Search Ratttler

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


If there were any doubt about the laughable ignorance and deficient reasoning ability of conservatives, Virginia_1776's post, Claus Exposed over at CThink removes all doubts.

First and foremost, it is truly an amazing statistic that the United States of America beats only Turkey in agreement with the thoroughly scientifically accepted Theory of Evolution (and to forestall more ignorance, know that a "theory" in sicence, is a robustly supported conclusion, not a "guess") If you actually go to the link of the study, you'll find that there are actually TWO reasons cited for this outcome. One is the widespread fundamentalism in the US. The second is the POLITICIZATION of science.

As is readily apparent, there are many scientific conclusions that are at odds with religious dogma. At the top of that list is the scientifically settled issue of evolution, along with related issues of cosmology, such as age of the earth, and origins of the universe. There exist very powerful religious organizations in this country that work tirelessly to change the law to put their religious BELIEFS into science classrooms. There have been several recent battles over evolution in the classroom. The most recent fight, in Dover, PA, saw the zealots resoundingly defeated, with the judge excoriating them for their lies and deceptions, including trying to pass off Intelligent Design as science rather than what it was, thinly veiled religious dogma.

The most important point to understand is that issues like evolution and global warming are largely settled matters within their respective scientific communities. Although there are always new advances in understanding, the core theories, that all animals evolved from a common ancestor, or that human activity contributes to increasing global warming above natural events, these theories are no longer under dispute scientifically. But since these Chistian Right groups, like Pat Robertson's or James Dobson's, object to these conclusions on RELIGIOUS grounds, because these conclusions conflict with and threaten their BELIEFS, they use the political system to try and create controversy where none exists. No one is suggesting, as Virginia foolishly states, that ALL Americans, or even most, are fundamentalists. What is shown, as it is in the book The Republican War on Science, by Chris Mooney, is that conservatives use narrow electoral majorities to throw up a lie-filled smokescreen in an attempt to portray debates over evolution as a contest between two equal positions, when the reality is that their beliefs are nothing but that: beliefs; while the scientific conclusion is robustly supported by overwhelming evidence.

Thus it is a sad state of affairs to see that these disingenuous religious zealots have been as successful as they have been. Their mendacious crusade to misrepresent scientific debate has resulted in a public that is incredibly misinformed on these scientific issues. Personally, I don't think I agree with Livid that our educational system is in such dire condition. In many respects, our education system is competent, and can, properly funded, produce well educated individuals. But that won't happen unless we are able to push back against the agendas of unscrupulous religious groups and their allies in the conservative movement.