13 Feb 2009

DUP Numpties Dragging us Back to the Stone Age

SO we've already had young Sammy Wilson, Minster for the Environment in the parliament of this peculiar and fought over minuscule corner of our planet, a climate change denialist, block a UK government commissioned TV ad advising people how to reduce consumption and CO2 emissions from their homes.
There's a Royal Society's guide he'd be well advised to read.

Last year the DUP MP Iris Robinson promoted her own brand of bigotry to the world.

Today we hear again from Mervyn Storey, fellow DUP member who not only believes that this whole universe is about 6000 years old, but that it was all put together in just 6 days.

Now the man can believe what he wants as long as he doesn't interfere with my or my children's right to enjoy life free from his fairy tales. But here's the problem; little Mervyn (look at his wee Bash Street Kids face, the tyke!) is threatening the Ulster Museum with legal action if it doesn't represent his fabulous tale alongside its planned exhibition on evolution when it reopens later this year after undergoing a major refurbishment. Mervyn thinks that because he's not the only person living here who believes his astonishing 6 day tale, that he can use equality legislation to force the museum to show nonsense alongside evidence based information! Yes, I know... Worse still, this man chairs the NI education committee. Once again, I'm glad to home-educate.

Walter the Softy Mervyn told the Guardian,
"In the past, when I have written to the museum about necessity to show the public an alternative to Darwin's theory (and let's stress it is still only a theory), they have been quite dismissive."
Argh! He used the "only a theory" thing! From Understanding Evolution, a site Mervyn would learn much from,
"Scientific theories are explanations that are based on lines of evidence, enable valid predictions, and have been tested in many ways. In contrast, there is also a popular definition of theory — a "guess" or "hunch." These conflicting definitions often cause unnecessary confusion about evolution."
In the Guardian article Mervyn attempts to smear Charles Darwin with accusations of racism, when others have recently shown that he was in part motivated by anti-slavery principles,
"In this politically correct society we live in today, if Darwin expressed those views about other peoples of the world now he would not be put on any pedestal."

Asked if humans evolved from monkeys, Storey said: "Certainly not, and there are plenty of other people in this society who don't believe it either."

The chairman of the education committee at the Northern Ireland Assembly said: "I am not against the museum or anywhere else promoting Darwin's theory, but I think it would be in the public's interest to give them an alternative theory as well.

"We are currently because of the anniversary being bombarded with Darwin's theory but there are others in the scientific world who question that thesis and their voices should be heard in publicly funded institutions like the museum."

Darwin may have dispassionately dismissed some peoples as savages in one of his books, which wrong as that is, must be seen in light of the prevailing attitudes of his time and class.

Moreover, if Mervyn reckons only those with politically correct views by today's standards should be on pedestals, he should hire a truck to knock down most of the public statues in this province...and sack many of his party colleagues.

I am looking forward to the Ulster Museum's reopening. It was a fusty but fun place to visit before, and I'm sure after it's make-over, it will be even better. No doubt we will visit often as part of our learning voyage, but I don't want to have to negotiate frankly incorrect exhibitions in a place of learning and science.

Praise be then that the museum has pledged to do the right thing and will,

"house galleries and exhibitions of international significance interpreted in line with excellent scholarship and research. Within the permanent science galleries we will explain the conventional scientific theories internationally accepted by scholars and scientists to describe life on earth from the earliest evidence of fossils. This is consistent with approaches taken by museums of renown across the world." [emphasis mine.]
Boo to backwards pulling politicians, hooray for well run museums.


Nick McGivney said...

I agree with Mervyn. So rather than this tirade you seem determined to launch, Ms Sharon, hear me out. Space should be set aside for the alternative story, the non-theory one. Equal space. Opposite space. Every story has two sides, and so it must be admitted has every roll of wallpaper. The non-Darwin story can have the back side (oops) of the Ulster Museum's wallpaper. That way it will also be protected from harmful UV rays, if such nonsensical fancies can indeed be presumed to exist. Or if not on the reverse of the wallpaper then maybe in the back room where the moose's arse gets displayed. Oops. Did I just inadvertently give Moose-arse Mervyn a new handle. Uh-oh...

Sharon McDaid said...

Do you know what, perhaps you're both right. There should be a display of creationist myths, but not just the Christian one, all of them.
There must be 50 on that site alone. "Here's what the Norse believed, this is what the ancient Chinese believed, and that fantastic story there is what the DUP believe!"

All the similarities between them could be explained, and how the myths evolved from one to the other.

Robert said...

I left NI in 1993 due to the abysmal education facilities for my "special needs" son. Most of my family followed, but I still have a daughter & grandchildren living in NI. When I read articles like this in the Guardian, I am still worried about their future & that of the province.

Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

But the world WAS created in 6 days, however without the sun to begin with, it was a bit difficult to determine at what time the first day began or how long it lasted.

Indeed I think that scientists still have a fundemental problem with the concept of time, as for instance how to measure brownian motion at near light speed :)

There are just some questions that are unponderable, because we don't come equiped with the apparatus to solve them.

It rather depends as it always does, how you define your terms, and just because Land Rovers are not specifically described anywhere in the Bible, does not mean that they were not created at some point. (in Solihull unless I am solipsistically deluded)

Ontologically everything flows from everything else and nothing is unnatural it just happens, nothing that goes into a Land Rover is supernatural.

Put the stories up together, and don't leave Terry Pratchett out of it either, let people decide for themselves which makes most sence.

Sharon McDaid said...

@Robert, I don't really know if all that many people here agree with the DUP's moral pronouncements. They probably picked them more because of the yucky tribal aspect of politics here which outweighs every other consideration. I hope that after a few years with these ejits in power, fewer people will support them in future and pick more moderate, reasonable representatives. I don't actually think they have a hope of getting creationism taught in schools or in the museum. So it's perhaps not so very bad. Also, it seems that a lot of people are living away for a while them moving back with a rather more widened world view, and that can only help.
Yep, that glass is half full.

@Larry, the 6 day story is very hard to understand, and very teeny, tiny planet earth centric!

Are you sure there's noting unnatural about your Land Rover? Isn't it a place of great mystery?

There's something to be said for putting all the stories out, and if we have Pratchett, can we also have visions of Hobbits and Middle Earth? Perhaps one of the big church halls could host it, rather than the museum.

Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

Perhaps, it all has to do with words. I do not suppose that when Caesar Augustus sent out a decree that all the world should be taxed, he included a clause covering outer Mongolia.

The big question is, can the Universe exist without someone there to know that it exists? Oh dear I am back to Bishop Berkeley again, well I do think he was a might more sensible than Bishop Usher, who I a not sure could count, and for all I know was being tongue in cheek when he placed the exact date of creation as October 23rd 4004 BC.

I think my education would be much the less had I not been exposed to alternative views of creation including the Nors which clearly had much influence on the young Tolkein too.

I personally have no first hand experience of anything that existed before I can remember it, and as for memory, Descartes evil genius continues to plague us as we get older implanting false ones to suit.

FWIW Darwin's theory has it's ontogeny too for it is predicated upon the philosophies and discoveries current in his time, and cannot really be understood without reference to it's historical context, and I think the narrative of science would be much lacking without some reference to the confrontation between TH Huxley and Soapy Sam (Bishop) Wilberforce.

Sharon McDaid said...

@Larry, in my ignorance (of oh so much) I didn't know Berkeley and a quick Wiki scan shows he's a countryman worth knowing. Who knows what Usher was thinking, but there's them that take it as truth.

I agree that an education will do well to exposed to the stories of many cultures. I am no longer religious but teach my children about various religious stories, beliefs and practices, both current and ancient. They recognise the influence of some in Doctor Who and Harry Potter. It all comes around.

And if I understand you right, Darwin's contemporaries and precedents also deserve credit for what we now know. We're always standing on the shoulders of giants though personally, I'm a flake of dandruff.

AnnB said...

Wow! And I thought the southern politicians were barking! This is spectacularly George Dubya Bush esq!
Nice one Merv - lovin your work!

Larry Arnold PhD FRSA said...

One should certainly not underrate Darwin's Grandfather Erasmus (now there is a name to conjure with) a member of the famous lunar society which included many notables from the industrial revolution.

Sharon McDaid said...

Ann, they may be a shower of crooks down south but they are only concerned with their comfort in this life. Up here quite a few are concerned with how they'll get on in their afterlife too.

@Larry, it's a name of distinction all right, with a distinctive face to match. You force me to educate my self with each comment.

AnnB said...

Shush don't encourage them down here or they'll be bringing corruption to the afterlife too!!!

Ettina said...

"Darwin may have dispassionately dismissed some peoples as savages in one of his books, which wrong as that is, must be seen in light of the prevailing attitudes of his time and class."

Do those guys think creationists of that time period were any less racist? At least Darwin suggested the differences races were *related*.

The Biologista said...

Storey is a classic creationist. By which I mean one unearthed from the 1980's. Still rolling out the "just a theory" line... goodness me that's a very tired one. And as for calls balanced representation, well sure. About 10 million scientists accept evolution. Being generous, 1000 "creation researchers" accept creation. We'll work out the floor space on that basis.