Monday, August 22, 2005

Peels of Onion Laughter

Mikaela says:
The genius of the Onion is taking what's deadly serious and making you laugh at it anyway. Such was the case with this "latest headline":

"Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity
With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory"

We haven't really talked about it much on m-pyre, but one of the scariest trends gaining momentum is the recasting of educational science curriculum throughout the country to legitimize the "intelligent design" theory. Not only can evolution not be taught as a "law," some states are requiring that "intelligent design" be given equal airtime in the classroom.

Separation of church and state? Not so much in Kansas.

And it's spreading.

We should be worried.

If something doesn't change soon, it won't be so much survival of the fittest so much as survival of the most vocal and closest to "God."

When people wonder why the left is SO frantic about the creeping influence of the Christian Right into the highest echelons of political power, the sea change in SCIENCE EDUCATION is one. The underlying religious explanation of U.S. support for Israel is another.

Watching a documentary on the First Amendment last night (yes, for fun!) made the connection between the Christian Right and Israeli Jews spookily clear. In order to set the stage for the Second Coming of Christ, the apocalypse to be dreaded by all us sinners and embraced by all those good Christians out there, all Jews (God's Chosen People) must be returned to the Holy Land. Then all but 1,000 of them get wiped out; then Jesus comes. Woo-hoo!

As a fervent leftist, I believe fervently that everyone's faith and ability to worship should be protected by our constitution. This predicates the separation of church and state, which demands that PUBLIC SCHOOL must not be beholden to religious ideology. Evolution is not a religious tenet, much to the contrary of recent rhetoric from the Right. Intelligent Design, despite the new casting in scientific garb, is just the Emperor in no clothes. It must not be paraded around our classrooms as real.

And Israel? I always wondered at the resistance to exploring the situation from the Palestinian perspective. I assumed that the horrors of World War II were enough of an explanation as to our guilt-ridden behaviour. Now? Now I see the importance of exposing our one-sided support of the worst of human dilemmas, when there truly is no one solution, and the best that can be done is to minimize pain in the short-term and maximize benefit to both sides in the future.

And what will that take? A constitutional mantra. Chant with me now: separation of church and state, separation of church and state, separation ...

For more on the evolution/intelligent design debate, see an article from yesterday's NY Times: "Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive."