Warning: Rant ahead.
As you, my faithful readers (all 3 or 4 of you) know, I do online dating, and that my dating site of choice is OKCupid. Women actually respond to my messages and occasionally (gasp) contact me. You also know that I have issues, with online dating in general, but also with specific aspects of online dating, some of which I have exposed in previous posts.
This post is about one of the specific things that drives me a bit nuts on OKCupid: the questions and answers. The C (you know, OKCupid) has this feature where its users (you know I work in tech when I call people users, not members or something more descriptive and realistic) can look at a LLLLOOOONNNNGGGGG list of questions, go down that list and click an answer from a list of provided multiple-choice answers. Then they click what answers would be acceptable in the people they are attracted to or are trying to attract. The C uses these as part of their system to calculate a scale of compatibility broken down into LOVERS, FRIENDS, ENEMIES. (I never have understood that last one and, in fact, am usually tempted to contact those labeled with a high enemy score, just for the hell of it. I mean, what does a computer know about human attraction and compatibility, right?)
So anyway, the questions can range from the mundane (like: How many children would you ideally like to have) to the way too personal (like: How many times do you masturbate per week? and Would you date someone with genital herpes? While I can understand why you might want to know the answers, some questions should be discussed in private messages and face to face meetings, you know?).
Occasionally I run across a question that makes my brain melt down, either because the question makes no sense at all (or is really juvenile) or the answers that I am provided either don’t make sense or do not fit me in any conceivable way. Here’s one that always makes my head explode:
Should evolution and creationism be taught side-by-side in school?
Let’s think about that for a second, shall we?
The question assumes that creationism and evolution fall into the same category of subject matter, which can then be taught side by side some class. Sorry, but no, they obviously do not. One is science and one is mythology. (If you want to call creationism religion, knock yourself out, but I think that is kind of delusional, personally.) If you have this confusion, you should get that fixed. Take a science class, or, better yet, open a dictionary and look up the word science and then the word myth (or creationism if you can find it). You will be thrilled and amazed and maybe a little bit freer than you were. I suppose that we can split hairs and call it religious mythology, but there is no freaking way you can call it science with a straight face. And you cannot call evolution mythology with a straight face. There are too many inconvenient things, er . . . facts, getting in the way of that.
I suppose someone could invent a class in which these two subjects could be legitimately taught side by side. Some sociology course or some course about modern culture, or even a course in politics. But to teach them both in a science class just promotes the stupid identification that makes them one in the same to so many people, who are too lazy to sort these things out. That’s right, I said that.
I think that if I were to answer that question, I would give the appearance of being just another dummy who bought into the the ridiculous idea that they both fall under the same category. I suppose you could say, but Dave they both have to do with the origins of life on earth. To which I would say: So? And then I would point out where the dictionary was.
Next, if someone were clever enough to design a course that would compare and contrast these subjects (if that’s even possible) what public schools are we talking about here: grammar school, elementary, high school, junior high, junior college, publicly funded college? WTF? Let’s be specific here people. If you go to the trouble of formulating the question, give it some goddamned thought, don’t just talk out of your butt.
So, the question is so stupidly phrased that I find it impossible to seriously contemplate, much less answer. But wait! I can’t just answer it anyway, I have to choose from one the answers provided me, which are:
- Yes, students should hear both sides
- No, creationism has no place in schools
- No, evolution has no place in schools
The second and third answers, whatever you think of them, at least have the benefits of being clear and understandable by even semi-intelligent people. But the first answer is just ridiculous.
Both sides? Really. These are sides? This is just buying in to one of the many of the false dichotomies (look it up) that the media (both right, left and whatever else remains) is constantly creating. What a bunch of bull. These are subjects that can be learned, not opposing forces in a war. Unless you make it so. And if you are, stop it, you’re spoiling the party for everyone else.
At the bottom of this pile of dumbness, I am given the opportunity to add a comment to my answer to this question, but there isn’t enough space to explain why I think the question is stupidly posed and the answers do not reflect a thoughtful, intelligent reflection of the issue. Just the same old general BS that the fans of creationism promote through the media. Sides. What a bunch of crap.
This isn’t really about whether one is right or wrong: the premise of the question is rigged in such a way that any answer or discussion that might follow is going to be bullshit.
And this is just one of the questions that makes me wet my pants. There have been nights when I have talked mindlessly to my computer as if it could reach out to the writers of these questions and get them to help me clarify their intent, or get them to remove the questions and answers in shame. But there they remain.
Sheesh. Where’s my bourbon when I need it.