Posted by: The Amoeba | February 18, 2009

More Evolutionary Squabbling

Awhile ago, I wrote about the sad tale of the professor and the student. The professor who taught evolutionary biology, and the professor’s student who became governor of Louisiana and signed an anti-evolution teaching bill into law. A law that, I read, passed with hardly a discouraging word from We the People of Louisiana’s elected representatives.

(Vox Dei, vox populi, I suppose. Or is it supposed to be the other way ’round?)

Because, as I and many others have written, and the scientists themselves have begun to realize, the debate between “creation” and “evolution” is data-proof. It has nothing to do with evidence, and everything to do with persuasion. The one who shouts loudest has the floor. Or the one with the heaviest ordnance.

Well, the lab mice are finally getting around to putting corks in their popguns.

The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB), a gathering of professional researchers and educators in the field of “organismal biology” (basically, Life on Earth, what it eats, and how it catches and digests it), has announced that it will not be doing Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 2011 after all. You simply can’t do comparative biology without a working theory of evolution, and the SICB, not surprisingly, doesn’t wish to lend support to anyone who would declare their modus operandi null and void by legislative, or evangelical, fiat. So, the SICB has dropped its plans to hold its annual meeting in Katrina City, and will now go to Salt Lake City instead – where the Masters of the Temple have obligingly written a missive that announces, in effect, “we’ll say anything you like about evolution if it means you’ll come here and let us take your money.”

Which, in these times, is no small thing. Or shouldn’t be.

Other scientific societies are rumored to be considering similar actions against Louisiana. Which, on the economic face of it, should not really be a big deal, since the total membership of a society like the SICB wouldn’t make for a profitable half hour at your local neighborhood Wal-Mart. In all probability, Bobby Jihad Jindal & Co. are counting on this fact to help them weather whatever storms the scientists may brew up.

But the SICB’s stance is getting press far above its stature in the world, coming as it is on the heels of the Darwin anniversary. Similar gumption on the part of the whole of the scientific community in America (which does have some numbers going for it) might just generate enough firepower to combat the forces of ignorance, and put We the People back on a profitable track.

There is a bright side to the Louisiana story. After all, the state has a Legislature that, in this instance at least, passed a controversial piece of legislation through with hardly a hiccup or filibuster.

Maybe the whole lot of them should get put on planes, trains and automobiles, and go to California to work on their state budget.

  O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2009 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions expressed are mine, as a private citizen.

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