With the popularity of this prolonged argument on creation vs. evolution, I felt I’d share my thoughts on the subject.
First off, in 2014, I cannot believe that there is even contention. As comedian Bill Maher put it, we are centuries away from Galileo’s first dekko , from a telescope and still there are those that believe in a world six thousand years old. We are almost half a century away from the first moon landing, yet there are some that proclaim that the moon is a light in the sky, illuminated from within.
As a child I grew up in India, fascinated by Science Fiction, the world of super heroes and the original Cosmos show, three wonderful gifts from the ‘highly developed United States of America. I grew up with Superman comics that told the tale of an idealistic super-human, who grew up in an alien world, governed by a democratic council, not unlike the one in ancient Greece, different only because it valued Science instead of philosophy.
I was educated in a great schools. which unashamedly taught Darwin’s evolution in Science class, mentioning only the fact that the theory was opposed to religious faith. Creation was mentioned, except that it was not part of Science, but a part of religious faith Teaching about God was best left to the homes, temples, churches and mosques. The focus was on education, to get ahead and to get into the real world. It was a time when politics and religion did not greatly influence what was taught in the classrooms.
I dreamed of coming to the US as a child, a land I saw as beyond what is today described as progressive, where my daily life would only be enriched by reason, science and modern technology. How innocent I was then.
I cannot believe the times we live in. With a decline in student performance in schools, the US is experiencing a decline in educational standards at a rate not seen by any developing country in decades. One would argue that the educational system would need a quick overhaul.
President Obama said during his electoral campaign that he aspired to ensure that every child in America gets a college education. It simply was a question on common sense. Well, that was simply not the case.
‘What a snob.”, said one Republican candidate. ‘What intellectual snobbery is that?’
It takes a special type of imbecile to make this statement. I come from a third world country where people would do anything to get an education. Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl was shot in the face by a Taliban terrorist for the sin of going to school and getting an education. Malala survived and went on to address the UN in a memorable speech.
‘I would wish that even the children of my attacked would get an education.(paraphrased)’ she said, proving, that she was well beyond her years in wisdom.
Yet in the US, a selfish group of politicians, insecure about their regressive party policies continue to demonize leading US institutions, Scientific knowledge and even Eastern offerings like martial arts and Yoga. I will address this in detail in follow up posts.
How does a political party or a faction within defend the indefensible? By using the vilest of strategies possible. It used a weapon that attacks the most vulnerable of the population. This is the weapon of inducing a multitude of fears on a targeted segment of the population. As humans, there is no dearth of fears that fill our hearts. We fear a powerful God, we fear those different from us in appearance, ideology, lifestyle, culture or religion. Magnify these fears within an individual or Group and you have won their service. Hitler was a master of this fear mongering.
Talk show hosts and politicians from this regressive party do the same. They tarnish History with fictitious facts. They prescribe teachings falsely proclaiming that it is from a holy book, they promote their ideology into Science text books of children and spread a illusion of attack from the so called left. If run amok, this disdain for formal education and contamination of pure knowledge will make this country spiral into desolation and disrepair sooner than we expect.
It has been said that those who do not study History are doomed to repeat it. The Roman Empire did not fall from a single war. It was a series of events including an implosion from within and a corruption of its government system. Such a dire end is unfortunately not completely unforeseeable in the not-too-distant future.
The global economy has leveled the playing fields for many countries. The internet has made knowledge more accessible to other countries. Ironically the very institutions that some in the right wing party demonize are the biggest weapons the US has in its arsenal for world dominance. The US continues to be the Mecca for Higher education. The education offered in these Universities is the envy of almost every country around the world. Even today, thanks to these Universities the US continues to be the center of World innovation.
This is indeed the time for the genesis of cultural and spiritual Renaissance. It is time to embrace change and break the shackles of old habits and illusionary fears and move into a promising tomorrow. This future is well within our grasp. All we need is courage, imagination and perseverance. It will also need us to make bold decisions.