Monday, October 24, 2005

Science Saves Lives

I just wanted to make a quick comment, now that Hurricane Wilma has passed Florida. I think it is useful to note that for days, while Hurricane Wilma was moving slowly to the northwest, the United States Weather Service said that it will take a sudden turn to the east and hit southern Florida. This gave the people in Florida days to prepare for the hurricane, at a time when the hurricane was actually moving towards Texas. Also, the citizens of Florida knew that the hurricane would turn and speed up, arriving quickly. Under different circumstances, I can easily imagine the sudden change in direction and speed of this hurricane catching millions of people by surprise. The loss of lives might have been in the hundreds or thousands. Instead, less than 10 people died -- the rest having had pleanty of time to seek safety. Science saves lives. One of the worst and most destructive acts that a citizen can condone are those who want to pervert and undermine science education because it happens to reach conclusions that conflict with their religious beliefs. If this were a harmless activity, we could shrug our shoulders and say, "Go ahead, it's your life." Unfortunately, these people are putting more than their own lives at stake.


UberKuh said...

Can I assume, then, that you are not in favor of faith-based hurricane alert systems? I understand why a religious person would allocate an unknown or uncontrollable part of his or her life to divine influence, but to do the same with known and controllable parts leaves me baffled. I suppose nothing is ever completely controllable or fully known, but there is a practical point at which you would think that theists let God alone.

Thinking about the ID debate in this context, it seems silly to outright deny that evolution exists, as some fundamentalists frequently do. It is certainly possible to believe that the universe is just over 6,000 years young and believe that evolution exists, because Young-Earth Creationism presumes a miracle and God could easily have created a miraculous world in which evolution begins from an already mature stage, creating an illusion of being much older.

Alonzo Fyfe said...

I would like to conduct an experiment.

Put 100 priests in a secluded room to pray and mediatate and ask for divine wisdom, and 100 scientists in a weather station looking at satellite data and running computer models, and find out which can more accurately predict where, when, and with what force a hurricane will hit.

Which group gives the potential victims of that hurricane the most accurate and most timely warning?

Just a thought.