Monday, June 11, 2007

Maybe Dawkins is right?

I've always been slightly sceptical of the likes of Richard Dawkins et al. and their claims that science (and in particular science education) is under serious threat from the fundamentalists in the US. After all, despite its professed christianity and odd right-wing fruitcake, this is still the country that has produced more Nobel Prize winners than any other, the home of MIT, Sillicon Valley and the Manhattan Project.

But some things do make you wonder. Take for instance this report from Gallup, that shows that depending how you ask the question between 40 and 70% of American's believe the world was created by God within the last 10,000 years. Given the oft-contested constitutional ban on the teaching of creationism and its bastard off-spring intelligent design (incidentally for a demolition of ID, and background into the legal fights surrounding it, the judgement in the famous Kitzmiller case is well worth a read) . Can teaching in American really be that bad that around 50% of the population prefer a demonstrable falsehood to the best current thinking in science. Deeply worrying whatever the cause, and maybe I should listen more closely to those siren voices.

3 Comments:

Blogger Tom Papworth said...

I don't think you need fear. Most of those giving the "creationist" response to Gallup will nonetheless have faith in all the science that really matters for most people.

As long as you believe in gravity, newtonian mechanics, the periodic table and so on, you can get along pretty well without evolution.

12:44 am  
Blogger Chris Black said...

I think we should fear quite a lot.

Once you say that divine intervention created mankind - and never mind about the fossil record - maybe it's a short step to:

"Stop worrying about Global Warming - its probably part of God's plan. After all, there's nothing in the Bible about CO2 or the periodic table"

"God can certainly tell us all how to behave sexually, after all , he designed us, didn't he?"

"All this nuclear physics data looks a bit atheistic to me. Anyway, all H-bombs will do is kill you quickly and send you to heaven"

9:49 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it quite amusing that while the rest of the world moves forward in their thinking, the nation that was founded on independant thought and freedom is de-evolving back to the dark ages with the pushing of religious dogma.Science, has brought us forward. Religion has opposed science since the beginning. Science has made life better, made us more intelligent. Religion is oppressive, ancient, and just plain lies. When a religious clown the likes of Farwell tells his followers to concentrate on stopping gay weddings and abortions and not to bother with global warming, thats the first sign America is in trouble. Morons like Bush stop scientific advances like stem cell research because they still believe in ancient fairy tales and use these myths to start wars and encite more religious termoil. I thought it was time to do something about the dumbing down of America.
I moved to Canada, where you can embrace real freedom. In Canada, a popular saying is, not freedom of religion but rather freedom from religion. America.....Your screwing yourself.

1:55 am  

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