Discussing the recent exposure of the make-up of the House committee on science when it was viewed in light of current issues involving a woman's reproductive rights, I remarked that the most depressing thing is the committee members' total ignorance of science.  Science has come under attack by the religious right entirely for the reason that both cannot be right.  Either we evolved from primitive forms over hundreds of thousands of years, or we came into existence at the same time as dinosaurs approximately 6,000 years ago.  Take your pick.  Acceptance of one negates the other -- for you at least.  And you can fall back on a ton of scientific data that says only fools go around claiming God put fossils in the earth "to fool the Darwinists."

Almost all of the committee members debating such things as trans-vaginal devices, sonograms of fetuses, funding for birth control advice groups, &c. are Republicans, and I'd wager all are evangelicatholics.  (These are Christians who tend to be evangelicals or Catholics, and both houses of Congress are full of them.)  They have them in the Senate, too; however, the ones in the Senate tend to be more sensible and less likely to choose myth over reason.  The most alarming thing about the committee, however, is that its members know little to nothing about science.  They do not care about the scientific method.  Do they know that critical thinking leads to rejection of dogma?  Are they afraid that if the atheists take over, the nation will be given over to immorality?  Do they believe Eve talked to a snake and that Mosheh went up the mountain and came back with the Decalogue -- Moses, a totally mythical figure having no recorded history whatsoever.

Ignorance of science led to the humiliation and torture of untold thousands who uttered truth in the face of fiction.  Galileo is the most famous, but he was not the first nor last, and dogma's imprisonment of humanity, its enslavement of us through silly proscriptions and appeals to fear and superstition, its justification of our irrational treatment of others unlike ourselves -- all are part of a continuing history of violence, intimidation, and terroristic tactics. Yes, terrorism!  When these lunatics inspire others to murder abortion doctors, torch gay bars, drag African-Americans by rope behind pick-up trucks, &c., &c., &c., what else can their words of hate be seen as?

Ignorance of science is the most disturbing thing about religion.  After all, if you can say, "Trust in the Lord" and go about your day without a thought to why prayer was seen in a study to make hospital patients actually get worse, then you are a danger to humanity.  The same fatalism we criticize Muslims for exhibiting our own religious people prove part of their mind set.  "The Lord will provide."  Better apply for food stamps.  "God helps those who help themselves."  Help yourself to a bank vault through force of arms.  Science has explained all of the mysteries, but people go on believing.  They know nothing of science and they do not want to know anything of it.  Their pastors and priests do not want them to know anything about it, either. 

The Bible says that the truth shall make you free.  If the religious nuts have their way, there will never be freedom.  Only freedom from dogma is devoutly to be wished.

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Another wonderful discussion James! You are correct that religion cares nothing for science. Religion only cares about dogma and myth. Religion has no basis in fact. That's how they keep it spreading - it based on myth and fantasy and not on scientific principals.

I have a very healthy respect for all religions' power to propagate, indoctrinate, delude, twist the truth to fit their goals, create divisiveness, to provide false hopes and promises, and to convince people with average intelligence to believe the unbelievable.

"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles."
Sun Tzu

Cane

There are multiple dangerous things about religion. Let's each nominate a few.

Ignorance of science belongs on any list of dangerous things about religion, but it and the dogma that accompanies it are more dangerous in the minds of public officials than in the minds of most of us.

I nominate fear. Fear accompanies religion, and religious leaders need their followers to have fear. Many religious leaders use their followers' fear to acquire money; those who use their followers' fear to gain public office are more dangerous.

Yeah, I nominate fear.

Most fears could be stilled by knowledge of science.  The fear of death is what drives most people to religion in the first place.  Science gives us certainty about death; religion, a false promise of eternal life in a place that keeps us in a kind of infantile world, carefree and perfect in every way.

That infantile world is one of the things that turned me off from religion other than it didn't make sense.  I have no use for gates made of pearls, streets paved with gold, angels flying around playing on harps, etc.  And there are many family members and acquaintances I just plain out hope I never, ever see again.

Religion really doesn't care for science. As an Atheist pretending to be a Christian (because of parental demand), I've spent many many Sundays being forced to listen to an overdressed man make everyone apologize for being human and tell us about why science is evil and that we should avoid non-believers and science altogether.

Wow, you mean nothing's changed in 50 years?  I was forced to go to "Sunday school" to learn about the Bible, and the guy teaching our class was "an overdressed man," though I do not recall any teaching on science being evil. I guess you are going to a more fundamentalist church, while I went to our local Church of the Good Cadillacs, Episcopal. Baptists called us "Whiskeypaleans" but if you show me four Baptists I'll show you a fifth. Some of us eventually caught on to the dogma and hype and slipped away after the church service.  The church is on a hill and down at the bottom at that time there was a popular eatery called Mac's Drive-In.  We drank cherry Cokes while the phony fancy pants was doing his thing uphill. 

Until I've graduated from high school *2015, soooo close!*, I can't escape church unless one of two things happens: either I "oversleep", or my dad wins a custody battle. (He's an Atheist and extremely laid back so he'd never make me go).

I do remember once, not even a year ago, I was sitting by my mother in church and the preacher said something close to "Do not listen to those scientists out there. Their only goal is to make you lose your belief in our Lord, and they're Satan's helpers." What a load of crap.

They're so constricting too, and apparently my business is also theirs. I've been yelled at in front of lots of people because I listen to Korn. And once I shared my jacket with this girl Katie because we were both cold and she didn't have a jacket during a movie night, and we were yelled at and told we would burn in hell for our "bisexual tendencies". What the crap? I don't even talk to this girl much, and we just shared a jacket. And for another thing, they'd know if I was bisexual because I wouldn't use pitiful excuses such as "She didn't have a jacket" to show it.

The "science" part blew me away.  I had no idea they'd gotten that desperate.

They really have. "Satan's helpers." Seriously. It took all I had to not laugh right there in the middle of service. I had to pretend I was crying because "God" spoke to me in service that day".
The Texas GOP has on its platform a denouncement of teaching of critical thinking - supposedly it usurps parental authority. It's not parental authority that they're after though - they're after longer-term lack of governmental and church authority that could be usurped by critical thinking. The scientific method is a subset of critical thinking, and it must be prohibited.

Note that this lack of scientific education is and will hold the US back farther and farther in decades to come in comparison to the rest of the industrialized world. Their educated youth will be able to learn what is taught in universities in science, engineering, and technology, and continue to make more breakthroughs. The US youth who are inclined to such things will need several semesters of remedial science and math classes before then can begin university-level education and many will never catch up because of time, money, lack of support. The US will become technologically second rate, and will slide into becoming a sad little third-world theocracy - until another country conquors it. Technology does not just make better consumer goods - it makes better weapons of warfare and defence. As soon as we have the second-best military in the world, we are vulnerable. When we slip to about 25th, we're gone.

The religious who listen to the theocratic Dominionists who tell them what they want to hear - about everything from abortion to birth control to gay marriage to Darwinism - are going to be very surprised when they find that the religion they vote into power is not the one they believe in and follow - that it's THEIR beliefs too that are declared "heretical" when they do not meet with the goals of those with the political power. Heretics have been dealt with historically more harshly even than unbelievers have.


Another thing that is dangerous about religion is that it not only justifies, but it idealizes mental illness. It tells you that things are not as you perceive them nor as they are empirically shown to be, but rather as someone tells you. Those who are "shown" "the truth" of how things work - that voices tell them what's what and what to do - through burning bushes, chairs, or dogs - and what the rules are and who should be killed. There seem to be a number of "religious" people who do not have any grounding at all in what most of us would call ordinary reality - and those people are upheld to be emulated rather than given whatever sort of mental help they need, or (before it gets too out of hand), told that what they are talking about is nonsense, to "get a grip". Instead, they're told how they're "blessed" and asked for their "prophecy".

We're becoming a nation of madmen! And, undereducated by a system designed by madmen, who still have imaginary friends.

That is one

Agree with you completely. Thanks.

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