Discussing the recent exposure of the make-up of the House committee on science when it was viewed in light of current issues involving a woman's reproductive rights, I remarked that the most depressing thing is the committee members' total ignorance of science. Science has come under attack by the religious right entirely for the reason that both cannot be right. Either we evolved from primitive forms over hundreds of thousands of years, or we came into existence at the same time as dinosaurs approximately 6,000 years ago. Take your pick. Acceptance of one negates the other -- for you at least. And you can fall back on a ton of scientific data that says only fools go around claiming God put fossils in the earth "to fool the Darwinists."
Almost all of the committee members debating such things as trans-vaginal devices, sonograms of fetuses, funding for birth control advice groups, &c. are Republicans, and I'd wager all are evangelicatholics. (These are Christians who tend to be evangelicals or Catholics, and both houses of Congress are full of them.) They have them in the Senate, too; however, the ones in the Senate tend to be more sensible and less likely to choose myth over reason. The most alarming thing about the committee, however, is that its members know little to nothing about science. They do not care about the scientific method. Do they know that critical thinking leads to rejection of dogma? Are they afraid that if the atheists take over, the nation will be given over to immorality? Do they believe Eve talked to a snake and that Mosheh went up the mountain and came back with the Decalogue -- Moses, a totally mythical figure having no recorded history whatsoever.
Ignorance of science led to the humiliation and torture of untold thousands who uttered truth in the face of fiction. Galileo is the most famous, but he was not the first nor last, and dogma's imprisonment of humanity, its enslavement of us through silly proscriptions and appeals to fear and superstition, its justification of our irrational treatment of others unlike ourselves -- all are part of a continuing history of violence, intimidation, and terroristic tactics. Yes, terrorism! When these lunatics inspire others to murder abortion doctors, torch gay bars, drag African-Americans by rope behind pick-up trucks, &c., &c., &c., what else can their words of hate be seen as?
Ignorance of science is the most disturbing thing about religion. After all, if you can say, "Trust in the Lord" and go about your day without a thought to why prayer was seen in a study to make hospital patients actually get worse, then you are a danger to humanity. The same fatalism we criticize Muslims for exhibiting our own religious people prove part of their mind set. "The Lord will provide." Better apply for food stamps. "God helps those who help themselves." Help yourself to a bank vault through force of arms. Science has explained all of the mysteries, but people go on believing. They know nothing of science and they do not want to know anything of it. Their pastors and priests do not want them to know anything about it, either.
The Bible says that the truth shall make you free. If the religious nuts have their way, there will never be freedom. Only freedom from dogma is devoutly to be wished.
The mental institutions have always been filled with unfortunates who have dangerous religious ideations. Wonder where they got them.
I know what you mean. When I was just starting out in law, I got court-appointed to do the "mentals." Each month, a different judge is assigned to hold court in the mental ward of a local hospital, conducting "commitments." Usually, the applicant is a parent, husband, friend, whatever, alleging that the patient is unable to handle his or her own affairs and must be institutionalized. I recall one in particular, a guy who was convinced that Stevie Wonder had stolen all of his songs. I think he had written down the lyrics to some Wonder songs and claimed he had written them and Wonder was a thief and a fraud. He also had a major fixation on religion. In fact, it was rare to find a commitment client who was not obsessed with religion. So I know just what you said, Lillie.
Yes, but why can't the relatively sane ones speak up when one of the genuine loonies says things like "the hurricane was caused by women getting abortions"?
It's considered "judgemental" if you step forward and say, "That's nonsense!" when someone comes up with some absurd statement. It's not PC to question someone else's beliefs - even when they're nonsensical.
It really becomes a problem when they try to get these absurdities passed into law or into public policy. It becomes an ongoing problem when they move their war on science to the classroom - making the schools a religio-political debating forum and doing no teaching. This is not going on in most of the rest of the world - who are embracing technology. They will surpass the US in their technology - including lifesaving and military technologies. The US will be relegated to another third-world theocracy before it is taken over by someone who has people trained in the scientific method developing their weapons of war.
I wish I were a cartoonist. I would draw a small boy coming home from school and his dad asks what he learned that day. The boy says he learned how the cosmos was created in six days, that Eve talked to a snake, that Noah put dinosaurs on the Ark, and that they can't eat mom's leftover pork roast, especially if she fries it in butter. The second panel shows the boy going down the hall, taking his backpack off, the face of the dad the very epitome of horror, right out of the painting by Munch.
At the risk of carping, I'll point out again that when you say "religion," you're really describing evangelical, pentecostal, and fringe Catholic Christians. Most Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, and even Lutherans and mainstream Catholics accept the fact of evolution and the age of the earth. But rather than correct their "brothers in Christ" who take extreme positions, they sit quietly and look out the window. So yes, it does sound as if virtually all Christians are the bunch on the radical fringe. Pity, really.
This was debated by Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan on a religion web site a while back, Harris taking the position that the mainstreamers are the enablers of the kooks. My sentiments exactly.
They are not just the enablers of kooks, but also the enablers of violent terrorists. There's only a small step between being a "prayer warrior" and being a "warrior for God". By encouraging this, they are enabling and encouraging those who would take the "war" literally.
Christianity from its beginning has hated science and scientist. Richard Carrier does a excellent job exposing this hatred in his Early Christian Hostility to Science.