Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Politicians are human too

We're used to the odd mistake by our MPs - some more odd than others, obviously - but Conor Lenihan, Ireland's Minister for Science has taken the the oatcake. Tomorrow night in Dublin, there is to be a book launch, at which Mr Lenihan will be the speaker. A great many people in Ireland are wondering what on Earth he's doing by appearing at the event - a Gorillas and Girls party - at all. Hopefully, by this morning, Mr Lenihan is too.

The book he's launching is by John J. May and called The Origin of Specious Nonsense. Now, you may have guessed from the title, but John J. May has a bit of an issue with Charles Darwin and the whole Origins of Species thing. He seems very angry about it. He bills his book as 'the most controversial book in decades' and it doesn't take much digging to find a few examples of the specious nonsense alluded to in the title. Kindly, John May has filled his site with hilarious rants and pages of senseless, dribbling bilge. It genuinely is worth a dredge through if you have the time, if only so you can comfortably discount almost everything the man has to say. He's not the most literate of men, but he points out that he was self-educated and can at least communicate his deranged points clearly enough.

The scandalous thing here is not that another woeful attempt to 'debunk' the theory of evolution has been published. If anything the content of the book only serves to strengthen the case of its target. The problem lies with the presence of the Minister for Science at the launch of an anti-scientific book. And it's not like he may have been taken in by the subtlety of May's attacks. From the front cover all the way through it's an all-out assault on one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in history. Darwin's idea is demonstrably supported by overwhelming amounts of observable evidence from countless fields of study. The fact that May's book is a pitiful attempt to undermine it for religious reasons is neither here nor there. The only way Lenihan can save face is to show up for the event and use his speech to highlight the piles of inaccuracies and misdirections in the book. That would be both rude to the author and undignified for a politician. He's really dug himself into a hole here. Interesting to see how he tries to get out.

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