The move toward American Theocracy by the empowered evangelical 'elite' in the US has made it almost impossible for an atheist or non-christian to be elected to office. Schools are having their curriculum undermined by creationist who wish to revise history, remove evolution from science, and prevent teaching sexual health and pregnancy prevention. Atheist fear reprisals for not being christian and are often discriminated against at work, socially, and most especially in the military. American as a "Christian Nation" is not a free nation or an ethical one.
Please- What ideas do you have on combating this most dangerous decline in American intellectual and social standards? I'm especially interested in ideas from outside the US. Whatever you wish to add.
The Christian right wing is dummying down the country, this dummying down will not take long to be reflected in the American economy, its standing across the international board is already in decline I believe. Reason will not reach these people, only when it hits their standard of living will these people become somewhat enlighten. By that time they will eating the dust of other nations on many levels, as they try to make up for lost ground.
Evolution education has been cloistered for 150 years within university classrooms and laboratories and this has relegated the public to a lagging-behind status, on both basic comprehension and new discoveries in the field. This has produced a relative vacuum of information about geologic and human origins that has been filled de facto by popular religious opinions about the origins of creation. In the wake of these largely inaccurate Genesis fairytales, the National Center for Science Education, helmed by the estimable Dr. Eugenie Scott, has done much to promote the admirable mission of defending Darwin and deploying the facts. Moreover,the wave of new literature by authors like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are responding to this need to provide real facts to a skeptical but curious public which, given the right information, will potentially reform its opinions.
Yeah, but unfortunately, the American education system isn't getting a lot better ... and it won't, until we get the economy under control and have more money to throw at it. We need all of those optional extra programs that conservatives are quick to strip from the budget, at the first sign of a crunch (or a threat to their upper-class tax cuts). We were in great shape at the end of Clinton's presidency, and then W. completely trashed the whole place.
We also simply need a cultural climate shift. Knowledge needs to be given a better image, in the media. Jersey Shore and the like aren't helping in that respect.
I think what you say must be mostly so, but there is something about the path of least resistance, the path of least effort. It is better to be a creationist then an evolutionist, because one does not have to read all them hard books. I suspect that this struggle has the element also, not often considered, as a struggle between the intellectually inclined and those not intellectually inclined. Did Europe in the past do such a great job of introducing evolutionary biology to the public and that is what makes the glaring difference between the two populations? Perhaps we should look at the processes of different countries to find out by what means they effected said enlightenment.
I also see the roaring anti intellectualism as part and parcel of the decline in America's standing and the rise of theocracy. It's like the book "Escape from Freedom" people are looking for a way out of the rigors of being their own person. They want someone to tell them what to do or think. After all it takes and effort to be informed and educated. We are all so fat and happy in this country that it's easy to just lie back, btch, and let things happen. 'Entertainment' tv a la Fox new works because it at least wakes people up and puts a little excitement in their lives. I once talked to a Korean war vet. I told him I could't so what he did in the war. He replied that people only do what they have to or what they think they have to. If people do only what they need to do and seek short cuts in the cults of personality kind of explains how the rabble rousing works to entertain most, incite some, and contribute to the 'what can I do?" supine attitude of may of the rest.
Europe had really really horrible blood baths onver religion. They have a cultural aversion to hard line religion. Most of their schools are better than ours and so centrally controlled that this school board diddling with curriculum isn't done. I think we need more central government in schools- not less. Right now school are local political tools and bases of power for Unions, School Boards, some Federal requirements, and local administrators. How the hell can we have good schools with this four way pull. Poor and black kids end up with a useless education, athletes get a pass, and rich neighborhoods have all they need or want. We need national standards. With all this going on eventually the concept of getting an education becomes watered down. After all- atheletes don't need a real education, rich kids get educated while poor and middleclass kids don't- education must be elitist, and schools are most efficient as basis of power for local pols and tosses about with bs rhetoric and used as a platoform for social-political statements. Kids don't vote and parents only seem to vote for their pocketbook. Kids see athletes, actors, musicians being paid so much much more than scientist and teachers. Becoming a scientist takes forever and then they make crap compared to MD's- If they survive the politics, mind games, putting off having a life, and starvation wages/stipends. Science doesn't pay and education doesn't pay. Just go to church and pray, don't go out and do anything. We have essentially guided our society into this mindset by who gets rewarded and for what. Financial chicanery is going to continue because it pays very well and no one goes to jail (bernie maddoff excepted- then again he robbed from other money guys- they punish their own).
Why think? You have tv, church, and a big larder. You don't need to do anything. It's not like you will starve or your cable will be turned off. (i watch a lot of useless tv- guilty- not Jersey Shore)
And even with all this I still cannot believe that SNOOKY is paid 13 Episodes a year- now she gets $100,000 an episode= 1,300,000 Over One and a Quarter million. Starting teachers make $20,000 a year with the average at $45,000. What is WRONG with this picture.
Not all, very well stated!!