The other day I realized some of the problem that people call the culture war. It occurred to me that the reason some people doubt science is because they do not know that what is written in scientific papers is not someone’s idea, it is the result of a lot of work to get to the facts of a situation.
For those who believe in things – and by “believe” here, I mean in the absence of evidence – it is difficult, if not impossible, for them to distinguish between facts on one hand, and things I really think are true on the other. The billboards showing a picture of a baby and talking about finger prints (as if our close evolutionary family members the gorillas do not have finger prints) or saying “Jesus is alive” and a phone number with the word “truth” in it, misuse the words “truth” or “fact” to imply that anything other than science can give us a statement of fact that anyone can know to be true.
When the scientific consensus is that evolution is how animals are selectively bred by humans or by the struggle for survival, and when the scientific consensus is that humans are causing climate change (also known as global warming), these are not the best guesses, the hunches, nor the hopes, ideas, or beliefs of scientists. These are the facts. To fight those in the name of religion is hard, because there’s no way to justify disagreeing with the evidence. And so the unthinking masses of fundamentalist Christianity do not think about it too hard.
I am not saying that science and religion cannot coexist. They manifestly do all over the world. I am saying that the types of Christians who doubt evolution or climate change (or many other scientific theories), do so from a position of no basis. They have no argument because if they did, the scientific consensus would agree with them. Scientists have no preference for evolution, climate change, linguistics, paleontology, geology or archaeology – they just follow the evidence. And if the evidence matched the Bible’s violent nonsense, they would talk about firmaments (Genesis 1:7-9), about selective breeding using striped poles (Genesis 30:38-39), about the tower of babel (Genesis 11), about the natural existence of gay animals, and about the sudden appearance of complex life around 7,000 years ago.
The fact that the evidence does not match the Bible is something that religions and religious people have to explain. But while they struggle to do that, the world continues being the way it is: Different from the way the religious communities believe it is.
In the meantime, we are left with people voting for people who, if logic was ruling our minds, would be offered treatment, not public office. Voting on the lines of abortion leaves most Christian and ethical principles trampled in the mud (the developed world’s highest murder rates, one of the only countries without mandatory vacation (or maternity or paternity leave), low survival rates for diseases, low vaccination rates, etc.). The Republican Party as it is now is a counter-factual, antidemocratic, and unscientific mess, and the dangers to the future of the USA and the world cannot be exaggerated.
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