Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Mis-Informers Attack!

Take a look at this story in Wired about how Professor Robert Proctor at Stanford has created a new term he calls "agnotology: The study of culturally created ignorance". He is attempting to explain why more debate about some subjects leads to people having worse information. This is as a result of attempts by certain parties to spread dis-information for their own gain. Thus, tobacco companies claiming smoking doesn't cause cancer, and the belief by many Americans that Obama is a muslim, or that Saddam was behind 9/11. The story doesn't mention it, but, as an economics teacher, I would add the idea that tax cuts pay for themselves to that list.

Now that you've read that, you can make the connection to this story in the NYT about how the religious right wants teachers to lie to their students regarding evolution. The Texas school board is debating new standards right now, and the religious right wants that to include discussion of the weaknesses in evolution theory. "Evolution is just a theory", they say. So is gravity, but I'm pretty sure that this computer falls on my foot without the table under it. Have all the gaps in evolution been closed? Of course not. That is what scientists do, use previous theory and proof to make new advances.

We can't let the idiots who would believe religious myths over science poison the minds of a generation of youth. This nonsense has got to stop, and somebody has to have the cojones to tell the creationists that they are backward morons whose beliefs are supported by no evidence other than a book written thousands of years ago by primitive, superstitious people trying to explain the world around them. We can't let this nation get any dumber, and I can't believe in the 21st century that this conversation is taking place.

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