Belief vs. Understanding

From a fine dissection of the (religious) right’s view of evolution over at Science And Politics:

I do not believe in evolution. It is not something you believe in or not: it is something you understand or not…. Evolutionary biology is sitting on such large mountains of strong evidence collected over the past 150 years that it appears impossible that over the next 150 years we will be able to collect an equivalent amount of data challenging it in order to question the validity of evolutionary theory. It is one of the strongest supported theories in all of science. For all practical purposes, evolution (as in ‘common descent’) is a fact, and natural selection is the strongest of several mechanisms by which evolution operates. There is nothing controversial about this. (Emphasis mine.)

The piece goes on to tease out the relationship between the “pathology” behind the creationist view and other tenets of the right-wing canon, at least in the US. I’m here visiting my family for a week and spent the morning outraged at the Sunday morning television shows, especially the nearly-evil Pat Robertson, who wouldn’t quite say, but wouldn’t deny, that he thought Muslims and Hindus shouldn’t be judges in the US. Makes the Tories’ Michael Howard seem reasonable (but only in comparison).

And, since this post was started yesterday (albeit in a country that doesn’t celebrate it): Happy May Day!

Also, since I know he likes to be associated with positions that shouldn’t be controversial, but still are, happy birthday to Dave Winer! I’ll try to make it to the dinner in your honor tonight!