While waiting for work to come through the system today, I got to thinking about times past and times present. Has education and the world around us (particularly in the US) changed compared to when I was young back in the 60's and 70's? I remember the Civil Rights Movement and putting a man on the moon, but I don't remember hearing an uproar from Evangelicals over creationism and the diluting of the study of the sciences with superstitious garbage. I'll read Pharyngula's blog and discover that Kansas or some other state is trying to force the schools to teach ID, or on another atheist's blog I discover the religious are trying to stifle free speech. Are the number of theists actually growing?

What I'm trying to figure out is whether this is because the religious are getting more vocal and in-your-face, or whether it's simply that the lines of communications have opened so widely with the creation of computers, the internet and so on? I'm getting to the point where I'm thinking the stupid outweighs and smothers the intelligent.

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Comment by Planetologist on January 7, 2009 at 6:13pm
I don't think they're growing, I think they've realized their time is done, and that realization has made them desperate and shrieky. Before the 70s the religious-right-minded people were simply in charge, they knew they were in charge, and they assumed they always would be.

In the 1970s people started claiming their own freedoms and stopped being the Christians' victims, mostly as a result of the "sexual revolution"... which was mainly about people saying "enough, already" with the puritans telling them how to behave. The Moral Majority craze of the 80s was the rightists discovering that everyone wasn't playing according to their righteous plan, and they organized to slap the rest of us down. They failed.

As time has moved on, more of the rightists' long-held privileges have fallen away, and they are not happy about that development. Creationism is out, government-forced prayer in schools is out, and religion is losing ground elsewhere in the civilized world at an unprecedented pace. What do you do when you're scared to death your precious hegemony over everyone else is ending? You go bonkers and lash out.

Today's "new atheists" are simply atheists who don't feel the need to duck and cover anymore. Religionists are fighting to pass the most desperate, crazy initiatives all over the place because they're lashing out blindly, not even wasting time on trying to justify their filth... they're reduced to just asserting their superiority and relying on that to save them. But they're on the way out, and they know it. We're tired of taking their crap... and there's really no way back from that. Freedoms earned are not easily given up.

I'm not an expert on the Muslim world, so I can't claim the same thing is happening there... but it sure feels like it is. Why didn't lunatic bombers from the Islamic world terrorize everyone continuously from the fall of the Ottoman Empire on? Because they were secure in their absolute power. Now they see Western values - freedom, self-determination, equality - taking hold all over, and they're scared crapless of losing their dominion.

This is the last gasp of the religious fundamentalists... which makes them doubly dangerous, because a desperate animal will fight twice as fiercely. At this point it really is them against everyone else... we have to keep fighting them until they're gone, forever, and not assume they will lose just because they're losing now. Rome once had it made, until idiots destroyed them. Idiots can do it again if we're not careful, and if we fail to fight back hard enough.

I really do think the religious right is dying on the vine. But I also think we can't get complacent. Not yet. Probably not ever.
Comment by Clarence Dember on January 7, 2009 at 4:15pm
It seems bad in the media.
I actually don't tune the TV to anything but NET or local Public TV channels. I use cable for internet but not for TV.
News is not entertainment so I haven't had a TV since 9-11. All my media comes from the web, the radio or DVDs, books & periodicals.
The Fundies are being amplified by the corporate networks. It's like the plot of "Damnation Alley".
You point and ZOOM the camera at some huge cockroaches close and long enough and it looks like "THEY'RE TAKING OVER THE WORLD!!! - when it's really just "Pinky and The Brain"- Bush and Cheney.

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