Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bad science

So here's a map of the USA (from Slate) with creationist schools marked as coloured dots like little colonies of bacilli on a Petri dish. There seems to be some definite concentrations of this religiously inspired wilful ignorance or as enlightened people would call them "educational black-spots", these include Tennessee and Mississippi followed closely by Florida and Indiana.

The "Christianisation" impact of this kind of abandonment of reason on the American economy won't be known until these students enter the work-force but I can't help thinking that in some places the religious right are raising up the least scientifically curious generation in several centuries, ironically just at the point in history when we have the biggest Human challenges to face. Questions such as climate change, food production, energy deficit and environmental destruction. No doubt these kids will be eminently well qualified to pray for deliverance from these threats and will excel at telling each other feel-good allegorical myths by candlelight (when the power goes out)

Science is used as a political football in many places (including the UK) the more the opponents of progress and change make it look the same as "just another opinion" the easier it is for them to insert their own particular flavour of dogma and scripture into the public arena. We see this all the time with things like climate change and so called "alternative medicines" where the masters of the anecdote ply their trade in fear, obfuscation and doubt; sucking in unwary recruits with sound-bites of certainty born of conclusions that are engineered to be immune from testing.

Along with the rise of theocratic, radical lunacy in the Middle East this fundamentalist regression in the heart of a leading secular nation paints a depressing picture; to me it looks like an object lesson in how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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