This has been eating at me for some time and I finally felt that it was time to put something in writing.
Most people realize that a significant number of Americans don’t believe in evolution. They don’t make any apologies. They just don’t believe it. They haven’t got a clue about the basic principles of science and don’t care one bit. Leaders like Arkansas Governor (and Presidential Candidate) Mike Huckabee share this world view and the fact that he has been running his campaign on a platform of Christian Fundamentalism is an indication that these beliefs are not only held by a fringe minority.
The beliefs held by many fundamentalists of various religious affiliations don’t end with a dismissal of evolutionary biology. Many Evangelicals’ beliefs are also at odds with Natural History, Geology, and to some extent Cosmology, Astronomy, Medicine, Quantum Mechanics, Sociology, Micro Biology, etc, etc. And when I say “at odds with”, what I mean is in COMPLETE DISAGREEMENT with these sciences. For example, consider this question: “Is the Earth 6000 years old or 4 billion years old?” For someone who has no doubt whatsoever that the answer is 6000 years, the basic underlying principles of many scientific disciplines simply have to wrong.
The Conservative Evangelicals have an inherent disregard for science. Actually in many cases, it’s an outright hatred of science. Sure. They love technology. Christians love to broadcast their message of Jesus’ love on HDTV. Most have no problem with the wonders of science as long as it doesn’t conflict with their world view.
What these folks don’t understand is that technology and science are inextricably linked. Technological advances are a direct result of applied science. Applied science is completely reliant on the scientific method. Not all people working in technology are scientists but the ones making the discoveries and driving advancement are ‘real’ scientists doing ‘real’ science. This is very simple – Technology requires the methods, training, and understanding of our universe that science provides.
You might argue that the Huckabees of the world don’t hate science. They just don’t believe in evolution. What’s the problem with believing that Darwin was Satan? (Many Evangelicals teach this to their children.) What harm is there in believing that God created man in his own image and created the world in 6 days? What harm is there in promoting the literal interpretation of the Bible? How does that affect our daily lives and the comforts that we expect? Well it doesn’t in the short term. The long term problem is that the Huckabees have an agenda to erode the scientific disciplines that don’t support their beliefs. They want our children to hold the same beliefs that they do. In order to do that you have to teach Intelligent Design with (or instead of) Evolutionary Biology. You have to ‘prove’ that the Earth is 6000 years old thus throwing into question nearly all of Natural History and Geology. Basically, you need to stifle critical thinking, rationality, and common sense. Don’t think it can happen? Maybe not everywhere all at once but erosion doesn’t work that way – not according to geology anyhow.
What’s the long term danger? Well for starters, countries with large populations are promoting education and specifically education in mathematics, science, and technology. India and China realize that the future depends on their children becoming proficient in these disciplines. The shear number of people in these countries GUARANTEES that that there will be more people studying these disciplines and making advances, etc. It’s basic statistics. The US population is expected to stay relatively flat so this means that we will soon be outnumbered in terms of working scientists. In order to compete technologically, we need to remain at the forefront of science.
I have felt for years that science is not being properly taught to our children. Lack of interest in science is a big problem. Taking this further and intentionally not teaching science or confusing students by blurring the lines between science and religious doctrine is going to hurt our children and grandchildren, possibly even in our lifetimes.
It’s scary that Mike Huckabee has become this close to leading the most powerful country in the world. With leaders like him, you should be VERY concerned about the future of your children and grandchildren. I don’t believe that is an exaggeration or the crazed musings of an alarmist. There are a significant number of Americans whose core values are at odds with science and many are trying to intentionally erode the scientific foundation in our educational system.
Not too long ago, Governor Huckabee told a crowd at a Conservative Political Action Conference meeting “I didn’t major in math, I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them.”
Huckabee and his ilk are trying desperately to Christianize America. I’m sure that most people realize this. I hope so. I really do, because an uncomfortably large number of Americans would vote for him precisely for that reason! The rest of us need to be diligent and not dismiss the effect that leaders like Mike Huckabee will have if elected to offices around the country or worse yet to the most powerful position in the world.