Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Magic vs. Science

It's weird how one thought leads to another.

It's not that it hadn't slipped under my radar but the closing of an art exhibition for showing an unflattering portrait of the Preznit was covered elsewhere:
A portrait of President Bush using monkeys to form his image led to the closure of a New York art exhibition over the weekend and anguished protests on Monday over freedom of expression.

"Bush Monkeys," a small acrylic on canvas by Chris Savido, created the stir at the Chelsea Market public space, leading the market's managers to close down the 60-piece show that was scheduled to stay up for the next month.

"We had tons of people, like more than 2,000 people show up for the opening on Thursday night," said show organizer Bucky Turco. "Then this manager saw the piece and the guy just kind of flipped out. 'The show is over. Get this work down or I'm gonna arrest you,' he said. It's been kind of wild."

Sure it bothers me that the US continues to resemble a Soviet state. The government lies, shrouds its operations in secrecy, engages in subterfuge, spies on its citizens, and apparently we're moving into the realm of "state approved" art. It's disturbing and I'm afraid I'm becoming inured to it.

That Bush and his throngs of holy-roller robots are anti-intellectual is not exactly news. However, when it comes to pushing their mumbo-jumbo agenda into classrooms across all levels of the educational system, it makes me wonder why these people hate America. It's not just their venal dismissal of global warming for the sake of placating big business but the dissemination of bogus information and outright falsehoods (such as the nonsense toted in federal "abstinence-only" programs) is intolerable.

The epistemological rationale for evangelicals insistence on equal time for their superstition is specious at best, untenable at worst. So I pose some simple questions: how many computers did "faith" build? How many prayers have lifted rockets into space? Where in the bible is the periodic table?

When religious dogma provides coherent answers to problems posed by physics, geology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, anthropology, engineering, mathematics, etc., I'll consider a more tolerable view of God in the classroom. Until then, I'm putting my faith in empiricism. Progress depends on our dedication to science and our commitment to bettering the whole of humanity. Organized religion has done nothing for the former and very little towards the latter.


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