Over on ScienceBlogs, a new blog has started recently called Dean's Corner. Written by a Jeff Toney, a Dean of a college at Kean University. His most recent blog post was questioning the civility (and tone) of some of the ScienceBlogs bloggers and asking them to consider other words to use instead of "stupid" or "dumbass" when referring to someone who may not agree with their opinion. Yes, yes, calling people names is an ad hominem argument. There is a whole slew of atheist/agnostic religious apologists who implore the "Gnu Atheists" to be more civil so we can all just get along. The commenters kindly warned him to put on his asbestos underwear for the inevitable response.
Another recent addition to ScienceBlogs (I think he's been around for a year or so, but not very active) is Evolution for Everyone. His recent blog post is entitled, "What's Fair in Games, Sports, and Science" talks about how in Chess, once the king is taken, the game is over. In sports, once the final buzzer has sounded, the game is over. There is a clear winner and a clear loser. In Science, the king has fallen on Creationists many times over. The final buzzer has sounded on all their tired old arguments again and again. Game over. Yet, the keep coming back for more, such as Josh Brecheen of the Oklahoma legislature that makes no bones about wanting to bring Creationism into the science classroom as an equal to the teaching of evolution. Sorry. Game over. Take your ball and go home.
It is increasingly difficult to remain civil when your opposition are zombies. Dead arguments raised again and again to waste more and more taxpayer dollars in lawsuits that have already been tried. Game over. Dover vs. Kitzmiller took care of that for us 5 years ago with several others before that. The Discovery Institute, a creationist think tank, has been promoting the idea of Intelligent Design for many years. Intelligent Design theory is nothing more than Creationism with the word "God" removed from the argument so it doesn't sound so religious. They argue, and will continue to argue, that Intelligent Design is a sound scientific theory to challenge evolution. In order to be considered a valid scientific theory, once must put forth some hypotheses that are testable. They must test them, and report on them through the process known as peer reviewed research. There is not one single testable hypothesis that has yet emerged from Intelligent Design. Their only method of attacking evolution is to attack science itself. Again, with zombie like arguments that have been dismissed through scientific rigor again and again. Take your ball and go home.
But they don't. I'm relegated to using a quote from Road House.
We are way past the time to be nice.
Now, you would think that all the Jesus loving Christians out there would be nice. Not so much.
Dawkins, you and your atheist friends cannot win. America WILL become a Christian Republic even if we have to write a whole new constitution. Millions of us are dedicated to this righteous cause. We will suceed. And then we will invade godless countries like "Great" Britain and kill all of your heathens. First we need to take care of things at home and in the Middle East but we will get around to Europe. You Godless freaks will die but then you will roast in hell for infinite time. Goodbye you loser.Or,
I hope you die slowly and you fucking burn in hell! You dammedand,
blasfemy!!! Right now you are rotting on the inside... But you must
now (sic) that there is indeed a God! A great god! And he will forgive you if you regret from your fucking behavior. And you should realise thatyour entire life has been a delusion...and that right now your destiny is all fucked up! Fucking atheist!!!!!!!!!!!
haha, you fucking dumbass, I hope you get hit by a Church van tonight and you die slowlyThose are real letters sent to Richard Dawkins. Christians are so nice and civil aren't they?
PZ Myers will often post emails on his blog with a thoughtful running commentary on them such as this one.
So tone and civility is an issue on both sides. Human nature will dictate that we will get upset if continuously pushed. At what point are we allowed to push back? I can assure you that every single one of the tired creationist arguments has been and will continue to be shot down time and time again with lucid, reasoned, and civil responses. They just aren't listening anymore. So some will continue down the civil path and other will advocate a more in your face approach. Which one ultimately prevails? I don't think we will know in my lifetime, but the civil method has been tried with little success since the publishing of Darwin's Origin of the Species. Maybe a change in tactic is needed.