I rarely disagree with Neil deGrasse Tyson, but I watched a video he did about Evolution and there was one area where we disagreed. What makes it even odder is that I agreed with the Creationists he opposed, and I almost never agree with them about anything.
Tyson’s point was that since there is so much more evidence for evolution, Creationists should not be given equal time. I totally agree that the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, but I would like to see the Creationists be given equal time. I don’t think that Science teachers should be forced to present both sides, though. The Science teacher should present the scientific evidence for evolution, and a Creationist should present whatever evidence they have for Creation. Then each side should be given time to rebut the other’s argument.
I feel the same about other disputed issues, such as the Holocaust and the Holocaust deniers, even though I know for a fact that the Nazis ran concentration camps. How do I know this? My father, a tank commander in WWII, helped liberate the prisoners in one of the camps. He, personally, shot the lock off the gate.
So, why do I think that the weak side of a disputed subject should be given equal time? I have three reasons. First of all, the side with the most supporters isn’t always right. Gallileo Galilee was alone against the Inquisition when he spoke about the Earth revolving around the sun, instead of vice versa. It turns out that he was absolutely right, but the lesser minds of his day condemned him for this thinking, because they had the power and greater numbers. Today, I, too, am in a great minority. Nine out of every ten people believe there is a Supreme Being who controls the universe. I don’t. If there was still an Inquisition, I would be declared a heretic. But might doesn’t necessarily make right, and I feel that my minority opinion is well-worthy of equal time in a discussion.
Secondly, I think that the best way to shut up dissenters is to give them a chance to state their case and face rebuttal. That is what science is really all about. Scientists come up with theories to explain things and then other scientists try to confirm those theories or prove them wrong in a never-ending struggle to get closer and closer to the truth. Nothing is automatically accepted as true just because somebody powerful says it. Isaac Newton was a brilliant physicist, who developed the Law of Gravity that explained everything from apples falling from trees to correctly predicting the orbit of planets and their moons around the Sun. Newton was a recognized genius in the field, but that didn’t stop Albert Einstein from announcing that there was really no such thing as a gravitational force. Instead, he wrote, what we call gravity, is actually a force caused by acceleration and the warping of the space-time continuum. Don’t ask me to explain that. I’m no Einstein. I’ll defer to a Neil deGrasse Tyson’s video on that subject.
It’s ironically funny that mostly everyone believes in gravity, which Einstein stated doesn’t actually exist, because there is a “Law of Gravity.” That law is just a way of mathematically calculating and accurately predicting results, not a proof that those results are caused by a force of gravity. Darwin’s evolution is challenged by Creationists and many others because it is a “theory” of evolution. We think of a theory as a hypothesis, a guess, a feeling, a hunch. For scientists, though, the word theory has a completely different meaning. In science, a theory is a well-substantiated explanation of an aspect of the natural world. Darwin’s “theory” of evolution by natural selection has stood up to extensive scientific scrutiny for over 160 years, and, believe me, many people, especially Creationists, have tried desperately to prove it wrong and failed.
Many Holocaust deniers rest their claim on the fact that there is no lock on the gas chamber door at Dachau. How could it be used to kill people if there was no lock on the door? Creationists, attempt to deny evolution, based upon things written in the Bible, and they claim that they must be right simply because the Bible is infallible.
It turns out that the chamber door in Dachau today is not the same door that was there during the Holocaust. That one did lock. It also turns out that the Bible is not infallible. It is loaded with inconsistencies and many outlandish claims that just don’t hold up to scrutiny. Supposedly God created light on the first day. We all know the words, “Let there be light.” Then God created plants on the third day, but He didn’t make the Sun that generates the light that plants need for photosynthesis until the 4th day. The Bible may be the greatest story every told, but it should be filed under fiction, not used as scientific proof of anything.
The third reason why I think that contrary opinions should be given equal time is because I believe that given enough rope and public exposure, Creationist, Holocaust deniers, and other conspiracy theorists will eventually hang themselves.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,