A significant part of the population lacks the most elementary understanding of the physical processes that determine how the world works. The sun revolves around the earth, which is the center of the universe. Illness is caused by the evil eye, or by witches. All things came into being at the same time, 4,000 years ago.
A large part of the population acts as if
the scientific discoveries of the past five centuries
did not exist.
It is bad enough that so many people lack the elementary education that would allow them to understand the common physical world, a shortcoming hard to explain in a nation that provides a dozen years of free schooling to all children. It is worse when they elect government representatives just as ignorant. It is much worse when these people want laws that clearly contradict reality. And then there are the school boards that reject science altogether, as in Texas. These people are crippling our children’s future.
The three hottest “political” topics in recent years have been abortion, creation, and evolution. But they aren’t really about politics; they are about beliefs.
There can be legitimate concern about the topic of abortion. After all, nobody, Roe-supporting liberals included, thinks abortion is a good thing. The problem arises with absolutism, as it did in Ireland recently, when the Irish state murdered a pregnant woman and her unborn rather than give her the medical abortion that would have saved her life, which is no less murder than shooting her. Is that the intention of anti-abortionists? Why do staunch anti-abortionists pay no attention to the millions of American children who live in poverty, or to the 13,000 young children worldwide—living, breathing, children, whose parents love them—who die every day from easily cured conditions? But they defend a dot of cells too small to see, half of which will abort naturally. How compassionate. How humane.
There are living trees older than 4,000 years.
We observe evolution in the flu virus
There is no possibility the earth and the universe could be only 4,000 years old, as creationists claim, since we have dated living trees to earlier than that just by counting their rings. Carbon-14 dating is accurate to 50,000 years, when modern humans first arrived in Europe, and many things have been conclusively dated to those earlier dates. The Hubble telescope sees light that we can prove took 13-billion years to reach us. The accuracy of all such things can be challenged, but only by science itself. If you want to disprove them, you will have to construct a new theory explaining why Einstein was wrong, why Stephen Hawking is wrong. You’ll also have to devise a new mathematics that supersedes the present mathematics that allows us to calculate space flight, which means, to begin with, that you’ll have to know how rocket science is done now.
Every year the NIH waits to see what new flu virus has evolved, so that a counteracting vaccine can be quickly manufactured and distributed. Last year’s vaccine will not do the job, because one year is long enough for a virus to mutate and evolve into a new virus. Proofs in the many thousands show us that life develops by mutations that provide an evolutionary advantage to a species. Most evolutionary changes in complex animals take so long that a single human life isn’t nearly long enough to observe species evolution directly. Our species has been the same for 200,000 years. But the evolution of bacteria and viruses is evolution in everyday life, yet fundamentalists continue to insist, in spite of the annual evolutionary changes they personally experience, that all the living things were made by God all at once, and have not changed. What evolution deniers say is not only not possible, it is actually harmful.
We simply cannot allow the scientifically illiterate
to have any political control of the country.
Things that appear in the Bible were written thousands of years before there were ways to realistically estimate the planet’s age or make complex calculations. The many people who wrote the Bible did the best they could, but didn’t yet have science to help them, and could only estimate from what they knew and had heard. Four thousand years seemed like a vastly long time then. Yet there are many who insist on the accuracy of Bible dates from that time of pre-scientific ignorance, and simply shut their minds when indisputable evidence to the contrary is presented. These people want to make laws that are contrary to reality. They want to teach our children their myths, and those children would grow up worse off than the North Koreans, whose entire education consists of state lies. This is child abuse.
We can tolerate the poor fools who deceive themselves with such nonsense, but we simply cannot allow the scientifically illiterate to have any role in determining policy. If our children grew up believing only such fantasy, they would be forever crippled in competition with all those not so abused. They would become laughing stock in an educated world.