Stranger Fruit

My thoughts on Nisbet

Apparently Nisbet thinks we should desist from pointing out what a fiasco this whole affair has been for the supporters of Expelled. Apparently he thinks this is helping the enemy. He also thinks Dawkins and Myers should return to their seat at the back of the bus. Perhaps that might be true about "new atheism" (and I have stated my views on that before), but this isn’t about atheism. It is about a dumb move that was made by Mark Mathis and the supporters of Expelled. It is about how they are spinning their stupidity through lies and mistruths. It is about how their dumb little movie twists historical evidence to draw a simplistic line between Darwin and Hitler. (How’s that for the power of “framing”?). It is about how the story of their "martyrs" for ID is a tissue of lies. It is about how Mathis and friends lied to get interviews with Myers, Dawkins, Eugenie Scott and others.

As a self-appointed expert on how to deal with creationists, Nisbet needs to buy a clue. He’s like that annoying person who continually says "you’re doing it wrong" without actually rolling up his sleeves and helping out. He’s convinced of his own correctness and, frankly, his condescending tone is getting annoying. While he’s wandering around the country, yapping on about "framing" and how the scientists are doing it wrong, some of us scientists are actually attempting to get something done; attempting to educate the public, to educate our students, and to work against creationist incursions into public school curricula. That is, we are actively “promoting science” – which is more than Nisbet is doing.

Read what PZ and Jason (both of whom I’ve disagreed with in the past but agree with here) have to say on the issue.

Update:Brian pipes up as well. Orac and Jake also have something to say. It looks like Nisbet isn’t getting any support on this one.

Comments

  1. #1 PhysioProf
    March 24, 2008

    I have also weighed in.

    Edited by jml to embed the link to PP’s post

  2. #2 Joel
    March 24, 2008

    Well said.

  3. #3 Chris Ho-Stuart
    March 24, 2008

    Hear hear. I’m don’t share PZ Myers approach; and indeed I have the distinction of being singled out by PZ in his blog as a “do-nothing” atheist, which PZ ought to have known was arrant nonsense. It’s just that what I do isn’t what PZ does.

    But here’s the thing. I *like* having PZ going his hardest. He’s effective, and persuasive. He won’t persuade everyone, but no-one ever does. He does what he does well; and I don’t mind in the least riding on his coat tails from time to time. If PZ oversteps the mark occasionally (and he certainly does) this is fine. It still gives the issues prominence, and they are issues I care about as well, and can deal with also, often with a rather different approach.

    Having a variety of approaches is good.

    I’m not saying every approach is good, however. Nisbet, for example, appears to be an idiot. When I first heard his notions I thought at first that he was going to be someone I could support, and who would be pretty close to me for thoughts on how to tackle science education in a religious world. But I swiftly rejected it as useless. He’s such a horrible communicator himself. I’ll take another ten PZ Myers over another Nisbet, any day.

    And if Chris Mooney sees this… don’t you become a Nisbet. You can do much better than that, and you have done much better. Don’t become a Myers either.