I have used the name ‘Rusgerkins’ for all my internet profiles ever since high school. I might have changed it by now if it wasn’t for the fact that x-box live make you pay when you want a new one. Thanks Ian Microsoft. I’m going to explain the meaning of the name, this will also explain why I would now choose another one. Rusgerkins is a portmanteau of Bertrand Russell (OK, not so bad), Ricky Gervais (I remain loyal despite all the idiots who focus on Spy Kids 4…why Ricky…why?) and….Richard Dawkins. Fuck it, I’ve said it now. I know, I know. Euch. You can imagine exactly what kind of a twat I was (I remain a twat, but of an all together different variety). Sixth form was very safe for me, the perfect Petri dish in which a culture of ‘That’s clearly wrong’ and ‘why can’t everyone just see how easy it is?’ could grow and grow, fed on The Root of all Evil and God is not Great. Indeed, this all took such a firm hold that one of the very first things I did as a Lancaster undergrad was create the ‘Atheist and Agnostic Society’ along with a friend of mine. It was shit, but we treasured it (you can guess how well we were doing with the ladies). The reason that I bring all this up is that in the next few weeks I will be going to an evening lecture (and dinner) hosted by Dr. Stephen Meyer, one of the most famous contemporary proponents of Intelligent Design. I am genuinely very excited about this, not because I want some red meat, but because I find these people fascinating, much more fascinating than I now find Richard Dawkins.
It was the history of science that snapped me out of all this. In the first term, one lecturer (shan’t name the poor bastard) challenged our adherence to evolution. I popped my hand up and explained the mechanism, the wealth of evidence, its explanatory power and so on. After all, I had read The Selfish Gene and therefore knew everything there was to know about evolution. He then proceeded to slowly and confidently rape me. Ever since then, I have worked hard to try and ensure that I never get so thoroughly shafted again. You might have one of those posters with a cat dangling from a washing line that says “Hang in there baby” that motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and do some work, or perhaps a pathological fear of the non-academic world. I have his cold steady eyes.
Making this change has entailed some losses however. For instance, reading stuff like this from Ricky Gervais now makes me feels like this:
I’ll leave you to read the main article, but here is one part that’s just plain cockbags. In reply to the somewhat strangely phrased question ‘Wasn’t science used to justify slavery, genocide and the subjugation of women? Why should we trust science when it comes to God?’ Gervais writes:
“When was science used to justify slavery, genocide and the subjugation of women? There are bad people who believe in God and bad people who don’t but neither can claim to have science on their side when they commit their deeds. I don’t know who’s been going round saying that science justifies any of those things. It certainly doesn’t and anyone who says it does is taking the name of science in vain. Many theories try to wear the badge of science to give their practices credibility but the badge is a forgery. Religion even tries to claim scientific evidence but fails. Astrology wants to be recognized as a science. It isn’t. Real science comes along and shows them the door. Its only agenda is truth. It doesn’t wish something were true. It finds out whether something is or isn’t true. Believing something is true simply because you wish it was, isn’t science. It’s faith.”
Now it’s probably safe to assume that the person who posed this question has an understanding of that-big-cold-calculating-thing-called-science that is about as sophisticated as Gervais’s. After all, the supplementary question makes it appear as though their point in alluding to slavery etc. was not to consider science’s historical past but to say, “it got it wrong before, why might it not be wrong about God?”, which is a new shade of balls entirely. This being said, I really wish I could have Gervais at the back of one of my tutorials.
Pay it forward people, pay it forward.