10 April 2009

An illusion which has no future (2)

Two days ago I linked to this Newsweek essay on the decline of Christianity in the United States. Here are a few more links that illustrate the point.

Christopher Hitchens reports on creationism's last stand in Texas: "Perhaps more than any one thing, the resounding courtroom defeat that they suffered in December 2005 in the conservative district of Dover, Pa., where the 'intelligent design' plaintiffs were all but accused of fraud by a Republican judge, has placed them on the defensive.....There are some successes that are simply not survivable. If by any combination of luck and coincidence any religious coalition ever did succeed in criminalizing abortion, say, or mandating school prayer, it would swiftly become the victim of a backlash that would make it rue the day. This will apply with redoubled force to any initiative that asks the United States to trade its hard-won scientific preeminence against its private and unofficial pieties."

"Faith groups and individuals" are fulminating over their loss of "religious liberty", which they apparently define primarily as the freedom to discriminate against homosexuals. I suppose one could make a case that, say, a psychologist should have the right to deny counseling to a lesbian, but isn't it rather striking that the right to discriminate and exclude is what's so important to these Christians? (My own view on the persecution of Christians is here.)

Here's a commentary from an at least somewhat pro-Christian viewpoint lamenting that the Christian Right has "surrendered in the culture war". The disquiet over gay parents and their children being invited to the White House egg roll this year is interesting. Again, the Christian Right seems to define itself by its demands that others be excluded and shunned.

Finally, here's Andrew Sullivan on the mean-spiritedness of the "theocon right": "This is how the social right is responding to our times, and to put it personally, my life and the lives and deaths of countless others. One day, they will understand the callousness and bitterness and willful ignorance they currently represent. As civilized society leaves them increasingly behind."


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Greeting's Mr.Infidel ... this is actually a question I have for you ...since I read the article about Texas Board of Education...to be honest...even though I done a post on this a week or two back called "Texas Bored of Education"(or similar) to point out this big topic here that was heating up...I dont even know what the bloody conclusion is, and frankly this article( to me) was so damn confusing...I cant figure out if their saying were screwed or not in Texas...no...I dont feel any creationism crap should be taught in a damn science/biology class...anymore than it should in economic's or any other damn class! But if you would be kind enough to explain to me in simple english what the hell all this mean's for Texas...I'd appreciate it. There's certain thing's I am slow on.And this to me is confusing as hell.

PS: My grandson's(4)are in Texas public school's and I'm fixin to have 2 grandaughter's in there in the next couple year's...so you can understand my concern.And no...I dont want my grandkid's learning goddamn ghost stories in science class!

Thanx Guy.....

10 April, 2009 07:51  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

As Hitchens says, it was a muddled decision. Basically it was a setback for creationism and a victory for science because it rejected the plan to teach "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution (the "weaknesses" would have been creationist propaganda, and the language implies that there is still a scientific debate about whether evolution is true or not, which there isn't). But it wasn't a total victory because it accepted teaching "all views", which could allow teachers to include some creationist ideas. See assessment here.

10 April, 2009 08:43  
Anonymous Blurber said...

Although these setbacks to Creationism and Christianity give hope for the future we shouldn't be too optimistic. The "God is Dead" movement has been around for a long time, yet Christianity lingers.

It seems as though there is a percentage of people in the world whose minds are programmed to accept religion. Some of this is genetic and some cultural, the latter being a prominent cause in the U.S.

I'm afraid that religion will always be with us. The best we can do is to keep trying to minimize its effect, especially on our school children.

10 April, 2009 09:18  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Thank You Mr.Infidel...that was ahell of alot more easy to understand than all the crap I been hearing and reading on this mess..Jesus.F.Christ they make some of this senseless crap so confusing it seem's like! basically the way I see it...is here in Texas...we didnt accomplish much of a goddamn thing.

Thanx Guy.....

10 April, 2009 09:33  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I'm afraid that religion will always be with us.

I wouldn't be that pessimistic. It does seem to be true that humans have a predisposition to believe irrational things when they are comforting, but I doubt there's anything as specific as a genetic proclivity to accept religion.

Religion in the Western world has been in steady decline, despite a few ups and downs, for 400 years. Yes, it's still here, and it may never disappear totally (even the belief in a flat Earth hasn't), but I see no reason why it shouldn't continue to retreat and wither as human knowledge and capabilities continue to expand.

10 April, 2009 10:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

OK, so human knowledge has expanded more in some cases than in others :-)

10 April, 2009 13:27  

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