Pondering Christian progress


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Check out this blog entry for commentary on a new “peer reviewed” creationist science journal. It got me to pondering again the Fundamentalist effect on science and education. (In the past I’ve talked here, and here about science and Christian education.)

I’ve often wondered what would happen if the fundies won and taught their view of the world. How catastrophic would it be? I’ve met brilliant “young earth” fundamentalists who have done things like plot ICBM courses for a living and others who could write FFT code off the top of their heads. They made it through life and acquired useful learning. Their religion didn’t reduce their capacity to learn hard stuff. Maybe we’d be ok as a society if people like them set all the rules.

Let’s imagine a world where schools everywhere are run by people like the idiot in my home state, Texas, that fired a science curriculum director for mentioning evolution.

My best guess is that engineering and experimental sciences would survive, math would flourish, the liberal arts would be bombed back to the middle ages and genetic research would die. Things like comparative genetics would be right out (imagine their reaction to cool stuff like this, or this), geology would look more like the 16th century, and biology would be reduced to debating how many “kinds” of animals the Ark carried.

Could the world really keep working? Imagine thinking like a physicist who believes rainbows literally first started happening after Noah got off the Ark. Surely that would blind you to something important.

I’ve seen it. I’ve talked with them and I know they sincerely believe what they believe and adamantly refuse to consider contradiction as anything more than a mystery of the one true God. Seeing smart people fall for this self inflicted form of lunacy is the most amazing religious phenomena I know. And it’s not just Christians. You can’t make it through engineering school without encountering dozens and dozens of intense followers of Islam, some with even scarier ideas. I think the math attracts them.

I’d be interested in other’s thoughts on this subject. What would happen to medicine? Psychology? History? Political Science? Economics?

Maybe there should be an atheist response to “Left Behind” ( I reluctantly admit reading 3 or 4 of those books in a masochistic attempt to better understand my co-workers). Working title: “Taken Over: A Novel of Earth’s last days of progress and reason”

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