Monday, September 18, 2006

Penn on Evolution

So if you've read much on this blog, you'll see that I often wring my hands and gnash my teeth over continuing American ignorance about evolution - one thing I haven't mentioned is that America ranks 2nd to last in accepting evolution in this survey. The only country that ranked lower was Turkey. And that still bothers me - very much. I think engineering and science drive a country's prosperity, and I think that the actions of the Religious Right may have some damaging consequences.

However, I did hear something from Penn when he was on Bill Maher's show, and it's probably one of the sanest things I've heard about the evolution "controversy" in some time. Penn said that everyone that needs to accept evolution, accepts it. In other words, all the people jabbering about it and are not doing science are mostly irrelevant (e.g., the Discovery Institute, religious Republicans holding office, and random dittoheads duped by the "teach the controversy" nonsense). This is because there is no real "controversy" in science about evolution - at least not in the way the creationists try to paint it. That is a very insightful notion, even if it does seem obvious once it's mentioned.

The only thing that concerns me is that the wingnuts are trying to choke off knowledge at very impressionable ages. However, as Penn mentioned, Richard Dawkins also had a religious upbringing. And when I thought about it some more, so did Michael Shermer, and that lightens my mood quite a bit. Also, Darwin himself was a creationist at one point. So I guess the point is that at least as long as America remains a free society, these types of people won't stay in the dark forever, and will eventually come around to doing science if that is their wont.

Sean, don't wring your hands or knash your teeth about this apparently ignorant nation. The national passion over fundamentlist Christianity is just a fever. Sure, this fever has been raging for the past 20 years. But it will pass. As all fevers do.

Hey, is there any way I can short this Christian fever and at least make a few bucks when the fever does break? There's gotta be a way ...

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