Monday, December 3, 2007

Just Clap Your Hands and Believe!

Page One Kentucky calls our attention to an editorial in the Courier-Journal criticizing the infamous Kentucky Creation Museum for causing untold damage to the critical-thinking ability of school children.

Not to mention the ability of proud Kentucky reality-based bloggers to hold up our heads in Internet public.

I haven't blogged about the Creation Museum (and no, you may NOT have a link to its website) partly out of embarassment for my state and partly because I didn't want to give it any more publicity.

But as Page One points out, the most entertaining - in an end-of-western-civilization kind of way - part of this editorial is the comment section, where you can find people who are apparently allowed access to the Internet (let's hope they neither drive nor vote) complaining about the editorial's "intolerance."

Which occasions the necessity, once again, to address a point also raised by the Joe Klein debacle.

Belief does not trump Fact.

That someone should have to point this out to anyone capable of cognitive thought is a tribute to the Friends of Tinkerbell who have persuaded the mainstream media that If You Really, Really Believe It, It's True.

This year, to the everlasting shame of the nation, nine of 10 Republican candidates for president, said on national television that they don't "believe" in evolution. That's like saying you don't "believe" in gravity. Such an admission is irrefutable proof that you are unfit for anything but serving as JoJo the dog-faced boy in the circus.

The most insidious accomplishment of the wingnut freakazoids has been the elevation of Belief over Fact. It used to be, back BR (Before Reagan), that a person could be a rational thinker and devout Christian who understood the fact of evolution and yet belived the biblical story of creation.

Fact and belief were separate, like vision and hearing. Both are nice, but neither is dependent on the other.

BR, it was annoying but possible to debate evolution vs. creation with someone because that someone understood the difference between facts and belief. He might have disputed the conclusions drawn from the factual evidence of evolution, but he did not claim that his belief alone made facts irrelevant.

Today, merely mentioning facts and evidence that contradict someone's belief makes you an anti-(whatever they believe) bigot and automatically wrong.

Geez, even the Inquisition knew that Galileo was right and therefore had to be silenced lest others discover the same facts.

I believe the sun will rise in the West tomorrow morning. By pointing to it rising in the East, you prove you are a radical, terrorist-helping, America-hating bigot.

(Parts of this post originally appeared as a comment on Glenn Greenwald's Unclaimed Territory on Salon.)

Cross-posted at Blue in the Bluegrass.