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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 [2]? 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." [3]

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 [4], 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 [5], 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 [5])

How about Jennifer Wiseman [6]? 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 [7] 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 [8].

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.