Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Inherit the Wind

It's been either a subtext or a secondary point in several of my previous posts, but it deserves focused consideration -- the "Christian" right attack on science and reason is probably the most dangerous phenomenon in our culture today. This is a multi-headed hydra of peril and destruction. Ultimately, there is a substantial faction of Christian dominionists who wish to impose theocratic rule over the United States, and go on to conquer the world for their vision of the Kindgom. It is disturbing that people so deranged have substantial influence with the Bush administration, but their project has little prospect of going very far.

However, they do damage enough as it is. The view of the United States as engaged in a "Global War on Terror" which is in fact a war between God and Satan profoundly shapes our foreign policy. Indeed, it appears that Mr. Bush himself believes this, based on numerous of his public remarks. But Bush has not publicly equated the satantic forces with Islam, as many of his followers do -- including the army general William Boykin, who is in charge of antiterrorist operations. Short of this Manichean view of global affairs, many fundamentalists support Israeli expansionism and have allied themselves with the most violently nationalist elements in Israel because they believe Israeli conquest of all of the historic land of Judea will bring about the apocalypse. As they anticipate the end of time, they see no reason to preserve the terrestrial environment as a life support system.

Regardless of how the current violence and turmoil in the Middle East and elsewhere evolves, they have already succeeded in assuring that a large percentage of American school children will remain ignorant about basic facts that can save their lives, by intimidating teachers into avoiding the subject of evolution. Those children will grow up without essential elements of health literacy, unable to comprehend microbial drug resistance, the etiology of cancer, and other concepts that will enable them to communicate with their physicians, make appropriate decisions about their health care, and properly manage their own treatment. And of course they will not understand the most fundamental and critical issues of public policy, and will be misinformed citizens and voters.

Listen folks: we know more than the people did who made up stories to explain what they could not understand in 2000 BC. I, for one, don't care to go back there.

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