Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Reinforcement of Belief

This extraordinary Fox News clip (well, it's hardly extraordinary in the sense that it's typical) demonstrates how the news organization is not interested in the pursuit of knowledge, but in the reinforcement of belief. The priest interviewed unreels so many unchallenged fallacies, it's mind-bending, and when he speaks of the "the intricacy of a human eye" (revealing his tremendous ignorance of evolution, since Darwin himself expected and countered this very argument in The Origin of the Species in 1859) the hosts nod appreciatively, one of them adding "that whole miracle of pregnancy," ironically unaware of the reams of evidence for evolution that pregnancy offers.

It's important to note, too, that the priest dismisses Dawkins and others as straying from their respective fields, then continues by offering his limited understanding of human biology and evolution as evidence for a Creator. It he truly sought knowledge, he could have found countless books, essays, and scientific documentaries detailing the evolution of the eye. To employ this argument reveals one of two things: either (1) a simple ignorance of the subject or (2) intellectual dishonesty. Of course, the latter is a distinct possibility, since many well-known pushers of Creationism have been confronted with the evidence which counters this argument (the eye's intricacy) repeatedly, yet many of them continue to employ the argument, safely assuming that the flock hasn't been exposed to its thorough rebuttal.

With this modus operandi in mind - employed by propagandists of every stripe, whether religious or political - and with this sort of ignorance on the loose, is it any wonder that 40% of Americans still think there was a link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11?

Related: Watch this excellent video on the evolution of the eye on YouTube.

Additionally, today, The New York Times posted an excellent series of articles about evolution and especially the relatively new field of evo-devo.

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