the world by showing us a clip from Expelled with him saying that he wanted religion to become like knitting. But of course, after saying that quote a bunch of knitters (including myself… er… not really… I’ve knitted a few scarves and stuff) because upset that he had vilely compared their hobby to religion so he made a new analogy (and I will paraphrase and plausibly severely misquote him here)

I want religion to become like masturbation. Something that everybody does, doesn’t talk about it that much, doesn’t affect their lives… but it feels good and it doesn’t harm anybody…

I don’t want it to become a deciding factor for president of the United States though.

He then talked about the whole cracker incident and shared a few of the e-mails he had gotten from it, and as entertaining as it was to hear him tell the tale in person, I frankly felt he spent more time on it than he needed to… and I don’t think he tied it in to the talk very well. Actually, I still have no idea how it related to science education. I loved listening to it and all but…

Sorry, PZ. You’re still made of win. Just a touch of constructive criticism…

He ended with a quote from Lawrence Krauss…

I wonder which is more important: using the contrast between science and religion to teach about science or trying to put religion in its place?

He said “why can’t we do both?” And I agree. The better a person understands the scientific method, I’ll bet the more likely they are to apply it to everything.

Education needs to be about freethought. It needs to be about teaching kids skepticism and not telling them “apply this to everything! But not your religion.” We can’t make conclusions for them, but we can give them the freedom and the tools to get to their own conclusions… if they choose to use them.

So, in conclusion, when PZ becomes emperor of the world it’s not going to be that bad of a place. If you don’t like cephalopods, though…

Anyway, still a pretty awesome talk.”

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October 2, 2008 - Posted by | Lecture, splendid elles | , , , , , , , , ,

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