Thursday, August 17, 2006

American Taliban: or how to destroy civilization

Why bother with the old scientific method of gathering data, analyzing it, making hypotheses as to the underlying cause and testing those hypotheses? Seems like religion has it all answered for us – neatly tied up in a (mostly) 2000+ year old book brought to you by the same folks that are still trying to turn the clock back in the Middle-East to the time of Moses.

That's what most Republicans and the religious right would have you believe: and the concept is undermining the very foundation of our society and way of life.

A recent study posed the statement: "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals."

Here’s what the populations of the world’s countries have to say about that statement:

The study goes on to postulate the reason why the US scored so poorly.
The total effect of fundamentalist religious beliefs on attitude toward evolution (using a standardized metric) was nearly twice as much in the United States as in the nine European countries (path coefficients of -0.42 and -0.24, respectively), which indicates that individuals who hold a strong belief in a personal God and who pray frequently were significantly less likely to view evolution as probably or definitely true than adults with less conservative religious views.

The number two problem?
Second, the evolution issue has been politicized and incorporated into the current partisan division in the United States in a manner never seen in Europe or Japan. In the second half of the 20th century, the conservative wing of the Republican Party has adopted creationism as a part of a platform designed to consolidate their support in southern and Midwestern states—the "red" states. In the 1990s, the state Republican platforms in seven states included explicit demands for the teaching of "creation science". There is no major political party in Europe or Japan that uses opposition to evolution as a part of its political platform.

"American Protestantism is more fundamentalist than anybody except perhaps the Islamic fundamentalists, which is why Turkey and we are so close," said study co-author Jon Miller of Michigan State University.
The politicization of science in the name of religion and political partisanship is not new to the United States, but transformation of traditional geographically and economically based political parties into religiously oriented ideological coalitions marks the beginning of a new era for science policy. The broad public acceptance of the benefits of science and technology in the second half of the 20th century allowed science to develop a nonpartisan identification that largely protected it from overt partisanship. That era appears to have closed.

And there you have it. The Republican Party - Religious Right marriage has successfully conspired to dumb-down the American populace over the last several decades. I shutter to think where this is going…

Amazingly, this “couple from hell” simultaneously screams about radical Islamic fundamentalism. They decry the tyranny and oppression such belief systems inevitably impose on their citizenry (especially when they are used as the basis for government) and argue that such oppression results in the types of failed societies we see... Hence fearless leader’s call for ‘democratization’ of the Middle East as the panacea.

Of course, the solution they propose for the ills they see in our society is beginning to bring about the conditions they decry abroad. While democratization is helping to entrench fundamentalism in "legitimate" government.

Could our world be on a more devastating course?


skip sievert said...

Crash test ahead, buckle up , looks like a bad wreck. The people you mention here actualy promote the idea that we are going to destroy ourselves, then their funny Mr.god will take over, and fix every thing. Uh oh. ,,,... Maybe there is some way to stop these cracy devils. If not ,,,

Reign of Reason said...

It is scary. They view Armageddon as a good thing.

What will it take to convince these people they are living in a mythical world?

Capt. Fogg said...

You know, this is really scary stuff. MAybe this is the way America will end, not with a bang, but an Amen.

Reign of Reason said...

You have a rather pointed way of putting things Capt... It rather scares me.

I wish I could see the trend more clearly: I believe that religiosity is on the decline nationwide. However, fundamentalism is on the rise. Unfortunately these are the folks that seem to be the most vocal and currently hold sway in the political process.

Whether their influence waxes or wanes -- I don't know...

skip sievert said...

I guess they are brain washed, and unconcious. Victims really. If we had a educational system that separated belief, from fact , and taught with the view not to prepare people to live in a corrupt society, as we have now, but to contribute as a proud citizen in a good society , things would be very different.
We have to change our cultural template , and then the type of society we have will change.
It would appear that the desire right now is to hang on to the bubble of false value which will burst soon, instead of making real change.
Maybe events will force us. I hope so if we want to survive.

Reign of Reason said...

That is the problem: so many americans confuse facts with belief.... I just don't get it.

How a responsible adult teaches their kids that Adam and God sat down and named all of the species on earth (as told in Genesis) is amazing.

I guess it wouldn't be so bad if most kids out-grew the notions -- like Santa -- but they don't.