No Laughing Matter (More’s the Pity)

Teach the Controversy (Geocentrism)
Teach the Controversy (Geocentrism)

My first “real” post on this blog was about the tiny but noisy group of people who still think Earth is the center of the universe. I feel a bit nostalgic for that post, which went up nearly a year ago! People, that’s a lifetime in the blogosphere! Actually, that just shows I’m still a baby blogger, but I thought of that post today as various people on Twitter sent around this Los Angeles Times article on the same group.

I don’t really have a lot to add to what I wrote a year ago, but I note in the article the Times interviewed arch-Creationist Ken Ham, one of the vocal proponents of a young age of Earth. I suppose that was the reporter’s idea of showing how kooky the geocentrists are, that even Creationists think they’re nuts, hurr hurr, look at all the goofballs. The problem, of course, is that while geocentrism is unlikely to ever make a serious comeback, Creationism is a strongly-held cultural position in America still. With nearly every Republican candidate for the 2012 Presidential election rejecting evolution (and climate science), it’s vital that we take the threat to science practice and science education very seriously.

Not every Creationist is a Ken Ham or William Dembski; in fact, I would guess that most people who espouse Creationism have never really learned that much about evolution or cosmology beyond caricatures. I hope that with better education (for kids) and outreach (for adults), we can turn the situation around. This isn’t an “us vs. them” situation: it’s a “we’re all in this together” situation. As much as many would like to dismiss the rubes and get on with life, the real damage is widespread — and the people who should be angriest are the ones who have been lied to, the ones who have been told all their lives that science is evil or that science itself supports the idea of a young Earth.

As much as I want to make fun, I can’t bring myself to do it today. Maybe another day, when my duly elected U.S. Representative isn’t holding up emergency funds for his own state on ideological grounds, or certain people calling themselves Christians who say God is punishing the nation for profligate spending. (I’ve always thought people who say things like that have a lower opinion of God than atheists do. After all, atheists just think God doesn’t exist, while these so-called Christians think he’s the equivalent of a loan shark who kills the family dog and threatens little kids when the dad gets behind on the vig.)

It’s easy to mock geocentrists, and no doubt I’ll find it in myself to do it another day. Until we as a country get around the idea that science isn’t a political issue that can be negotiated, we’re going to continue to see the world burn and our children being raised to think science is a menace to society — or entirely optional and inconsequential.

One response to “No Laughing Matter (More’s the Pity)”

  1. :( That’s as much as I can say. Sigh.

    Oh, and yay for baby blogs! See, I can say something else.

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