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Friday, 8.26.05:  A Rant


That is why fundamentalism is on the rise. That is why savvy politicians everywhere are condoning "Intelligent Design."

They shriek and throw up their hands at the mess of a world we live in. "It's too complicated!!!! We look at the human eyeball and the bird's wing and all we can say is there must be an intelligent designer." (Because we're too stupid and too lazy to figure it out ourselves.)

We seem to be suffering from intelligence fatigue. The rational, scientific-method world (yes, traditionally and glaringly dominated by secular white men) is being assailed. In a perverse twist of "multiculturalism" and a newfound compulsion to be "fair and balanced," religious explanations of things are put on the same pedestal as scientific explanations of things.

The world is a complicated place and getting more complicated every day. Demands for detailed, logical thinking are on the rise, while educational systems get worse and worse. People's brains are plum tuckered out. People who are turning to religious fundamentalism are basically turning in their brains for instructions from "a higher power."  It wasn't always that way. Charles Darwin and his other 19th century colleagues were avidly curious about the world's complexity and applied their brains to figure out the underlying mechanisms at work. And they also believed in God.

Now people like Deepak Chopra are saying that "science is over."

Give me a break.

It's one thing to be open-minded and tolerant of different cultures and belief systems. It's another to say all explanations of how the world works are equal. Personally I'm glad to live in a culture where a belief in the scientific method has produced houses that don't fall down every time there is an earthquake. Call me whacky, but I like central heating, automobiles, and the internet. I appreciate antibiotics.

Somehow, the intelligence-fatigued fundamentalists can't project far enough into the future to see the logical consequences of forcing creationism into the public school systems. But all you have to do is look around you. What happened to the Egypt that built the pyramids? What happened to the great Islamic culture that invented arithmetic?

As the icecaps melt, as our highways and bridges crumble, as our Boards of Education spend all their time arguing over religious issues, we can't afford intelligence fatigue.

(Oh, dear -- look at the ads popping up with this! The irony...)




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