dlamming is back with yet another post where he waves his hands frantically to distract from his own distortions and misrepresentations. He begins:
Well, after a number of back-and-forth comments, Ed Brayton finally said “I don’t believe that educated people in general have a good idea what evolution is about.” If that’s not elitist, I don’t know what is, so I think I’ve proved my point.
Except that he hasn’t shown me to be wrong in my claim that most educated people don’t have a good idea what evolutionary theory is all about. How exactly is it “elitist” to point out that people who may be quite knowledgable in one field are ignorant in other fields? If someone said that most writers probably don’t understand the internal workings of an automobile engine, is this “elitist”? Or is it simply a matter of reality? I know virtually nothing about cars. I wouldn’t even know how to go about changing the oil in my car. Is it “elitist” for someone to point out that I am ignorant on the subject? Of course not. I am, in fact, ignorant on the subject. That doesn’t mean I’m not capable of understanding it. If I had the interest in learning, I’m sure I could become quite knowledgable about the mechanics of a car. But I don’t. dlamming continues to insist that I am talking about whether most educated people can understand evolution, when in fact I’m talking about whether they do understand it.
What this all boils down to is that Ed Brayton, as well as many commenters, think evolution is hard. It’s not particularly hard – and it’s certainly not so difficult that any doctors or chemists are going to have trouble with it. In many ways, it’s similar to talking about physics – very, very few biologists are going to be able to do any of the math associated with general relativity, but the concept can be explained even to members of the general public in a few chapters of A Brief History of Time. Few doctors and chemists are probably able to walk straight into a lab and do PCR, or head out to a dig and excavate a fossil, but they’re still capable of understanding evolution – and I think most do.
This cretin just continues to insist on distorting my position. I have never said nor implied that educated people would “have trouble with” understanding evolution. If they took the time to study it, as I have, there is no reason why they would find it difficult to understand. I’ve said this now about 5 times, so the fact that dlamming continues to repeat this means that we’re not talking about an honest misunderstanding here, we’re talking about him intentionally distorting my position to make it easier to attack. Whether most educated people can understand evolution and whether they do understand evolution are two entirely different subject.
On what do I base my argument that most educated people don’t understand evolution? On 20 years of experience working with educated people and talking to them about it. More than any other subject, evolution is a subject that a great many people think they understand when in fact they don’t. How many bright people have you run into who believe that evolution has something to do with the origin of the universe? That belief is incredibly common, and not just among the ignorant. It’s also completely, totally, 100% false.
I’ve had conversations with dozens of medical professionals, nurses and doctors, who think that evolution posits that humans evolved from modern apes or monkeys. I can’t tell you how many otherwise educated academics I’ve talked to who think that we have never observed a new species evolving from an old one. If you took a poll of educated people in non-biology fields, how many do you think could tell you what the major taxonomic categories are? Or what gene duplication is? How many do you think could identify a phylogenetic tree or even give you the very basic order in which the major animal groups evolved (marine invertebrates —> marine vertebrates —> fish —> amphibians —> reptiles —> mammals and birds)? How many could tell you the difference between allopatric and sympatric speciation?
These are all very, very basic elements of an understanding of evolutionary theory, and I could easily go on listing more. It’s not an insult to say that most people don’t understand this stuff, even those who are otherwise well educated. It doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of understanding it, it just means they haven’t done the study necessary to do so, just as I haven’t done the study necessary to understand hundreds of subjects.
He says that he is surprised by the hostility his view has generated. That’s another distortion. It’s not your opinion that most educated people understand evolution that has generated hostility, it’s your blatantly dishonest debate tactics that have generated hostility. You continue to distort what has been said over and over and over again even after having had it explained to you repeatedly that you are building a straw man. That’s just plain dishonest behavior and it’s making you look very bad.