In the U.S.A. a child goes to school and learns that 2+2=4. He shares this knowledge at home and is told, “No. 2+2=5.”
To support this, the parents take the child to Sunday school and the Sunday school teacher confirms the assertion that 2+2=5.
Convinced that 2+2=5, this child would not advance to second grade if this was a country with true separation of church and state. If the child was unable to learn the truth they would be placed in a special school for the retarded.
As it is, children who are retarded by religious upbringing are allowed to graduate from high school. Sam Harris has reminded us that some of these people go on to college for the sole purpose of obtaining ‘credentials’ so that, as academic authorities, they can refute and confound scientific knowledge. In the U.S. such people are actually in demand as lobbyists or advisors to administrations like G.W. Bush’s, coal companies, oil companies, tobacco companies, intelligent design proponents, opponents of stem cell research, developers who want to convince the public that unchecked growth is progress, that the melting of polar ice is cyclic and natural, and so on.
Sam Harris writes in his ‘Letter to a Christian Nation’ -
“. . . more than half our neighbors believe that the . . . first members of our species were fashioned out of dirt and divine breath, in a garden with a talking snake, by the hand of an invisible God.
“Among developed nations, America stands alone in these convictions. Our country now appears, as at no other time in her history, like a lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted giant. Anyone who cares about the fate of civilization would do well to recognize that the combination of great power and great stupidity is simply terrifying, even to one’s friends.”