Barbara Forest speaks on Science Friday about the recent Dover rulling on Intelligent Design. Two key things I want to remember from this chat. One the notion of falsabilityis important for scientific theory. The second is that many of the creationists out there on school boards are pushing stuff specifically because they want to advance religion in the classroom without event understanding what they are pushing.
I think I might be getting a bigger clue to the right left divide post 9/11. For many republicans the main focus changed; liberty, morality, constitutional originalism took a back seat to the war on terrorism, and it is quite literally one war to them. I’ve understood this before but I didn’t actually believe it. The same people who so readily condemn the things that happen under dictators and communism excuse some of the same behaviors done by the US as long as it can be defended under the word terrorism. The root logic is survival. Almost any principle can be sacrificed if it even remotely can be tied back to their safety. To me these words still seem harsh, but that is always the root aspect of the arguments. “If it prevents the loss of a major American city, would you say no?” I believe there is a fundamental cowardliness underlying this type of thinking; that our country has been reduced down to just the people in it, all the rules and ways we relate to each other are not enshrined values and principles but things that can be cast aside at the first hint of fear since they are just obstacles to an effective defense. I guess it is this downgrading of us from human to animals in the governmental sphere that drives so many people to get religion back into it. It is so much sadder that the real messages and meaning of religion has been hijacked into a war on the symbols. The religious right has decided that the latest worthy fight is what way retailers wish people a happy holiday season. If that is what religion means to them, they have lost all religious meaning completely. It seems to me to be that the fundamental position of the right in response to 9/11 is to be as much like our enemy as possible; torture as a tactic, drive religion into the public square, and a super powerful executive branch. Their message to the troops who defend us is that they are not defending the US anymore but just the collection of people who are (legally) sitting between Canada and Mexico.