I really love hearing stuff like this ... at least in part because it resonates with stuff I've read from Robert Heinlein and one of my favorites of his work: Job: A Comedy of Justice. Towards the end of that book, the protagonist, one Alexander Hergensheimer, is discussing cosmogony with Katie Farnsworth, who, when she is not being a good Texas wife is consort to Satan Mekratrig, himself. Here is a piece of that conversation, reprinted I must sadly admit without permission:
"Alec ... your universe is about twenty-three billion years old."
I started to retort, closed my mouthy. I will not flatly contradict my hostess.
She added, "And your universe was created in four thousand four B.C."
I stared at the water long enough for Sybil to surface and splash us.
"You've left me with nothing to say."
"But notice carefully what I did say. I did not say that the world was created twenty-three billion years ago; I said that was its age. It was created old. Created with fossils in the ground and craters on the moon, all speaking of great age. Created that way by Yahweh, because it amused Him to do so. One of those scientist said, 'God does not roll dice with the universe.' Unfortunately, not true. Yahweh rolls loaded dice with His universe ... to deceive His creatures."
[Kindly note: Job was written in 1984, when estimates of the universe's age didn't benefit from data from the Hubble Space Telescope, and one estimate had the age set at 23 billion years.]
This is the brand of universe which the creationists and idiots like Broun expect us to accept: where there is no logic, reason, or scientific justification, but just the supposed will of an almighty god. This god is such a hotshot that he creates what would have to be the ultimate ruse: a completely coherent explanation for the creation of the universe and of Earth, plus an equally workable explanation for the evolution of life on this planet ... and all of that is supposed to be a lie because of one book, supposedly divinely inspired, which says otherwise.
In that book, the devil is called "The Prince of Lies," to which I say he must only have been a prince ... because with the above as evidence, the god who gave rise to him must surely be the KING OF LIES!
I really like Siegel's takedown. As satisfying as it would have been to read a rant against Broun's ignorance, he (Siegel) took the high road and went out of his way to educate. People that believe basic reality, scientific facts are "from the pit" aren't going to be convinced, but maybe someone, somewhere, starting to have some doubts about the stuff ze hears about "Evil" science...they could stumble into this and learn the awesome truth, rather than the fear and hatred Broun spouts.
This is just another nail in the coffin that is Christianity. fundamentalism more so than in general or even religion as a whole. Never-the-less, it does nothing to further their crazy cause.
That aside, It's terribly horrifying to me that this man sits on the Committee on Science and Technology not to mention the Committee on Homeland Security. I feel betrayed by the very country I live in and by mankind in general.
If it were not for the fact that this guy holds a position on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology, I'd be tempted to chuckle softly, roll my eyes and move on. But instead I feel a real sense of worry and foreboding...
Braun and Akins (also on the Science Committee) and their ilk are sufficient reason to prohibit religious fundamentalist from engaging in secular government. I can't believe these brain stems are in the US Congress.
Jim, if we have idiots in the US Congress, it's because there are MORE idiots who elected them to office, people who are probably no better educated (and more likely indoctrinated) than those they elect, and far less engaged in matters such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) than we currently need in this country.
On top of that, there's a trend amongst voters to want to elect someone they would want to have a beer with. They want to elect someone who's their peer.
I'm sorry, but I've met some of the average people, in this country. The average person in this country is horrifyingly ignorant of a lot of things. I want someone more intelligent and better educated on the subjects than me. If we got people in government who are at the middle of the bell curve, we'd be fucked.
Precisely. George W. Bush may be the perfect example of what happens when the idea comes to fruition that "anyone can be president," from the most intelligent intellectual to the most clueless rube. The damage he did was considerable, yet he wasn't held to account, nor is he ever likely to be.
What is worse is that, because of education standards becoming more lackadaisical by the day, we're producing fewer children who are sufficiently educated and engaged in the matters which drive this country (or used to drive it) toward excellence. Indifference and lack of education and engagement will eventually be the death of democracy in this country, if not the death of the country itself.
Loren, and if you look at the choices available to stop such events you find reaching into the proverbial hat, it's almost empty.
The very size of the issues we face are I dare say, insurmountable. Ones own psyche is almost forced to turn a blind eye in fear of the discomfort with the reality of the situation.
Wow that was a little dark. My apologies. :)
Thing is, Bill, the solution at its root is simple: become self-aware in more than just the vestigial sense, and with that, possessed of your self, rather than in thrall to a dogma or church. Be prepared to KNOW, rather than believe, and then ACT on that knowledge. If we could actually do that on a reasonably large scale, we'd be in like flint.
Sadly, people are lazy, and the lazy ones who prefer to be led will inevitably find hotshots with THE TRUTH to lead them by, while the problems grow bigger and bigger and perhaps eventually too large to be deflected.
I don't mind "dark," Bill. Most of us here I suspect are willing to look the dark in the eye and acknowledge its possibility. The problem is that there are too many who will look away out of fear of one sort or another, and so long as they control the decision-making processes, we're in deep sneakers.
I agree with you completely on those items. My concern is what do we do to change those people who aren't capable of seeing what's real. Currently there is nothing going on that is making any real progress in doing so.
One could argue that we are making headway, but I would argue that it's far to little to solve anything within even the next 1000 years. This nation won't be here in 1000 years. Maybe this planet, if it is it will certainly be in a much more desperate state than even now if something isn't done.
I don't see anyone in power making the decisions that are needed and even if you got someone in power to do that they would be drowned out by those who profit from it's current state and only care about their personal time here.
If you have enough people with enough cojones, it can happen. If you don't, it won't. That simple, I'm afraid.