Thursday, 23 February 2006

Out of sync

That’s what I am at the moment re. this blog, so today I offer you these two facts that send shivers down my spine – for different reasons, obviously:

1) Apparently, 4 out of 10 Brits believe Darwin was wrong. (The number is probably even higher in the US.)

2) The number of deaths in British hospitals from MRSA, i.e. from infection caused by lack of hygiene, has increased in the past year in spite of official assurances that the problem was being tackled vigorously.



  1. Don't even start me on the Darwin thing. That there can even be anything to debate about "Intelligent Design" makes me just livid.

    Actually the New Yorker recently printed some numbers on the percentage of citizens who don't believe in evolution. Happily for my own peace of mind, I've completely forgotten the specifics.

  2. Several states are building Creationism into textbooks for schools. Mandatory. But that is so much in keeping with all that is happening down there ( doen because I'm in Canada.
    Frightening ( used to be amusing, but now it is frightening)

  3. Oh those Darwin deniers - you have to laugh at them. Really, you have to laugh. If you attack them it only fuels their persecution-complex, but if you laugh? What can they do with that? For example, you simply HAVE to look at this - scroll down so that you don't miss the graphic depiction of cowboys and pterosaurs. HEE! I want to see the movie version of that: Brokeback Dinos. Finding forbidden love amongst the dinosaurs.

  4. Oh god... I am so sorry, but I have to come back. I was searching to find that earlier link again, and I also found this. I don't know where to begin. We "know" things in our DNA, hee! DNA: real, 'cause those evil godless scientists didn't invent that! But evolution is so totally bogus, because those evil godless scientists did invent that. I have to say, I don't think there's any better way for a child to accept Jesus into his heart than clambering onto a cement dinosaur like it's a carousel pony, heh. "Boys wedged their heads between a smaller carnivore's teeth, or smacked its mouth with toy swords." Yep. Even kids couldn't give a rat's ass.

  5. GACK! It gets better. According to this site:

    "The Flood. Dinosaurs fossils are reminders of the Great Flood when huge numbers of dinosaurs and millions of other animals were buried throughout the world.

    God Punishes Sin. The Flood reminds us of God's punishment for sin--death."

    Do you know what that means? Those dinosaurs were nothing but a bunch of filthy sinners!

  6. K, you continually crack me up. So that's it for the dinosaurs, but riddle me this - Why haven't we found any unicorns in the fossil record? Huh?

    Because...sure as you're born, you're never gonna see no unicorn!

  7. R, I'd heard that figure being quoted on the radio just before I wrote my post (same thing with the MRSA bit) otherwise I would have forgotten it. I couldn't believe that kind of nonsense was also happening in this country.

    SE, the whole thing scares me a lot. It's nearly 200 years since Darwin published his seminal book and here we are questioning it - again! Until now people have always laughed at those who refused to believe in evolution and now they're joining them. Of course, the fact that children are thus indoctrinated is the most frightening thing of all because they will never have believed in anything else.

    Thanks very much, K, for injecting humour into this. Those sites are wonderfully 'nutty', but the problem is that the Creationists, etc. do not have a sense of humour and are therefore extremely dangerous. I never thought things like that could be written in 2006.

    I'm never gonna see a unicorn, D?! I thought there was still some hope for me. That is such a blow! LOL!

  8. Er - Bela, did no one tell you one of the main prerequisites for seeing a unicorn...

  9. I saw an interview with a priest at the Vatican - I forget his name - who said that even he could see nothing incompatible between an acceptance of evolution and a belief in God. And if you want a Creation myth - a place for God to be involved in the starting up of it all - well, all science has done is to push that back a few trillion trillion years, to the Big Bang. There is always space in science for wonder. But maybe I'm being naive, or very Church-of-England-laid-back-make-up-your-own-religion about it all, and just don't get the literalness of fundamentalists - the desperation to prove that every word in the bible is true and the terror that if just one tiny fact is not true, the whole concept comes crumbling down.

    What I don't understand is what has happened in 25 years. When I was at university in the early 1980s, it was mainly the science students who were in Christian Soc, and the arts students who were atheist. The idea being that the study of science leads to awe, and the study of the doings of man leads to cynicism. I still see the logic of this.

  10. Oops, forgot. LOL! I feel as if I should be able to see one. So there!

  11. I seem to remember that Bad Science in the Guardian has called into question the whole eixstence of MRSA. Haven't most of the tests been done by a single lab which has turned out to be something like one man in his garden shed, funded by the tabloid press and lying about his qualifications. I'm not saying that hospitals aren't filthy in some cases but the Guardian at least argues that this is a red herring.

    Me, I'm still too scared of necrotysing fasciitis to worry about MRSA.

  12. Just a little note to say (1) hello! and (2) how much I'm enjoying your blog.

    Warm regards from "Sweetpea" (in MUA days of yore).

  13. Sad news about the folks who believe in "intelligent design." How intelligent is designing people so that they need plumbing? I could do better.

    Just as sad is the news that doctors and nurses don't wash their frickin' hands!

  14. L, in my case, the idea that a belief in evolution leads to atheism isn’t wrong: I could make Richard Dawkins sound like an agnostic. LOL!

    GSE, what do you think all those people died of, then? They said the deaths weren’t due to any illnesses directly related to those that had brought those people to hospital in the first place. I’ve never stayed in an NHS hospital but I know people who have and have seen some horrendous things first-hand.

    Hi, K! How lovely to see you here! Patsy still plays with your cute mouse. Thank you very much for your kind words. :-)

    Absolutely, TLP! Seems like a spiteful thing to do.

    Semmelweis, Pasteur et al must be turning in their graves.

  15. 1: Too deep a belief in scientists and their current theory cannot be a good thing. They change the rules as new evidence emerges, or when allegiances change. I'm far from a creationist, but I am perturbed by the blind faith many put in science when we are yet to have the fullest picture, new evidence is always emerging, theories do change and don't necessarily work in all places/times in the same way.

    Too often science is used questionably to promote an approach. Science can be manipulated to say what you want it to say if you are the one holding scientific authority, to question it in any way is to show yourself ignorant of science and therefore not worthy of a voice in the debate. There are plenty of scientifically trained nutjobs as well as the religious nutjobs.

    A closed mind and refusing to consider varying viewpoints is always going to be a problem.

    2 Maybe it's being reported more, maybe the tests are more sophisticated, maybe staff are being more vigilant and they're picking up the symptoms that might've been ascribed to another cause in months gone by. Couldn't possibly be to do with hygiene. Although have you ever seen a hospital floor clean right to the edges?

    Many schools in my region had to close recently because of a virulent stomach bug doing the rounds. My school escaped, although we were heavily affected. I wonder if this has anything to do with our proactive attitude to handwashing and hygiene. Couldn't possibly be that simple or everyone would be doing it, surely!

  16. JvS:

    1. That's the whole point about science: it evolves, and scientific knowledge grows as discoveries are being made. By contrast those who believe that the Bible says it all never budge from that belief.

    You write, "Too often science is used questionably to promote an approach. Science can be manipulated to say what you want...", maybe, but so do religious texts. For instance, I keep hearing, from people trying to excuse the excesses of some, that "that's not what the Koran says!" What does the Koran say exactly? Who knows. It's been made to say all sorts of things and no one agrees as to what it does say.

    If the 'closed mind' you're referring to is mine, then, yes, as far as religion is concerned, it is closed and always will be. I have never believed in a deity and never will. I believe that in time human beings will discover the secrets of Life - if we haven't destroyed the planet in the meantime, that is.

    2. Do you really believe those deaths 'couldn't possibly be to do with hygiene'? Surely you jest. Either that or you're displaying an endearing, typically British -and, to my mind, misplaced - faith in the NHS.

    When hundreds of women used to die from puerperal fever soon after giving birth, Semmelweis said it was because midwives didn't wash their hands and instruments after dealing with one patient and before going on to deliver another. It was that simple and yet no one was doing it.

  17. Yes I jested about the handwashing. I've never seen filth like that in a certain hospital a mere stones throw from me right now, despite their active MRSA isolation. I just think it's ridiculous we can't keep clean enough to save lives.

    And I did not refer to your mind at all when I mentioned closedness. Personally I've gone from absolute trust to absolute doubt, but I would never presume to know any truth.

    I think you're a great writer performing an important function, please never doubt my faith in that!!

  18. Sorry, JvS, I should have heard the irony in your voice. I also should have known not to answer any comments just after listening to Any Answers on Radio 4 and to a Holocaust denier ("... some of my best friends are Jewish and, anyway, David Irving has now acknowledged he was wrong and there were probably 2.5 million deaths in the camps" - so that's all right, then?!). I should have calmed down first.

    I wouldn't have minded even you had meant me. As my partner says, when it comes to beliefs we all have closed minds.

    Re. my writing talent, you are being facetious again. See, I can tell now. LOL!

    hpviazpm: I didn't know Hewlett-Packard made calming anti-impotence drugs

  19. The one time I'm genuine! I'm like the boy who cried wolf. No really: you're great!!!!

  20. You are so kind, JvS, but you and I both know that this is only a blog. Say what you said about me again when I have a syndicated column in the New Yorker. LOL!


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