Hots for the Smarts

Going back and forth by email with a friend regarding gun control and by the end of the conversation, I had a minor epiphany.  He said the following:

What really needs to be stated is that “you can have all the guns you want…you just have to fill out some paperwork and get a check. No one is taking guns away.  We just want to do what we can to prevent them from getting into the hands of the people you have been reading about.”

I replied, saying that in my opinion, there is so much mistrust of the President and the government in general, that too many people truly think that “they’re coming for our guns”.  I believe a lot of this is fueled by the NRA, Fox News, and all of the various crackpot websites out there(I’m sure opposing points of view would think of this site as being crackpot{beat you to it}).

I went on to say that I truly believe our society has gotten significantly dumber in the last 20 years, which is ironic, considering we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. A quick google search shows that our math and science scores, in relation to the rest of the world are…unimpressive.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/02/u-s-students-improving-slowly-in-math-and-science-but-still-lagging-internationally/

I’m sure there are many reasons for this and to try to pin it on only one reason would surely be wrong(I imagine common core would be high on the list of reasons for many).

Maybe the reason that bothers me the most is a willful and a willing ignorance regarding science.  When did science become so political?  Maybe when the religious right decided to ignore proven facts and instead rely on the Bible?  A gallop poll last year showed that an astounding 42% of Americans believe in Creationism.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/170822/believe-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx

That’s a staggering number of willfully stupid and ignorant people.  Even the Pope believes in evolution!

http://www.newsweek.com/pope-franciss-remarks-evolution-are-not-controversial-among-roman-catholics-281115

Sure, the Pope found a way to say that evolution was part of god’s plan but he did not deny what has been scientifically proven!

I’d love to be able to couch my language in more soothing tones and not be so confrontational about this but I just can’t.  42 freaking percent of this country believe the earth is 6000 years old and created by god?  How do these people tie their shoes in the morning? Why aren’t they smarter than that?

I have a very good friend who is a devout catholic and has been all of his life.  He’s a smart and quirky kind of guy.  He found a way years ago to reconcile his belief in god with the scientifically proven theory of evolution.  It’s not that hard to do.  You just need a tiny bit of brain power.

Have I offended some people with this?  Probably, and I’m sort of sorry about that, but only sort of.  Can we just agree that the earth is not 6000 years old, to start?  Can we stop going to creationist amusement parks where people are shown riding dinosaurs?  I read all of the time about religious doctrine creeping its way into public school curriculum and it’s appalling.  Can’t we try to be just a little smarter than that?   In my opinion,  this reliance on religion rather than scientific fact is seriously damaging our country.  Ignorance makes us weaker as a country.  Come on people, read a book(not that book).  A smart country is much stronger than an ignorant one, right?  We all want a strong, healthy, and prosperous country, right?  Wise up, forty-two percenters.  We need you.

So after that, here’s a funny song about being attracted to smart people.

10-6-15

Upon further review:

The play stands.  I feel badly that I’ve probably offended people with the post above.  I almost deleted it last night.  Almost.  I’m going to leave it up though and challenge people to be smarter.  My main point is that we need to be smarter, as a country.  Let’s not choose to ignore proven facts.  If you want to believe that god created the world, good for you.  Find a way to make that belief work within the context of what we know for sure.  Right?  The earth is 4.5 billion years old.  Proven fact.  And the people that choose to ignore facts are weakening us as a country.

“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson

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8 thoughts on “Hots for the Smarts

  1. Very provocative blog entry. By provocative I mean so, for me, in the metaphysical realm, not the emotional. Though for some of your readers the emotions will likely be first stirred. I applaud your willingness to ‘let it all hang out” on this post and others, There is much I could say on this topic but I will leave a final, simple comment. It reflects a personal mindset that I have aspired to live by and hope that my philosophical imperative might outlive me and be quoted by others in the future. Rely less upon what you believe to be true, and more upon your ability to seek and find a greater truth.

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    1. Thanks for reading and for your comment. Guessing I didn’t make many friends with this one 😃. I was hoping to get a few comments and yours interests me. Feel free to go on. You’re relatively anonymous.

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      1. We wonder why the country is less smart than in the past. This link will surely tell you a few things about our education system. These schools do a great injustice to the students they are pretending to teach. It’s clearly an agenda they want and they probably would be happy to live with some kind of sharia law of their own. If you are not color blind, check these dots out. Scary stuff I have to say

        https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/teaching-creationism-is-widespread-in-u-s-public-schools/

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  2. For centuries many people were taught and fully accepted as truth, for example, a geocentric model of our universe. At some point they abandoned that “truth” when their own human intellect inspired them to seek, allowed them to find, and subsequently accept a “greater truth” rooted in new knowledge…resultant of reason, logic, and science. I think most humans now accept the heliocentric configuration of our solar system as truth. Dogma is the enemy of “greater truth”. Dogma promulgates blind faith or blind belief. That type of intellectual blindness will invariably hamper, if not completely cripple an individual’s willingness to seek, ability to find, or minimally have an openness to accept “greater truths” rooted in new knowledge. Many of the greatest intellectual achievements of humans have emanated from free thinkers…..https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freethought . By the way, you may not have known this, but Philosophy was the concentration of my master’s degree. It was somewhere in those years of study between 1990 and 1993, and certainly by 9/11/2001, that I turned completely away from dogmatic influences that were present in my early childhood and teenage years and began to label myself as a secular humanist freethinker. I recall having a conversation about evolution with my grandmother sometime in the late 1980’s. She was a beautiful and dear woman, but we just weren’t ever going to agree on evolution as she flat out told me that she “didn’t come from any damned monkey!” Of course, you will likely recall that my undergraduate degree was in Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology and I had a different view on the topic of evolution. I don’t think my grandmother was ignorant or stupid. I could not have asked for a more loving grandmother. But she was, in my opinion, clearly blinded, if not completely crippled by dogma.

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  3. Look at you, with all of your fancy book learning. Your grandmother, and senior citizens in general, are not my main target. At what age do people become so entrenched in their own beliefs, that they cease to have an open mind? I hope that doesn’t happen to us!.No, my main targets are people like the guy who recently, when asked if, hypothetically, the bible said that 2+2 was 3(I’m paraphrasing), would he still take it as word for word truth. You can guess what he said. I can’t find the link right now.

    My larger point is about education and how we have to fight tooth and nail against “dogma”(the only Kevin Smith movie that didn’t make me laugh), creeping into public school curriculum. And parents who insist on teaching their children creationism are damaging their children and damaging our country. This article sums up exactly how I feel about it.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/13/bill-nye-children-creationism_n_6317148.html

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  4. At what age do people become so entrenched in their own beliefs, that they cease to have an open mind? That is the most important question. We both know a full age-range of individuals who are not senior citizens and whose minds were closed by dogma at a very, very young age. Many will never escape the chains of dogma, having fully embraced certain beliefs that were psychologically ingrained (brainwashed?) well before their adult mind was completely developed. These chains bind their ability or willingness to seek, find, or be open to any “greater truth”. Yep, it is frustrating and hard for freethinkers to comprehend. Traditions and dogmatic beliefs are powerful cultural forces because they can serve to both define and bind (for better or worse) a culture. In traditional societies this serves to hinder its progress or severely debilitate it. The 2+2=3 guy is suffering from dogmatic debilitation. He has likely been suffering from it since childhood. I think I just coined a new term.

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    1. Exactly. That was a good read. The author is clearly suffering from another variant of the condition I described above. Let’s call it SADD [because psychologists love to invent labels that lend themselves to a really catchy acronym]…Self Actualized Dogmatic Debilitation.

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