Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Awful creationist propaganda

PZ Myers posts on some really bad creationist propaganda a reader sent to him. It's not bad because he and I both know creationism is not science. It's bad because it's a badly written, poorly drawn piece of comic book propaganda that uses weak and fallacious arguments against evolution. As Myers points out, it's a type of creationist propaganda that is common, showing "brave" creationist students questioning a dogmatic "evolutionist" biology teacher and supposedly tearing his arguments apart and revealing him to be a fool. I've come across the source of this particular piece before, The Truth for Youth. (Its comic about the dangers rock 'n' roll is one of the most hysterically funny pieces of fundamentalist fear-mongering I've seen in a long time.)

I'm not going to deconstruct it in detail, as Myers is a developmental biologist and has done so far better than I ever could. However, I would quibble with him on one thing. He's a bit too nice of a guy. He warns students not to try to use the arguments found in this comic on a biology professor (particularly on him), because doing so will result in their humiliation in front of their class. I'm not so sure that a little humiliation, as long as it isn't taken to an extreme (respectful humiliation, anyone?), isn't just the thing to teach such a student a little life lesson. On the other hand, given that surgical education still includes the "pimp" session, where the professor asks purposefully hard questions in order to show off and show the student's limitations (often humiliating him/her in the process), maybe this viewpoint is simply a primitive remnant of my having survived a less enlightened training method.

3 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 12/21/2004 5:16 PM, Blogger PZ Myers said...

Too nice? No one ever accuses me of being too nice.

 

At 12/21/2004 6:07 PM, Blogger Internal Medicine Doctor said...

I agree, too nice. however, you have to take this with a grain of salt and realize that it's coming from a surgeon. When even by his own acclaim like to embarress students. ;-}

 

At 12/21/2004 6:37 PM, Blogger Orac said...

I didn't say I *liked* to humiliate students and residents. In fact, I rarely do it myself, and then usually only accidentally.

You have to remember, though, that medical education is more rough and tumble, and surgical education is probably the roughest of all. Patient's lives are on the line, and screw-ups can result in someone dying. Also, surgeons tend to be action-oriented, impatient, perfectionist, and intolerant of mistakes (not me, of course, other than the perfectionist and intolerant of mistakes). There's no room to coddle bruised egos. Or, at least, that's the way it used to be. True, surgical education is changing and becoming more humanistic, a trend that started in the early 1990's, when I was a resident, and has accelerated over the last few years, with resident work hour restrictions, etc.. However, I rather suspect that the pimp session will never go away.

If biology were taught like surgery used to be taught when I was a resident, a student who tried to challenge the professor using creationist claptrap like this cartoon would be pimped relentlessly on each and every fallacious point he used until it became utterly obvious to everyone present that he had no clue what he was talking about, after which he would be dismissed abruptly. I'm not saying that's wrong or right. It's just the way it was (and still is, to some extent).

 

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