26 November 2005

Dinsaurs vs. Democrats

ETA: I realized the title of this post has a misspelling, however in case anyone linked to the individual page I am leaving it as is.

It's always interesting seeing this country I live in from a different viewpoint. That of the British is especially interesting as the country is our father (much as I consider China to be Taiwan's mother). I value the British views of science and politics, and this BBC article combines both.

Millions of Americans, most of them supporters of the Republican party, believe that the world was created only a few thousand years ago as per the account in Genesis and the dinosaurs can only date from then, so the Tyrannosaurus Rex romped around with Adam and Eve.

In other words these Americans, heirs to every scientific advance in history, deny rational accounts of how the world came to exist.
The dinosaurs, (the child of Republican parents) informs me with great authority and aplomb, are millions and millions and millions of years old. I could have hugged him and his parents; we are, after all, inhabiting the same mental planet.

But many modern members of the Republican party, including some in positions of great power, do not seem to be living on that planet.

(BBC's Justin Webb)

According to Webb, a number of Republicans feel that the evangelicals have hijacked their party and are dragging it down with them into their willful ignorance and denial of science. I haven't heard this yet in the American media, but I'll be keeping my eyes open for it.


Peter Porcupine said...

Zand - The bits you quoted are a flat out falsehood.

MILLIONS of Republicans? I am an elected Republican party official, and that's just bosh. In reality, those who are of the extreme religious right wing tend to support the Constitution Party, founded by Pat Buchanan when George Bush invited him to leave the Republican Party with his zealot followers. Since much of the mainstream media is controlled by the Democrat Party, you won't read much about that - but the Republicans aren't counting on their votes, either.

However - Bush is much more pro-life than the Republican Party has traditionally been, and a movement has been started called 'It's My Party, too', and it has a web site here - http://www.mypartytoo.com/

Traditionally, the Republicans were pro-choice, even if personally against abortion, as they did nto think the government should legislate about private lives and decisions.

I hope you will visit my blog, as I write about these things, and since I actually AM a Republican, you might get a different perspective.

Sheila said...

I'm a Democrat, but I see this as the case. Republicans USED to stand for less big government and more fiscal responsibility. Now they are more about the "right to life" (while supporting the death penalty) and calling the nation unGodless. Soon every women who has sex outside of marriage will be forced to wear a crimson A on her shirt.

zandperl said...


Thanks for the clarification. I was quoting more for the effect of seeing how the rest of the world sees us than as a source of statisics. The claim from an "authority" that "millions of Republicans believe in literal creationism" supports my argument well.

However, you are perfectly right to point out that in this case the authority appears to be wrong. Do you have a source for accurate statistics on how many Americans/Republicans believe in biblical creationism or other evangelical stances?

Thanks for the comment, and I'll be sure to check your blog out. :)

utenzi said...

You're right and Peter's wrong, ZP. Like a typical Republican (LOL) Peter reworded your statement and then proved the statement wrong. A typical strawman fallacy.

You said millions of Americans and he switched it to millions of Republicans. It's quite true that millions of people in the US disregard the theory of evolution and also view the Bible as the best source of knowledge.

Your point about the dinocaurs is moot to them because they base their world view on faith not reason. For them, our so-called facts are irrelevant.

Philip Del Ricci said...

Life doesn't end at birth. I am convinced that the motives of many of the so called "Pro-life" movement have more to do with punishing the potential Mother than with saving an unborn life. If it were otherwise, those same people would be pushing social programs to look after the well being of that life AFTER it is born.


P. Del Ricci - Dark Glass

zandperl said...

A few things.

Peter reworded your statement... You said millions of Americans...

Firstly, the quote was not my words. Anytime I quote extensively from another source I indent it and put the name of the source with a link at the end. In these comments areas, I italicize another person's comments and don't bother linking because I'm lazy and the source should be self-evident. I shouldn't take the credit for anything I quote, though I should take the blame if I choose one with inaccuracies.

Millions of Americans, most of them supporters of the Republican party, believe that the world was created only a few thousand years ago (Justin Webb)
MILLIONS of Republicans? (Peter)

"Most" implies "at least 50%." If there were exactly 1 million Americans who believe in biblical creationism, and most of them are Republican, then according to Webb's statement we have at least 500 thousand Republicans who believe in biblical creationism. If there were at least 2 million Americans, as could easily be the case within Webb's statement of "millions," then there'd be at least 1 million Republicans, making Peter's restatement "millions of Republicans" not remarkable. While neither I nor Webb directly stated "millions of Republicans," I don't think it's too egregious for Peter to conclude so from Webb's remarks.

That said, I still have no hard numbers from either Webb's original article, or Peter, so I'm holding all three statements ("there are millions of Americans/Republicans who believe in biblical creationism," and "there's way less than that") to be simply untested hypotheses for now.

Like a typical Republican (utenzi)
Careful with the ad hominems and generalizations there. :) I was recently accused of being a godless heathen simply for being from New England, and while it may be strictly true, I resented that a judgement about my moral character was made based solely upon my current place of residence.

utenzi said...

Ha! I know a strawman when I see one!

EM said...

The irrational arguments of the Christian right against scientific knowledge are, you are right, laughable.

The irrational arguments of the "green" left against scientifc knowledge are just as laughable. We are told that millions will be drowned by a tsunami-like increase in sea level, that global warming will cook harvests standing in the fields, that malaria will decimate Alaska, that life as we know it will be destroyed, etc. We are also told that the Kyoto accord will reverse (yes, reverse!) global warming, that every tornado and hurricane is caused by Hummers, and so on.

Laugh, yes, but laugh equal.

Anonymous said...

I think both camps can be pretty far off base. Each thinks they have an absolute truth.

When I spend a few years modeling a physical process, and I prove the model out, all it shows is that I have a half baked model that sort of works, and I will have funding to do another one. Sooner or later it will be tossed out the window, or proven wrong within some given frame of reference which I had not considered. Otoh, it may well make a piece of hardware perform exceedingly well in the mean time, and it has served its purpose and provided value. Its far from absolute, but it enabled me to get from point A to B.

If we look at creationism, is it really that much different? It allows some people to get from point A to B in their spiritual life. While I am a neocon Christian, I'm not going to sit back and put God in a box and say he created the world explicitly and literally as the bible says. I don't think we could fathom the whole story, and it is a matter of faith.

In a nutshell, this whole debate is a pointless one, other than if anything, it might foster some critical thinking by those not in the sciences that maybe there are no absolutes, and only fleeting theories. I know that may not sit well with my friends in academia, who like nice little compartmentalized solutions, but it is a much larger world once all the variables they conveniently threw out enter the picture.

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