I want to start my article by first saying that I love this country, The United States of America, despite all of it’s criticisms. (And I will be the first to point out an area that needs improvement.) I’ve noticed that, in the last couple of decades, this nation seems to have lost it’s intellectual drive that helped form it. More than lost its drive, it appears that we neglect it all together. I don’t believe that there is, necessarily, anyone to blame but ourselves. We ask the wrong questions and then we complain when we don’t get the answers we want. This, I believe, is at the core of our national ignorance. In a recent study done it shows that 40 percent of Americans do not believe in the theory of evolution. Of the 34 countries surveyed the only other country that had a higher percentage was Turkey. The rest of the world seems to have an understanding of evolution but children here are still being sent to private schools because their parent don’t like their kids learning about evolution and would rather them be taught creationism, which basically boils down to the earth being 6-10 thousand years old. The most turned over phrase, when discussing evolution with a creationist is, “well, it’s only a theory.” Yes, it is true that it is a theory. Have you ever heard of “Gravitational Theory”?
It all comes back to asking the right questions. I think this is paramount in the two most widely discussed, taboo topics. These two topics can qualify as both ‘widely discussed’ and ‘taboo’ because you can talk about them, as long as you don’t disagree with the person to whom you are talking. Religion and politics. (yeah, like you didn’t see that coming.)
With both of these subjects, each person is going to have their own opinions. Not facts, opinions. Very few people actually have facts on either religion or politics, and the few that do are comedians, not politicians or clergymen. I digress, if you are talking with someone of a different political stance or religious belief than you things are likely going to get heated. Why? Because no one likes to be told they’re wrong and by disagreeing, you are telling them they’re wrong.
Well, they do. But mostly because they have this little thing called faith. Now this is a tricky concept that has tip toed it’s way into our culture in the last few millenniums and this is a dangerous concept, if you aren’t careful.
The most common understanding of faith is exactly as it states in the picture above. Now, faith isn’t a bad thing, that’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that, what if, our experience and knowledge of how our world works contradicts what our faith has been, what do we do?
Judging from the survey taken, most Americans choose to ignore evidence placed at their feet.
If 40 percent of the citizens of the United States of America dismiss evidence that is readily available, then we have a problem. The problem is, truth doesn’t matter, what does matter is that I’m comfortable in my beliefs, no matter how invalid they are. This is a terrifying idea. If faith has become a way, not to reinforce what has already been proven, but to assert what cannot be validated then we cannot better our nation. We will become a country (I have to snicker at the tense of that statement) filled with ignorant citizens that make uneducated decisions based on unscientific ideas and religious dogmatism. We ask the question, “how did we get here”, but, when the answer is placed in front of us we ignore it out of religious obligation.
And, of course, political views do this on a regular basis. When Senator John McCain was asked in an interview if this nation was began with the intention of being a Christian nation he answered ‘yes’.
And I believe that says it all folks. Anyone who says that America was founded as a Christian nation is no more correct if he or she said that America was founded as a Muslim nation, or a Jewish nation, or a nation based based on Scientology. It’s ignorant thinking that is based in nothing more than wishful thinking grounded in blind faith.