Enviroweb is the blog by a aquatic and environmental scientist Eugene Macri on all aspects of the environment,science, ecology, health, educational science and the politics involved. ©2006 All Rights Reserved E. Macri. Permission to reprint or use electronically as long as credit is given and we are notified.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

The Dark Ages: Evolution and Idiot America

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.



Oscar Wilde


Well it comes to no surprise to this scientist that another recent poll showed most Americans don’t believe in evolution. These polls vary greatly but it’s usually something to the effect that 55 to 75% believe the biblical story of creation. Usually anywhere from 20 to 30% believe in evolution and natural selection. The other mixed percentage believe God directed evolution.

It’s 2006 in America and more people believe in extra terrestrials and UFOs than evolution! And you wonder why we are such a screwed up nation. In 2006 we are still fighting Galileo’s battles (separation of church and state), and Darwin’s battles (evolution and natural selection). America is a semi-literate nation and a scientifically illiterate nation, and we don’t give a damn!

I went to a Catholic school and was taught evolution by nuns!!!!! The fundamentalist religious right revels in such poll numbers because it’s part of their plan for taking over this nation. These people have a great amount of time, money, and run for school boards, and play the game by trying to get people at every step elected who will attack science at every turn.

The strange thing about America is that most people don’t want religion, creationism, or intelligent design taught in science class. Most Americans and the great Bush Kingdom couldn’t pass a basic science test. They have no idea about fundamental concepts of science and how it affects their daily lives.

There are a number of reasons for this including this nation’s anti-intellectual and anti-educational temperament. This started during the time of the robber barons in this country who had distrust for the educated man and continues in the Bush entourage and many politicians who go to college not to get educated but to make connections for future business ventures. The religious right is the most anti-intellectual group in the country. Just recently Falwell made another great scientific statement claiming scientists who believe in global warming are in the minority and are part of the government. Too bad for Jerry it’s the exact opposite. Probably 95% of climate experts believe in global warming and the few that do not usually work for the oil industry. They often claim that colleges and universities are nothing more than liberal bastions and wish to destroy America with “their crazy educational ideas.” It’s kind of amazing that they somehow survived this indoctrination. Colleges, universities, and education in general are constantly attacked by these groups as well as the religious right who wish to control the population through mysticism, guilt, and fear. I have outlined this before but let’s do it again just to get the full brunt of this attack.

Part of the problem lies in the college and university system itself. For some reason in science departments of America’s colleges and universities the only thing that matters is that you publish. This is a rather strange phenomenon which may not exist in the rest of the world. In fact, American scientists who go on television, or even in the print media are looked down upon. Sometimes this is due to deans, and chairmen of the schools not wanting anything said that would jeopardize their grants from industry and government.

There are other reasons including that many scientist don’t feel comfortable speaking to the public in such venues because of the “sound bite” mechanism allowed for by the media. They really can’t answer the question in thirty seconds or less. The simplification doctrine of the media precludes any truly scientific discussion and analysis that is required for understanding. Also, some scientists unfortunately have disdain for talking to the public…perhaps a snob approach but it’s there.

Have you ever noticed just how many scientist from places like the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and other educational stations tend to be British or foreign? At one time scientists actually carried and expressed their work to the public but if this is done today, many in the scientific community would consider it grandstanding and don’t believe that it’s the role of the scientist to do this!

So scientists in America have created their own problem and we will all pay the price for it. We have few people going into science compared to many other nations. The first reason for this which no one wants to buy is because science is a much more difficult discipline. Most Americans aren’t smart enough to get through such a rigorous curriculum. Scientific thinking requires a great amount comprehension and analysis. Watch television and tell me when was the last time you saw anything discussed with those two attributes.

The second reason is that science is not one of the glamour positions such as political science, media, business and other related disciplines and usually has less financial rewards. Consider Congress, the majority of people who have degrees in both the House and the Senate come from two fields: political science and law. Of course, this angers many people who believe otherwise but the science degrees at any level requires the most effort as well as knowledge and intelligence. That’s not to say that other degrees don't require intelligence…but there just is no comparison to getting a Phd in political science and one in biology. Scientists have failed in educating the public and science including evolution is not embraced by Americans.

So now you know why we are such a screwed up nation. Most people in America think commencement means to end something…like their high school experience. Our populace grows more scientifically illiterate each day. The world is passing them by and they can only understand things that are over simplified and put into a thirty second sound bite. We stand on the edge of the Dark Ages in America and the media just sucks it in and fails to understand why this is so important. Everything from our jobs, survival as species, and our culture probably depends on having an educated populace but it doesn't seem to matter. Evolution and natural selection have become the punching bag for the religious right, most Republicans, and some Democrats who don’t have the guts to stand up to the mysticism, and the anti-intellectual climate of the Dark Ages in America. Therefore, science will not prosper and neither will we.



With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.



Steven Weinberg

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