Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Science-Bible Shippers

You may not be familiar with the term “shipping” as used in this context. In internet fandom, shipping refers to a serious interest in the development of a romantic relationship between two fictional characters. In the case of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, for instance, there have been two major shipper groups: the Harry-Hermione shippers and the Ron-Hermione shippers. At this point, I’ll note that a spoiler for the novels is coming up, so if you haven’t already read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, you may want to stop reading now.

Moving on, shipper “cults” can become pretty invested in seeing a particular relationship develop. Some become so invested that they can become hostile to an author if the particular relationship they’ve been hoping to see never materializes. J. K. Rowling was reportedly surprised by the reaction of some Harry-Hermione shippers when she revealed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that the Harry-Hermione romance was never going to happen. Some of her fans became angry and claimed they were going to return their copies of the book, get rid of all their other related books, and stop following the series altogether.

So what does this have to do with science and the Bible? Well, I suspect that a certain faction of the religious have always expected that scientific discoveries would vindicate their Biblical beliefs. As an example, the so-called “Theory” of Intelligent Design was the latest effort to create a solid relationship between God and science. ID would show that while the scientific evidence of an ancient Earth and the slow development of various species from a common ancestor was accurate, the whole process would never have worked without the hand of God intervening and managing the process all the time.

Unfortunately, ID failed to do anything of the sort. It turned out to be nothing more than another collection of dubious criticisms of the Theory of Evolution, some poorly conceived mathematical arguments, and a big Argument from Ignorance. The failure of ID to produce any convincing evidence is part of a long record of unsuccessful efforts to find scientific support for Biblical claims.

And so it seems that as another Science-Bible shipper cult dies a gruesome death in cases like the Kitzmiller vs Dover suit, devoted followers of the cult are turning against the side they believe failed in the relationship. Naturally, most see science as the side that let them down. Right now, virtually any scientific claim – be it climate change, pollution, shrinking oil supplies, etc. – is subject to dismissal by religious fundamentalists who believe that science has rejected them.

If the religious would just stop looking for scientific validation of their beliefs, they'd probably be a lot happier.

1 comment:

Ex-drone said...

An extreme example of "shipping" is shown in the movie Misery, in which the female lead imprisons and tortures a male author to get him to write a happy plotline for her favourite character that he had decided to kill off. Similarly, Intelligent Designers have taken to torturing science in the hopes of forcing the fictional plot they are obsessing for. Unfortunately, despite the inevitability of the denouement, real life's antagonists are not as readily dispatched as Nurse Wilkes.