Sunday, November 28, 2004

The War On Science

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same
god who has endowed us with sense, reason and
   intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
With the self-described mandate of Bush and the Religious Right, we are witnessing a revival of good old fashioned religious persecution of science; the most famous example of which is the father of modern astronomy, Galileo:
"In 1615 Galileo was summoned before the Inquisition at Rome, and the mine which had been so long preparing was sprung. Sundry theologians of the Inquisition having been ordered to examine two propositions which had been extracted from Galileo's letters on the solar spots, solemnly considered these points during ahout a month and rendered their unanimous decision as follows: "The first proposition, that the sun is the centre and does not revolve about the earth, is foolish, absurd, false in theology, and heretical, because expressly contrary to Holy Scripture"; and "the second proposition, that the earth is not the centre but revolves about the sun, is absurd, false in philosophy, and, from a theological point of view at least, opposed to the true faith."
Centuries later it has been well proven that the Earth revolves around the Sun and that it is not flat. Of course, it has also been well proven that evolution happened and continues to happen all around us. The very notion that we are still forced to have this conversation eighty years after the Scopes Monkey trial is ludicrous.

These religious facists remind me of nothing more than the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal, the monster from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, who is so mind-bogglingly stupid it believes that if you can't see it, it can't see you.

There are Natural History Museums in almost every big city in the world. Inside them are tens of millions of fossils that date back hundreds of millions of years ago (and carbon dating is not a theory). These fossils are real. You can hold them in your hand. They weren't planted there as a gynormous hoax by the Almighty. The world was not created ten thousand years ago.

So why are we even talking about this?

Because we live under an Administration that's sole message is don't believe your lying eyes. On the economy. On Iraq. On healthcare. On the environment. As a result, the enlightened majority are forced to do battle with the intellectual equivalent of a urine sample.

And while we're forced to beat our heads against the brick wall of voodoo ignorance, other, more important battles aren't being fought. Millions of children and pregnant women are in danger from skyrocketing mercury levels. Thanks to budget cuts and "No Child Left Behind" our public schools have been forced to adhere to curriculums that discourage independent thinking in favor of regurgitating textbook answers (and forget about the Arts and Physical Education). We are raising a generation of fat, lazy, unimaginative children. who would rather play Grand Theft Auto than read a book or play outside. Something needs to be done or we will no longer lead the world, it will lead us.

So to those on the far right who want to de-educate our children with fundamentalist mumbo jumbo, I say get your ass to Saudi Arabia where you can open up your own Madrassa. The rock we're pushing up this hill is heavy enough without you sitting on top of it.

Click here for a further look at Science, Truth and the Church


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