Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Science in an Age of Endarkenment

David Colquhoun has an excellent rant at new Age crystals, homeopathy, credulous politicians, creationists and general pseudoscience here, also available in slightly edited form on the Guardian's science website.

I used to consider most of the above targets to be in Douglas Adam's words "mostly harmless". I recall with some fondness the laughs we had in our school at Father Soffe, the creationist religious teacher - I don't believe he managed to convince anyone of anything other than his own barminess.

However this article illustrates that the problem is a serious one. The insidious nature of many of these "beliefs" are a genuine cause for concern, especially when politicians and universities start to condone and spread them. A recent example of wacky belief in German politics was provided by the Hessian Culture Minister Karin Wolff, who has suggested discussing the biblical version of creation within Biology class, "in order to avoid confusing the children". Ms. Wolff is clearly very confused herself, and should be excused from office.

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