I’ve written before about why so many people don’t believe in evolution: basically, obscure scientific truths aren’t as important to most people’s lives as their social contacts and political groupings. In a society where the political divide largely pits the faithful against the profane, it would be insane for anyone not directly involved in the scientific process to value evolutionary theory over, you know, not getting screwed by a government controlled by your enemies.
So, simple self-interest strongly favors rejecting evolution when your political enemies use it as a battle standard. The actual facts don’t matter! When I saw the title of this blog post by popular evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne (“You can’t get Americans to accept evolution by giving them the facts”) I was excited that he might have come up with a similar notion. I mean, the evolution of disbelief in evolution, what an obvious thing, right?
Then I read Coyne’s post, and, masochistically, a few other posts on his blog. By the time I was done, I was almost persuaded to stop accepting evolution myself (good job, dude). Fortunately, I came to my senses, but I did realize that there might be another motivation, maybe even stronger than self-interest, for rejecting evolution.
You see, there’s a real, deep-down satisfaction that some of us get from mocking self-righteous twats and making them angry. There’s just something about the sanctimonious Good Guy club that makes me want to kick people in the balls and do anything I can do to spite them and make them miserable. And dear gods, the academic left has sanctimony to spare.
My favorite part of the post is the bit where we hear about how religion kills kids because of “faith-based medicine” and how, if we could just kill off religion, people would figure out how awesome abortions and homosexuality are. Seriously, an evolutionary biologist stated this. How do these guys not see the hilarity of this position? How do they not understand that they’re just as guilty of turning evolution into a political football as the nutballs that believe the earth is 10,000 years old?
Whatever, Coyne is a solid scientist, and nothing I say here about his positions on religion should be construed as disrespectful of his contributions to the field. Unlike Dawkins, he’s done actual science in the 21st century. He’d probably be able to do a lot more if he quit obsessing about religion. But, like Dawkins, he probably gets so much positive feedback from the choir of online left wing atheistic sycophants that he literally has no idea how much damage this passive aggressive, self-satisfied bullshit does to the acceptance of evolutionary biology by the American public.