Memo to Glenn Beck: Oh, just. shut. up. Will ya?

Few things are more manifestly damning of the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism than that this buffoon is still a leading formator of “thought” for American “conservatives”.

Glenn Beck: Bill Nye’s creationism denial is like the Catholic Church jailing Galileo

  • Dave G.

    What Beck said was loony, but for the record, I don’t think it’s much more loony than what Nye said either. The notion that we need scientifically literate voters made me chuckle. I think we need voters literate in more than just science FWIW.

    • Irksome1

      I suppose that depends on what is meant by “scientifically literate.” Forgive me if I’m misreading you, but your position seems eerily similar to that of a 5th grader who’s whining, “when am I ever gonna use this stuff?” Viewed on a superficial level, it’s true that knowing the difference between an igneous rock and a sedimentary rock may not have much of an impact on my vote for a congressional representative, but that’s not really the point. Science, properly taught, teaches critical thinking skills, like how to best assess available evidence and draw conclusions therefrom. That skill will have applications in innumerable situations. Too much of Creationism gets this exactly wrong and I believe the fear that Nye is invoking here is that it teaches rationalization instead. It’s like having one’s methodology ripped out of a Douglas Adams book where everyone knows the answer and just has to figure out what question will get them there.

      • Benjamin2.0

        Logic! Teach logic. There are a number of soft sciences which employ rationalization rather than reason. The odious merits of their practitioners could have been avoided if only we had been teaching logic in schools this whole time. Expecting people to simply pick it up in practice as they learn general sciences and mathematics is a lot like expecting people to pick up algebra as they learn calculus. Sure, it’ll work eventually, but their calculus scores will suffer in the meantime.
        And who wants our voters to be unschooled in calculus?

        • Irksome1

          I think that’s an excellent point.

          • Benjamin2.0

            You’re too kind, dear sir. It’s a good point at best.

        • PalaceGuard

          Yep. Never know when you’re going to need to untangle an infinitely repeating harmonic series. Just never know.

        • Stu

          So you are saying that we teach people “how to think” vice “what to think” and it will sort itself out?

          That’s just crazy talk. ;)

      • Dave G.

        You’re misreading me. Unfortunately I don’t have time to respond. Later. :)

      • Dave G.

        No, I realize that science has its place and properly taught, can teach critical thinking skills. But I’ve heard enough scientists speak toward things outside of the lab to realize it doesn’t always automatically transfer to critical thinking skills outside of the science lab. And, of course, there are other forms of thinking worth cultivating. My beef is with the modern ‘in science is salvation’ narrative. At least one of my sons is interested in pursuing a career in science (chemistry is his game). I tell him that science teaches you how to build a nuclear weapon, ideally the humanities teach you to question if you should. Science is about can, humanities ought. If Nye understood all this when he made his claim, then no problem. But given the modern context and push for STEM, I can’t help but think he may simply have been echoing the current slogan that only science can save us.

        BTW, I realize those weaned in non-scientific thinking have been known to make some pretty bad calls in their time. Which is why I have no problems with a well rounded education including, but not limited to, the sciences.

        Also, your Douglas Adams observation I fear is something that is quite popular today, in all disciplines. I think we’ve moved past the point where we look for truth. I fear too many of us assume we have the truth (are the truth?) and simply spend our lives finding the evidence to back it up (thank goodness for the internet). But that’s for a different post. :)

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    Bill Nye is debating Ken Ham today. A debate is so oppressive. Also, when Beck gets histroy this inaccurate, it really makes me wonder if his American history is also this inaccurate.

    • ivan_the_mad

      Heh, saw this on the Book of Faces:

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        Oh, I love that. It helps that the little girl looks a lot like my younger daughter.

      • Irenist

        One of the proudest moments of my parochial education was when, after listening to a description of Genesis and of Darwinian evolution in middle school, my hand shot up to ask “Couldn’t we do, like, a combo theory where God creates evolution?” and was told by the teacher that yes, that is in fact what we Catholics ordinarily do and he was just getting to that. Always fun to guess the answer. (And yes, I was already an annoying nerd, even then.)

        • ivan_the_mad

          Ha! You anticipated well. My high school was run by the Jesuits, and I recall readings assigned from the work of Teilhard de Chardin SJ, dealing with evolution. It was over my head at the time and still controversial, and all I really remember of him is that his photograph bore a striking resemblance to the priest who taught us Latin. Then Ratzinger was elected pope, and lo and behold I saw Chardin’s name again in BXVI’s writings. A synthesis of faith and science? It’s almost as if truth does not contradict truth.

          • jaybird1951

            I loved reading Teilhard de Chardin in my college years but now consider him both dated and a tad far out there. Fun to read but edging toward heresy, it seemed to me.

  • Irenist

    Heard the Blazer on AM radio the other day. He was comparing himself to great oppressed heroes of freedom like “Galileo and Tyndale.” His anti-Catholicism is ubiquitous.

    • Thomas R

      I have noticed hints of that, though I mostly avoid him. I think it’s not too uncommon for ex-Catholics to become critical to hostile of their former faith. (Actually it’s not uncommon for former members of any faith to become hostile to their previous faith. I assume there is likely a rabidly anti-Mormon ex-Mormon somewhere)

      • jaybird1951

        Beck is a former Catholic but I think his contacts with the Faith ended while he was still a minor. He was basically indifferent about religion as an adult before he and his family chose Mormonism for non theological reasons from what I understand. Beck’s understanding of Catholicism is likely at a pubescent level if not even earlier.

  • scubajim

    Scientific literacy should not be confused with moral literacy, they are not the same thing. A person can be well trained in the “scientific method” and still be a moral defective. Happens all the time bro.

  • Coco the under evolved ape

    He also said that the Ancients knew the world was round (right) but this knowledge was lost during the Middle Ages (wrong). What would he think the orb and sceptre symbolised? http://archive.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods46.html

    • chezami

      And do the words “Divine Comedy” ring a bell, Glenn? It’s the original Journey to the Center of the Earth.


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