Thursday, September 20, 2007

I tremble for my country ...

... when I reflect that at least half of Americans reject the reality of evolution. And as you can see from the image to the left, only 30% of Republicans acknowledge the fact of evolution.

We live in an age ruled by science and the technology that it has yielded, yet we have millions of Americans that disbelieve a fact that is the backbone of the biological sciences and is one of the most profound discoveries in human history. And even worse, we have a political party that has made disbelief in one of the most robust theories in science as apparently a core position of the party.
It's difficult for me to express how disheartening I find this. To me, this is as absurd as it would be were a poll to find the same numbers of Americans refuse to believe that the Earth orbits the Sun.

I lack the skill to express why this is so troubling to me any better than the late Carl Sagan put it in The Demon Haunted-World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.

Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grand children's time ... when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstitions and darkness.

2 comments:

Paul said...

Sagan puts his finger on the core issue, which is the sloppy thinking that comes of willful ignorance. A society that refuses to distinguish between the truthfulness of such things as evolutionary theory and creationism is a society that cannot think clearly enough to long govern itself.

vRad said...

Wow...That Sagan quote is so spot on! I am glad you brought it to my attention.

And this situation is really sad. Dont know how it can be resolved.