For reference, "Ardi" refers to the new Ardipithecus ramidus fossils. I was trying to watch the "Discovering Ardi" documentary a couple nights ago when in a hostile takeover of the television, my father dismissed the documentary as "the same old crap we've seen a million times before repackaged so they can keep showing it." Obviously, this is wrong, since Ardi is a brand new discovery, but that point is not important. While attempting to explain the importance of Ardi, my dad once again dismissed it as irrelevant, stating that "it's all just speculation with no evidence to back it up," and that "it doesn't prove anything," because "it's all just theories." For one reason or another, he is fiercely skeptical of anything even remotely scientific and these are his default arguments for any data that he doesn't initially understand, contradicts his childhood superstitions, or just isn't personally interested in being challenged on. Clearly, according to him, if he doesn't personally understand how the evidence was obtained or why the evidence is permissable, then it must be the evidence that is suspect, as opposed to his lack of education. Additional arguments that he used were "I'll bet the dirt in our back yard is a hundred million years old, too," in an attempt to discredit the entire concept of radio dating, as I'm sure no geologist, radiologist or paleontologist has ever considerred that when estimating the age of a rock layer During a documentary on the formation of the moon, he authoritatively declared, in addition to his usual "speculation without evidence" argument, that all computer models were irrelevant because the software was programmed by the physicist who was testing the theory and therefore "would have given the results he wanted anyway." Despite the best efforts of my brother and I to explain to him that the physicist only used existing, testably accurate physics data and that any other physicist or engineer could run their own tests to disprove it, he remained steadfast in his belief that a computer simulation cannot be used to test real physics. I find this highly ironic, considering that he works in the auto industry. Factually, all of his objections are easily refuted, but he also brought up a more subjective argument, that I'm really unsure how to address. "It doesn't put food on the table, so it doesn't matter. I'm only interested in the here and now." Intuitively, I feel this to be an extremely immature and unenlightened perspective, as it seems like the type of thing that only a small child or an illiterate could say with a straight face. However, after getting past the initial shame of accepting the fact that a member of my own family is as ignorant in real life as razoredge is on the internet, I'm trying to remain open minded and unbiased, but am still struggling to respect his position, even if it does seem unforgivably stupid. Unlike with recorded history, it seems that there aren't as many clearly defined "lessons" to be learned from natural history and that any attempts to advance our knowledge will often be criticized by outsiders as arbitrary, unnecessary, and a waste of resources. In addition to being immature and unenlightened as I stated earlier, it also strikes me as incredibly condescending in a "your interests aren't worth my time" kind of tone. Trying to dissociate myself from any personal bias though, I'm forced to wonder how important this so called "enlightenment" really is, especially from the perspective of someone who is genuinely concerned about where their next meal will come from and if they will be able to afford next month's rent. On the other hand, while I must acknowledge that I enjoy a certain luxury of being able to "waste my time" on the pursuit of ideas that aren't immediately relevant to my survival, I don't think that meticulously contemplating our origins is a wasted effort, particularly as it's a recurring theme throughout all human cultures. By focusing on a rigorous scientific evaluation of evidence however, I think that human society AS A WHOLE can come to a much more accurate, but more importantly, a more responsible conclusion not punctuated by the forms of civil unrest that are perpetuated by opposing cultural mythologies.