Thursday, August 04, 2005

The politics of ignorance

Great commentary by Sam Harris (author of The End of Faith) prompted by G. W. Bush's quasi-endorsement of "Intelligent Design".

He captures the basic problem in a nutshell:
Unreason is now ascendant in the United States -- in our schools, in our courts, and in each branch of the federal government. Only 28 percent of Americans believe in evolution; 68 percent believe in Satan. Ignorance in this degree, concentrated in both the head and belly of a lumbering superpower, is now a problem for the entire world.

And his advice for addressing the problem hits the mark:
It is time that scientists and other public intellectuals observed that the contest between faith and reason is zero-sum. There is no question but that nominally religious scientists like Francis Collins and Kenneth R. Miller are doing lasting harm to our discourse by the accommodations they have made to religious irrationality.

This response by Richard Dawkins contains some good advice as well.

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