I’ve written before about the influence religion has in American society, and how it sticks its nose in places it doesn’t belong, like the justice system, politics, government, public education and science.
I’ve also reposted this blog post by a woman who grew up in Russia. She points out the ironic similarities between the American Tea Party and Soviet Union ideologies.
A blogger friend emailed me the link to this article, which also makes the connection between American conservatives and religion on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other.
It mentions Lysenkoism. Trofim Lysenko was a non-scientific head of agriculture who denied genetics and who banned all genetic research, even executing scientists or sending them to the gulags.This put Russian genetics research behind at least forty years.
Interference by politics and religion can only be detrimental to science. And that’s detrimental to society. How long will it take before the whole country understands and accepts that the earth came into being four and a half billion years ago? When will the Congressional Science Committee be chaired by a scientist? How long will it take before America starts to take steps to prepare for sea-level rise?
If more than half the country believes that the world was created by a god, and many even believe that a god literally created the world in six days, six thousand years ago, then that’s more than half the population who deny science, who will not want to fund it and who will not have their children become scientists, at least not true scientists.
After the fall of Rome, Europe regressed into centuries of superstition and anti-science. Not for nothing is the Renaissance called that. It wasn’t the Naissance, but the Renaissance–rebirth. It was the rebirth of science, beginning with the study of classic Greek and Roman science, logic and the Socratic method of education, which encouraged questioning and critical thinking skills. The Renaissance quickly moved beyond the classic knowledge and methods, but that’s how it started. For twelve centuries science had come to a relative standstill and then it was picked up where it left off.
Here in America more than half the population downright denies science and the teaching evolution in public school is fought tooth and nail by the religious right. In Texas the Republican Party platform even includes the belief that schools should not teach children to question their convictions. So no science, and no critical thinking. I know it won’t last twelve centuries, but–as Soviet history shows–even decades is too long.