Saturday, October 08, 2005

Thoughts on science

From Leonard Pitts, writing in the Miami Herald on Friday September 30th (no doubt already blogged and reblogged, but I'm kinda slow):
The Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist group. It was organized in 1865 for the purpose of controlling and oppressing newly freed slaves through intimidation, violence and murder.

Not many people will argue with that. Historians in particular will find the statement uncontroversial.

But 10 years ago in Vicksburg, Miss., I learned an alternate view. Vicksburg was an especially stubborn stronghold of Confederate sentiment during the Civil War -- refused to celebrate the Fourth of July again until 1944. Small wonder, then, that a museum there featured an exhibit claiming the Klan was actually formed to save the South from corrupt black governments and that, while ''many people suffered, some no doubt innocently,'' the night riders sought only to ``restore some semblance of decency.''

It's a lie, of course, but it's a lie some of us believe. So here's the question: When we teach schoolchildren about the Klan, must we give equal time to this view? Are we required to treat it as if it has the slightest credibility?

Or would that not be an affront to scholarship itself?

Read the rest here.

I'm thinking about this because of what's been going on in Kansas schools.

Pitts also says the following:I would argue that faith and science are in some ways more complementary than contradictory. But it's telling that where they do conflict, as in the question of human origin, it's always people of faith who beg for validation. I mean, when has any scientist ever sued for equal time in the pulpit? There is an unbecoming neediness about these constant schemes to dress religion up as science. Why are some people of faith so desperate for approval from a discipline they reject?

Pushy people who want to impose their view of the world on us...that's who those people of "faith" are.


Vicki Smith said...

I try to imagine what it must be like to feel compelled to push my perspective on other people in the way fundamentalists of all religions seem guilty.

What is it about this particular set of beliefs that makes adherents act this way?


Eri said...

I suppose it's like they think they're married and they think they're entitled to try to change their spouse...

bad analogy, bad, bad!