I’ve recently started going over facebook atheist groups, and I think we’ve got a serious problem.
On the one hand, I think it’s the best argument to teach evolution in schools, along with a basic understanding of the ethical implications of it. On the other hand, I sometimes wonder if the religious right doesn’t have a point and we shouldn’t be teaching evolution at all.
A lot of people (who usually seem like they’re very young and not very bright) who get a basic grasp of evolution start thinking that they’re hard-bitten realists with a deep insight who are ready to make the hard decisions for the future betterment of the human race.
And then, they start spouting pseudo-science nonsense backed up right-wing propaganda.
They decide that “survival of the fittest” is a normative statement, and it’s unethical to interfere in any situation that can be construed as a struggle for survival. (Hurray for the strong who abuse the weak!)
They say that feeding starving children in third-world countries or through the Welfare system in the US is creating a perverse incentive that’s going to flood the world with the stupid and useless.
The same thinking can be applied to economics as a reason to support unregulated markets.
Obviously, these are not things that they learned from Carl Sagan. And I don’t really think I have to point the error in this thinking, but I happily will if anyone here indulges themselves in this illusion.
But there are an enormous number of people (at least in the US) that support these ideas, and there are so few atheists that aren’t also right-wing eugenist nutjobs that I think The New Atheists should speak out specifically on this subject.
I sometimes wonder if the religious right doesn’t have a point and we shouldn’t be teaching evolution at all.
In short, No, The religious right does NOT have any valid reasons why we should refuse to teach children, as well as adults the truth about evolution so far as we understand it, to all. It is bad enough that sane people allow the intentional manipulation of the faithfuls minds as it is, I don’t even think we should be allowing this much..but to suggest they might have a right to invade the minds of all is simply out of the question. People can believe in anything they want to so long as it doesn’t invade the rights of another person against their will. Evolution isn’t a theory, it is a fact and the fact that so many people fail to understand scientific terminology is all the more reason why we need to stop saying the theory of evolution and simply evolution. Religions are theory’s in the way that most people define theory, and they are not the same thing. It’s like saying hey instead of teaching math theory, lets just say that all numbers go together magically by the will of the number god. This isn’t a debate any longer and it’s becoming a bad idea to even argue with religious people, outside of the necessity to tell them in large groups that they are wrong.