Monday, August 06, 2012

From my facebook thread

What is wrong with this picture? A flipped out nazi racist shoots up a Sikh religious group even as we land a SUV-sized rover on Mars. We are told by Fox News and the NRA that we must accept these shootings of innocent people as an expression of our freedoms and that we are to shrug off the deaths as mundane. On the other hand, we casually accept the fact we are capable of sending a huge and complex appliance to Mars millions of miles away and land it gently in a carefully chosen crater to look for intelligent life and to study geological strata. If we are capable of such fantastic science and logical thought, why do we accept acts of such heartbreaking stupidity? Why can't we fix this?

Suzie Kidnap: we can fix it. we need to get people of normal intelligence to pay attention to politics. right now, the oligarchy has a brain dead army of simpletons who will carry out their kings' every command, and vote as they are told. and that army is basically unopposed at this point.

Ellroon Gravenstone: Which is why education and science are being mocked, and faith is praised more than intelligence. I just can't get my head around how we can walk into this Era of Stupid without protest. How can the army of simpletons be greater than those of us who think?

Suzie Kidnap: i don't think they are greater in number. i think they are more motivated because they have been stirred up by wedge isssues; race, abortion, the gays. they are paying attention, and most of the normals still aren't. i fear what it might take to wake people up. the pace of these massacres in increasing in an alarming way. i am starting to be afraid to go out of the house.

Ellroon Gravenstone: Recall the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia where they killed all the doctors and other educated 'elites'... and then wonder when Fox News will incite the next moron to go kill those who dare to read books. (Fahrenheit 451 anyone?)

Ellroon Gravenstone: I remember one man entering our living room which is lined with book shelves. His first sentence was an aggressive,"Have you read all these books?".... He was mollified to hear I hadn't. Didn't show him the rest of the house ... bookshelves in every room.


Steve Bates said...

We had one of Stella's brothers as a house guest last weekend. He is a deeply decent guy, not surprising as he grew up in the same household as Stella. But he is a fundamentalist evangelical... moderate for such a believer, but still...

Yesterday, we went to a Half Price Books outlet (the used bookstore chain that makes Texas worth living in) for all of us to shop. I promptly found two books ("promptly" is how I shop, because cripples like me don't get much time on their feet before they have to quit), Stephen Hawking's The Illustrated Brief History of Time with The Universe in a Nutshell (both in one volume), and... Richard Dawkins's The Greatest Show on Earth.

I waited for Stella's brother to remark on the Dawkins book. Gentleman that he is, he did not. But he's in Houston on a business trip, and if his wife had been with him, she would have said something.

It is exasperating to me that such people know only one thing about Dawkins: he's an atheist. They can't tell you what his field of research is. They haven't read any of his books, even if they protest his appearances. They have been told one thing... a true thing, as it happens... and all the good Dawkins has done for those of us outside of any field of biology or paleontology in educating us is suddenly worthless. I don't know if I can say "that is absolutely wrong"; everyone is entitled to his/her crack-brained opinion. But it doesn't speak well of religious fundamentalism that that is, apparently, the best they can do.

In my former church, a UU church for which I still feel a great affinity, if I were delegated the task of a reading one Sunday, I could read from Dawkins without anyone's batting an eye. They might debate me on the substance of his work, but they would do that if I read from the Christian New Testament. I really do feel that approach is, on some very basic level, more humane.

ellroon said...

I just finished his book "Climbing Mt. Improbable" which discussed in great detail how evolution works. I understood about a third of it, but read it with interest. Dawkins has been taking on fights with evangelicals for a while now, standing up for science and the logical mind. I hear you. His atheism has gotten him notoriety, but his science is what makes him notable.