Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The worst news ever?

According to a recent Gallup poll, the proportion of Americans who believe that God created humans in their present form within the past 10,000 years has actually bumped up recently, to 46%, about where it's been for decades. This is incredibly sad. In order to believe this you need to be ignorant not only of biology, geology and physics, but of history and indeed of simple common sense.

I had long presumed that generational change would push those numbers in the right direction -- that as people who grew up ignorant died off, better educated younger generations would steadily make acceptance of evolution pervasive. That the opposite is happening is deeply disturbing. Our schools are failing utterly, and so we have no future. People can now leave school rejecting overwhelming empirical evidence for incontestable fact, choosing instead atavistic ideology that survives only as a marker of tribal identity. And that has given us our utterly dysfunctional politics, where the multiple crises that confront us are met by the opposite of rational response.

Here's a very long post  from Brad DeLong on Tom Mann and Norman Ornstein discussing their new book about the Republican Party. Quoth Ornstein:

Now, one interesting question is how much can you hold together those private factors and you begin showing things that clearly cut directly against the interests and desires of their own constituency. Most of them have no clue what the government does. And if you think about it, you know, the Tea Part has a lot of older voters who don’t understand how this will affect them. Just to pick one example, cut Medicaid by 30% and eliminate the state and local tax deduction and then think about who is in a nursing home. Now they will still be in a nursing home, there will be one nurse’s aide for every 25 patients instead of one for every three, so you will never be seen. You will ring your little bell, and four days later somebody may stop by and say "oops, let’s remove that one, we are going to need another patient for this bed."

Maybe you don't see the connection, but I do.

1 comment:

robin andrea said...

I can never fully grasp how an idea as dumb as monotheism rooted and took hold for this long (AND IS GROWING!). We are absolutely doomed if this kind of thinking continues to displace rational thought and science. A scary future awaits. I'm pretty sure the elderly of the Tea Party won't need to ring for the nurse... they'll just pray for health. I heard it works!