You’re an Idiot if You Don’t Believe What I Believe

Did you hear about the live debate that happened recently between Bill Nye, The Science Guy and Ken Ham, founder of The Creation Museum? I watched with my children, and we found it very interesting and learned some fascinating facts from both debaters.

But apparently, hearing ideas in opposition to their own beliefs makes some people feel the need to insult those with opposing views.

This played out in internet articles, news reviews of the debate, and in my Facebook news feed.

Over and over, I saw the words “ignorant,” “illiterate,” and “idiot” pertaining to those with opposing views.

I would like to address those insults one at a time.

Ignorant – lacking knowledge or awareness in general

The bottom line on this criticism is that all of us are ignorant as to how exactly life began on earth. As in, none of us, not even the most brilliant scientist, has been able to replicate this event.

Never mind creating life in a human being. How about creating a living chicken? Or creating a living lady bug? A living amoeba?

Nope. It has never been done because all of us are ignorant in this area.

Illiterate – unable to read or write

I saw this word being thrown around in a quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist who speaks openly about his belief that “intelligent design is stupid.”

Mr. Tyson spoke of “scientifically illiterate adults” being a “problem” for our country. I assume he is referring to those who believe in intelligent design, since he seems passionate about his views on that.

The thing is, there are quite a lot of scientists with long lists of credentials and accomplishments who do believe in intelligent design.

Take Professor Stuart Burgess, for example. He has a PhD in engineering and was the head of the department of mechanical engineering at Bristol University in UK from 2004-2011.

I wouldn’t call him “illiterate” as it seems he has been able to read and write quite well, even reading and writing papers of scientific importance.

Then there is Dr. Raymond V. Damadian, who invented a little thing called the MRI. Dr. Damadian is a believer in intelligent design, and he was also able to read and write his way into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Dr. Damadian

(photo credit)

How about Jennifer Wiseman? She is a believer in intelligent design, and also Senior Project Scientist for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and past Chief of the Laboratory for Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. I bet she can even read and write.

In fact, there is a long list of scientists who are creationists who are far from illiterate.

Idiot – a stupid person

Ah. Now we have come to the old eighth grade standby of making ourselves feel better by insulting someone else. I don’t really have a response to this criticism, except maybe to say “Yo mama.”

Honestly, I believe I am right in my belief, otherwise I would believe something else that I thought was right-er. But, I also respect my friends who have a different belief because I feel sure they have thoughtfully considered their positions, just as I have.

I even suspect that one day I will be seeing some of my friends in heaven who have opposing views to mine. Now, won’t you be embarrassed to have to spend eternity looking me in the eye if you have called me an idiot?

I really like how my friend Leslie, from Interactive Biology, handled opposing views – that is with respect.

Can’t we hold onto our beliefs and still respect those with different beliefs?

Not if we are calling them insulting names, we can’t.

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Comments

  1. I get what you were trying to say with this article. But with the title and it even showing up that way in my email inbox, you appear to fall into doing the same thing that you are complaining about. There had to be a better way to title this instead of saying that if we don’t agree with you we are idiots. Quotes or attribution or something other than reading in big letters in my own inbox that if I don’t agree with you I am idiot. Frankly, no one wants to be told that. While it takes a lot to offend me; seeing that truly bothered me.

    The fact that I believe we shouldn’t be insulting anyone, regardless of belief or opinion and generally agree with you, doesn’t take the sting away that I would somehow be lacking or in the wrong if I didn’t.

    • Rebecca, I think you totally misunderstood the fact that the title represents the attitude of those who were writing to her or writing articles in response to the debate.

      • Oh no, i totally got it and, like I said, I agree with what she said. I merely didn’t like opening my email to seeing the title. Maybe I am extra touchy today; I don’t know, but seeing the title that if I don’t agree with her (because that’s what the title said with no source to what it referenced) I am an idiot. The title of her post is out of context per se, because it doesn’t reference a source, so it just looks like the same thing the offenders did… call people names for disagreeing with them.

    • Rebecca, I think you and Connie are saying the same thing. When I saw the title in my inbox, it intrigued me, since I knew that Connie didn’t mean it literally – just as irony to get a point across.
      Hope your day got better from here! :-)

    • I’m sorry for the offense, Rebecca. I meant the title to show the impact of insulting names.

  2. Calling someone scientifically illiterate is different than calling them illiterate. I will not say that the examples you gave are scientifically illiterate, but I do wish you would address the insult as it was given. If I say one is financially illiterate, it says nothing of their reading ability, same with scientifically illiterate. Yes, I do wish people when debating issues would stick to the issues and not name call. As I did not watch the debate, I will leave it at that.

    • That is a valid point!
      But that aside Connie, I agree wholeheartedly with what you’re saying, and I appreciate your respectful approach to the matter.

  3. I was personally offended by some of the arrogance that Bill Nye exhibited, in regard to we creationists, or as he called us “the other side”. However, I’m not surprised at all by all the things you’ve mentioned in this post. It’s been my experience that liberal thinkers tend to get very personal when you disagree with them. They will resort to name calling, picking apart your beliefs and insulting whatever you feel passionate about. They shout “tolerance” from the roof tops, but when it comes down to those of us who disagree with them, they resort to backstreet name calling. I suspect they’ll even start in on me, once I hit “post comment” here. It’s their way of doing business and I’ve come to expect it. So, unfortunately, if any evolutionist/scientist did have anything to offer that sounded half way intelligent, I wouldn’t take him seriously if he backed it up with arrogance. Just not going to happen. And, by the way….I totally get your title.

    • Amen! Well said!

    • Some belittle but that happens no matter what someone’s views are. But considering how Mr. Ham did not stay on topic, shared information that has been repeatedly shown to be incorrect. Mr. Nye was incredibly kind in the way he delivered the information science has to offer. Being told what you are saying is wrong is not insulting.

  4. I haven’t seen these insults thrown around, though I’m sure they are out there. What I have seen from the debates is that Ken Ham’s theory about origins is a religious theory rather than a scientific one, no matter what he might think, as it is not only not formed by evidence, but no amount of evidence could disprove it in his mind. In contrast, Nye is willing to be disproved by evidence. I do think passing that basic test is a good indicator of scientific literacy.

  5. One of the 13 rules, in “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals” by Saul Alinsky is: #5. Ridicule is a mans most potent weapon.

    And, I believe that “The first step to Wisdom is to call a thing by its name.”
    So, while watching TV, reading the news, listening to radio, I play: Name Their Tactic.

    How to Play:
    Every time you see one of the following Radical Rules used by an individual, a group or a media source, Name Their Tactic! Post something like: Ahhh! You are using Radical Rule #5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

    Goals: Use the truth to expose them. Educate other readers about the Radical Rules and tactics. Lessen the impact of the haters.

    And, then I got this random Bible verse:
    “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Luke 6:27-28.
    So, while using truth to expose the hate, I will pray for them. While educating people about the tactics of the Progressive Left, I will love them. While lessening the impact of the Left, I will bless them.

  6. I, like Skirnir, wish that you would have addressed scientific illiteracy instead of just glossing over the scientific part of that and addressing basic literacy. I’ll leave it to Google or Wikipedia to point you out the difference. :) They are two very different things and your point on it rather felt mocking to me.

    • I do realize the distinction. That’s why I included references to several scientists who are creationists who have written scientific works and even contributed scientific inventions. That would indicate they are scientifically literate.

  7. Don’t you just love when people post, but don’t truly read what you wrote?
    Love it, in fact you said something I have often said to my kids, it made me read your article out loud to them:D
    The part about Honestly I believe I am right or I would believe something else:D

    I do wish more debates happen using scientific information in favor of intelligent design. The examples I use with my children are these:
    when scientists date things to be over 5,000 years old they tend to use of of two methods, carbon dating(which is not accurate for things this old) and layers of soil/rock, also proven to not be reliable especially for periods this old. Do not tell me how old our planet and solor system when you know your dating methods are flawed.
    The next example is more basic the bee and platypus. Scientist are still baffled, but God had a plan.
    Last scientist’s have been embarrassed by calling things long extinct only to have it shown that they are still around. Coelacanth anyone?

    I personally have come to the conclusion that it is really about a bid for power. Scientists who don’t have faith want worldly power, and/or their names remembered thru time, that is a type of power as well.

  8. Heather B. says:

    I really wish everyone in both sides would practice what they preach. Liberals preaching tolerance should be kinder to those with different beliefs. Those who claim to believe should be living with the tolerance of Jesus. I think both sides need to brush up on their politeness and staying on topic skills.

  9. Hi! Coming in a little late in this discussion…I had a hard time watching the debate because when my kids were little we watched “Bill Nye the Science Guy” on PBS and really enjoyed it. So I’ve been saddened by his attitude toward Creationists, and how he’s so vocal of what he thinks of people who believe in Intelligent Design. There’s no arguing he’s smart. I did, however, thoroughly enjoy hearing Ken Ham present the Gospel in his answers. To some he may have appeared to not be “debating” the issue, but I heard him clearly give the message of Jesus Christ coming to Earth, sent by God the Creator, to save all who believe! People who were watching to see what Bill Nye had to say heard the Gospel!! Some seeds were planted! Who won the debate? That’s not what I think is as important as what was said at the debate…

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