Josh, no offense intended because I think what you are doing could be very important, but I’m pretty turned off on this community right now. I spent the day relatively unplugged, helping with a professional development workshop on evolution for high school and medical school biology teachers in Alabama, who often don’t get good support in this area. It was so uplifting and energizing. We were talking about important and oft-misunderstood parts of evolution theory, cool and innovative teaching strategies and activities, bringing recent research into the discussion, covering the multiple lines of evidence… We had a geneticist, a paleoanthropologist, an animal behaviorist, a comparative anatomist, a molecular biologist… it was amazing. They learned a ton, I learned a ton, we all had fun and enjoyed camaraderie and solidarity around our passion for biology education.
And now I open my email and all of this… stuff… hits me like a smack in the face. It also helps me realize that my attempts to engage with opponents of evolutionary theory have brought out the worst in me and I won’t let them drag me down to their level of nastiness, insult-slinging, and worst of all, the debate is not even remotely scientific. At its best, it’s semantic, and it’s worst, it’s about trying to score cheap debate points with slick rhetoric. (which is not nearly as slick as they think it is.) How do you engage with people like @mung and @greg and others, whose only goal is to bring you down in the mud with them, and maintain your good mood and your enthusiastic love of science?
Having completely lost this debate within the actual scientific institutions and organizations, and anywhere where evidence rules, they take their argument to the street and try to convince the non-scientist public that working professional scientists don’t know science but their gang of pariahs do. Imagine being a complete amateur and seriously thinking that you know something better than someone who has spent their entire adult life professionally studying that thing! Ignorance + hubris makes for a nasty bunch and I don’t know how you put up with it.