Thank you Phil Plait, for posting this on Bad Astronomy… I almost spit up watching it, I was laughing so hard. I have to go along with Phil on this; Louis CK rocks, at least here.
I teach college students who’ve never seen a rotary phone… it would be truly interesting to see what students today would do with one, if presented the thing as a kind of anthropological experiment. They’d be as mystified as I if someone handed me an astrolabe and said, “Find the West Indies”. Except I’d be trying to use something I’d only seen in a museum or a historical drama set 300 years ago. Technology is now advancing so rapidly that common devices from 30 years ago are just as alien and crude to modern people in the industrialized world, as Medieval devices would have been to me as a child in the late 1960s.
Science and rational thinking have provided that. All of it. Every microprocessor, alloy, antibiotic, light bulb, tin can, automobile, record harvest, or drink of clean water we enjoy in the modern era. People take all this for granted, most of us existing only because of what science and technology enables, such as the amount of food required to feed over six billion humans at once. In fact today we can even make enough food to support the kind of parasites who cry for the veneration of mythology and superstition as the greatest pillars of civilization.
I use the word parasites in a strict technical sense: Those who take from an ecology (or economy) yet contribute nothing, such as people who shriek full time to have folkloric lies taught as science in public schools, or who urge us to discard bright avenues of life-saving medical research because of concerns over magical genies inside fertilized human eggs. People who think imaginary creatures are in charge of the universe… creatures with whom they communicate directly, on a regular basis. Their approach provides nothing, contributes nothing, except stupidity and ignorance enough to cripple an otherwise functioning society.
Be free to think whatever cool fantasies about the world you want, but please try to remember when it comes time to vote, or advocate public policy, that it wasn’t those cool fantasies that got us here. It was science, evidence, hard work, and clear thinking.