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Calling A Featherhead A Featherhead
Bloomberg's right on about the pillow stuffing-for-brains believers in creationism, but Taranto at the WSJ starts right in with the name-calling, referring to Bloomberg as a "bigot" and explains with "a (NYSun) quote that shows why such a run (for president) would be unlikely to succeed:

Mr. Bloomberg's freewheeling question-and-answer session was peppered with the kind of provocative, blunt talk that could appeal to some voters while alienating others. "It's probably because of our bad educational system, but the percentage of people who believe in creationalism is really scary for a country that's going to have to compete in a world where science and medicine require a better understanding," he said in one such foray.

If by "creationalism" Bloomberg means the idea that the book of Genesis is an accurate description of the origin of life on Earth, then he is right, at least, that a lot of people adhere to it. A 2005 poll by the Pew Research Center found that 42% believe that "humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time." Another 18% believe that "a supreme being guided the evolution of living things for the purpose of creating humans and other life in the form it exists today." Only 26% endorse the view that "humans and other living things have evolved due to natural processes such as natural selection."

It's hard to see how one gets elected president by insulting the religious beliefs of at least 3 in 5 Americans.

Yes, it seems our citizenry is simply too dim to figure out that the earth wasn't created in five days, in the image of The Invisible Friend. Tragically pathetic.

As for how thinking people view such "insults," or should, a few words of advice from Daniel Dennett:

Give religion no more respect than you’d accord to animal husbandry.

Posted by aalkon at June 20, 2007 9:45 AM


"[...] the percentage of people who believe in creationalism is really scary [...]"

Saying that something as infantile as creationalism is "scary" is a wussy little cop-out. Adults believing wholeheartedly in fairytales is not scary. It's pathetic.

Posted by: Lena at June 20, 2007 7:44 AM

It is.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 20, 2007 8:13 AM

It's both pathetic AND scary. Imagine our educational system as this ignorance takes over the science classrooms, and the minds that come out of it - not respecting, understanding or adhering to sound, rational scientific method. How do we, as a nation, hold on to the tenuous lead we have as scientific leaders if our children aren't given a basis of sound science?

Posted by: laurie at June 20, 2007 8:54 AM

According to a physicist I sat next to on the plane, we're in real trouble...lagging behind in kids' science education for the past 30 years, in her opinion. Personally, the most valuable class I took in high school was Critical Thinking/Logic. I'm guessing that's not offered at many schools.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 20, 2007 9:16 AM

I never took a logic class, but I took several classes where the scientific method was studied. I would imagine the same sort of thinking applies to both. You have to spend some serious time getting to the root of a problem. Correlation doesn't prove causation. All that. In my field (I'm a supervising accountant) I see this all the time. Young people who jump to conclusions because "it looks like these problems must have something to do with one another". This relates to your seat mates comments about the trouble our educational process is in. We're simply not teaching logical thought. We've always been able to pull it out of the hat because of our capitalist, cowboy nature, but if we continue dumbing down our kids it won't continue to work for us. Capitalism goes a long way in creating free thought, but it doesn't replace a sound foundation of rational exploration. We're importing scientists at an alarming rate. Anyone who thinks those folks won't abandon us and head back to the mothership given a good turn of their government is wrong. Whether their governments recognize that is our biggest threat. Communists tend to be more egotistical than they are logical, so we have that in our favor. No good communist wants to give up control, and their best and brightest will always look for a home where they have that control. One good reason we have to keep the "melting pot" mind-set.

Posted by: laurie at June 20, 2007 9:29 AM

The physicist was right about we are in a lot of trouble in the states. I showed my colleagues a YouTube video of a teenager who was convince evolution was an evil lie created by Satan a few weeks ago. As they watched the 10 minute video... they started to chuckle. As the young kid kept defending his argument... the laughter stopped and the look of concern began to appear on their faces. This is the face of Intelligent Design/Creationism. Here is the video:

Also, notice the vid responses from YT Atheists.

Posted by: Joe at June 20, 2007 10:38 AM

Boy, Joe, is that depressing. Going back to look at the atheist responses.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 20, 2007 10:57 AM

Do you have a link to the YT Atheists' response?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 20, 2007 11:06 AM

The user Rabid Ape has the best rebuttals vids, Amy.

Even the Atheist parodies of the kid are hilarious. The Talking Jesus telling him to shut the fuck up is quite funny.

Posted by: Joe at June 20, 2007 11:30 AM


Here is RabidApe's rebuttal:

Both RabidApe and VenomFangX had multiple debates via Vlogging. So there are a few video responses.

Posted by: Joe at June 20, 2007 11:37 AM

It's sad how sure of himself fairy-tale boy is, and how much time it must have taken him to memorize all this ridiculous bullshit. I loved the bit about the imaginary baseball bat.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 20, 2007 12:39 PM

People want meaning in the universe and superstition is a tasty placebo for those who can't embrace the rigor and beauty of science due to cowardice, insufficient intelligence, bad environment or lack of opportunity (how many people get to be Newton, Darwin or Einstein?). I enjoy a good transcendental experience, but I achieve it through imagination, sex and adventure; not drugs or religion. So let's attack the message, not the messengers.

That said, VenomFang's grasp of logic is minimal and shows that his ilk Can't Handle The Truth.

Posted by: Dave at June 20, 2007 12:53 PM

I love how he has to make sure we all know that satan is (the devil)

that nut bag is all over the place and you guys are right about logical thinking, I found the best way to deal with these peole is to enter their delusion and poke holes from the inside.

My favorite question is "If god is sopowerful how did satan get into his garden in the first place?"
you should see religious types squirm over that enigma

Posted by: lujlp at June 20, 2007 1:24 PM

There are plenty of Christian nuts on YouTube. I could go on about the various crazies on the site and their bizarre videos. Also, there are plenty of YT Atheists to challenge them on their unfounded claims. Plenty of Muslim crazies too.

Posted by: Joe at June 20, 2007 1:26 PM

Amy is amused to ridicule those who have an Imaginary Friend (i. e., God). Hard as it may be to imagine, there are people who are not young, or pretty, or smart, and who have few friends. Would you deny such people their imaginary friend? Although I don't believe in supernatural events, I attend Presbyterian church, and I am aware that there is a lot more going on there than just adherence to a doctrine. Some churchgoers are concerned that their daughters marry young men who will support them if they have children, and that their sons will become employed. Does Amy really despise these all-too-human concerns?

Posted by: dchamil at June 20, 2007 4:54 PM

You are making such a huge leap of logic in your argument, dchamil. So you are attacking her past views on religion and marriage? What does this have to do with ID/Creationism? People have choices in their lives. Your discomfort over Amy's views does not make a relevant argument.

Atheists should have a problem with non empirical agnostics who give the theist side validity in the debate without a shred of physical evidence to support the believer's claim of the existence of a god. Also religious moderates are part of the problem too, because they validate the crazies whether they like or not.

Posted by: Joe at June 20, 2007 6:11 PM

I just watched the video, Joe. I found his arrogance somewhat sexy. Too bad he's so tweaked out on meth.

Posted by: Lena at June 20, 2007 6:42 PM

Isn't animal husbandry the science of breeding and raising livestock? I mean, that's pretty important, really. Beef and pork and chicken are good. I'm certain that it's worth respect. Religion, not so sure.

Posted by: justin case at June 20, 2007 7:32 PM

Thanks, Joe, for taking that one on. Furthermore, I'd say those people who have practical concerns would do better to use reason than belief in the supernatural to address those concerns.

Don't be too quick to equate religion with morality. Personally, I find the notion of being good simply because you don't want to burn in hell rather repellent.

I don't believe in god, and somehow, I manage to be a good friend, care for sick friends, and give advice free of charge, even when there's not a hope in hell somebody's problem with make it into my column (ie, my only self-interest is in feeling good that I made a difference). I know this can't be a common thing from advice columnists (it's the rare e-mail that goes unanswered...although I'm backed up about a month at the moment on a bunch of e-mails, due to the ev psych and newspaper conference sucking me away). Here's an e-mail I got today:

Hi Amy: I once wrote you, and you were kind enough to send a personal email reply. I don't know if you can take the time to send a quick personal reply or not again, but hope so, due to time constraints.

And the second e-mail from the guy:

Appreciate your thoughts. Next time, don't make me wait so long for your reply. You took a grand total of ten minutes ! Best, Andy

So, how can it be possible that I'd do such a thing without some nasty god standing over my head waving fire and brimstone? Could it be that we have evolved mechanisms for what we consider morality -- and that it's in our self-interest to be a good person?

And yes, Justin Case, good point. I'll always respect a nice juicy rare steak. And then I'll have my wanton way with it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 20, 2007 7:46 PM

No problem Amy. I know you can defend yourself with these particular comments. Personally, I haven’t been in an argument with anyone on your site in the last few weeks.

So Christians believe that morality was invented when a bunch of Hebrews arrived at the foot of Mount Sinai after leaving Egypt? There are volumes of research conducted by anthropologists, evolutionary biologists and evolutionary psychologists that lead to the view that morality and ethics is innate and a part of our human nature. Just like our tendencies towards violence.

Posted by: Joe at June 20, 2007 8:50 PM

Re Science education, have a look at the Tuesday entry. And follow the links.

The government is so concerned about drugs and explosives that they are shutting down amateur chemistry.

I have read other articles where high schools are using computer programs to teach chemistry, rather than "risking" having real labs. Not much better than watching television - with any kind of science, in the end you've got to do it yourself if you want to really understand what's going on.

All part-and-parcel - and scary for the future

Posted by: bradley13 at June 20, 2007 11:27 PM

Utterly disgusting. And just speculation here, but I bet a lot of today's scientists were yesterday's Mr. Wizard experimenters.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 20, 2007 11:53 PM

And, P.S., Joe, I know you know I can defend myself, but I've been working nonstop and didn't see that comment for a while, so I appreciate you stepping in.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 21, 2007 12:47 AM

"Give religion no more respect than you’d accord to animal husbandry."

Wait a minute! Animal husbandry is actually a developed industry. It is also wonderfully effective when it is used to point out that Noah's story flatly isn't true. Any farmer can tell you that 8 people tending 32 thousand-plus animals in the "Ark" for 15 months isn't real. It's properly called "animal cruelty" and "killing".

Posted by: Radwaste at June 21, 2007 4:59 AM

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