Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Republicans and Science: A Dawkins Op-ed

You don't have to love Richard Dawkins; you don't have to agree with his opinions on religion; but when it comes to science and a certain major American political party's denialism, I don't think you really get to argue.

"To die in ignorance of [the theory of evolutions'] elegance, and power to explain our own existence, is a tragic loss, comparable to dying without ever having experienced great music, great literature or a beautiful sunset." - Richard Dawkins

p.s. Don't read the comments if you want to persist in the belief that Americans are, as a whole, thoughtful, critically-thinking individuals.

p.p.s. For another example of the behavior and critical thinking skills of an evolution denialist, how about this?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Let's Go Crazy

I am of two minds about Glenn Beck. One is that he's a hateful ideologue who, if he believes even a quarter of the things he says, is insane, and if he does not believe them, he's a charlatan.

So when I get an email petition asking me to tell radio stations to drop his show, I immediately want to sign.

Then the other mind pops up with its devil horns, saying that it doesn't matter if his radio show ends. In this day and age, there is no getting rid of this kind of invective because of the availability of technology. Mr. Beck has plenty of money to sustain an active Internet presence, which will always guarantee him an income and a following. Getting rid of his radio show will just add to the widely-held and entirely ridiculous idea that he and his right wing brethren are persecuted.

Sure, he pulled what amounts to a gigantic and ridiculous Godwin, comparing the Norwegian Labor Party summer camp to the Hitler Youth, but comparisons to Hitler are both the last refuge of the intellectually desperate and despairingly common. Should we be surprised? Next, he will find a way to blame liberals and eventually president Obama for the attacks in Norway, not the individual psychosis of a reprehensible man who tragically and remorselessly committed grievous acts because of fear, paranoia, and delusion. Perhaps you can blame mental illness, religion, and extreme right-wing ideology, but you can't blame the victim.

Still, somewhere in Mr. Beck's head, it makes sense to him, and because he is an American, he gets to say it. The powers that be have colluded to give him an ongoing platform to make his case, and he gets to make it. He also gets to be challenged. And he gets to be wrong.

A far as I am concerned, at this point, these people need to keep it up and even ramp it up. They probably need to acquire even more power if only to wake up the sleeping majority of citizens in this country who think that 95% of this babble is nonsense. Voters need to realize that enough people take this minority seriously enough to have elected many of their own in the last major election cycle, putting an entire political party under thrall to their narrow policy view.

In an age where an individual such as Michele Bachmann can be put forward as a front runner for the highest office in our land, the American conscience really needs a collective kick in the nuts.