Saturday, June 09, 2007

Animals r us

From CNN:

Debate evolves into religious discussion

Story Highlights

• Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, defends biblical creation narrative
• John McCain, an Episcopalian, says "the hand of God" made us what we are
• Sam Brownback, a Catholic, says religion and reason are not at odds

Reading further, we find that Huckabee went on to say that people who wanted to believe they were descended from a primate were welcome to do so.

He then contested the relevance of the question:

"It's interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president," Huckabee said. "I'm not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I'm asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States."

Even if we leave aside the question of whether a president of the United States should have at least an eighth grade education (humans are unquestionably primates, so what does he think he is?), these Republican debates expose an ignorance so vast that it qualifies as insanity.

The general belief system of Huckabee, a total moron, is shared by literally millions of Americans who have had at least a modicum of education and uncounted millions, if not billions, of poorly educated people throughout the world.

Science be damned. We’re gonna believe what the preacher says. We don’t need no stinkin’ books, not even the Bible, though it helps if you know how to read it.

Common sense tells us we didn’t descend from no apes. Common sense tells us an all-powerful being created the universe, us, and everything else. Common sense tells us we’re special.

And if common sense fails, we have John McCain:
"There's no doubt in my mind that the hand of God was in what we are today. And I do believe that we are unique, and [I] believe that God loves us."

Or Sam Brownback:
"I believe we are created in the image of God for a particular purpose, and I believe that with all my heart," said Brownback, a Roman Catholic. "I am fully convinced there's a God of the universe that loves us very much and was involved in the process.“

This common sense view that there is a super being who created the universe and has a special love for us humans (primates as well as Huckabees) is shared by the overwhelming majority of Americans -- liberal, conservative, and politically apathetic -- and most of the rest of the world as well.

Well-meaning people may differ on which God created the universe and how exactly it cares about our individual lives, and they can certainly disagree on how it did it, whether by evolution, incantation, a twitch of the nose or a nod of the head, but everybody simply must agree that common sense tells us that some all-powerful super being somehow, someway, did the deed.

But of course that belief is not common sense. With what we know about the vastness of space and time, as well as the evolution of life on earth, it is ignorant.

It is insane.

The universe we know is something like 17 billion years old. There are something like 200 billion galaxies each containing 200 billion stars. Our planet is what a grain of sand is to the Sahara, if that, in the big picture. Modern human history is more like a molecule in a grain of sand compared to the vast Sahara of time.

The idea that some super being set all that in motion, created the vast and incredible universe, then waited 17 billion years to focus on us as individuals represents stupidity on a scale nearly as vast as the cosmos. And that’s not even considering the fact that even if that were true, the all-powerful super being is an idiot who botched it badly. For billions of humans, this is a world of shit, with little peace, and less justice.

Common sense, based on what we know (science), tells us there is no God. Common sense should tell us that the continued belief in an all-powerful super being who cares is nothing more than primitive baggage from the early days of human evolution.

Beyond that, common sense also tells us that the fact that we still have serious contenders for presidency-- not to mention the president himself -- who believe such utter nonsense demonstrates just how close we are to our chimp-like ancestors.

And it’s equally, if not more disturbing to note that the major media refuse to accurately report the facts about religion and science. In this case, the reporter alluded to the fact that humans are primates, but failed to say so directly. The enlightenment is dimming. The future looks dark.

On a related note, this article in the Guardian argues that we should stop respecting religions and those who practice them, at least when it comes to public policy.

I’ll agree with that and suggest we go a step further and stop using the word “religion.” For what is religion if not a belief in the supernatural?

We have a word for belief in the supernatural. We call it superstition.

We also have a word for people who believe in the supernatural. We call them superstitious.