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Thursday, November 30, 2006

lying in politics and the press

I had the idea that once upon a time, some people in public life had actual respect for the truth. Politicians these days seem to think that creating their own reality is perfectly fine. Bush has been the master at this, or rather Rove and the other puppeteers behind him. They have been successful at this for 6 years until this last election. The only people they are sure to fool are other neo-cons.

Once upon a time, at least some of the press could be expected to, in between scoops regarding Brit's u-pants habits, to determine if one side or the other in an argument was actually lying. Or at least wrong.

Bush saying we're winning in Iraq could get a cold and negative analysis in the press in multiple papers. But not any more. Once, the great unwashed denying the holocaust, WWII in general, evolution, global warming, that 2+2=4, and so on, might get quoted, but their quotes would get refuted over most of the news article. No more. Any one with any point of view deserves 50% of any newspaper article about them. And 100% if it happens to agree with Fox's editorial bias.

I've got news for you: Evolution lives! Just like Elvis. Ok, not like Elvis. Elvis lives on in our collective conscious. All that activity couldn't be the responsibility of our collective unconscious, let me tell you. But evolution ranks up there with Newton's laws, electomagnetism, atomic theory, relativity and quantum mechanics for its impact on science and the world. Evolution ranks ahead of tarot cards, crystal balls, the bible, the torah and the koran in its ability to explain the world around us.

FBI attacks, book burnings, earthquakes and asteroid strikes, drama queens and snake handlers can not refute evolution.

Consider the following hypothetical thought experiment.

(1) Suppose that every last book, scientific and popular press article and human memory about evolution were somehow wiped off the face of this earth. No Darwin, no nobel prizes, no Stephan J. Gould, no nothing remained of evolution. What would happen?

(2) Suppose that the bible disappeared, and every last book, scientific and popular press article and human memory about the bible and all branches of christianity disappeared. What would happen?

In case (1), human beings would reinvent evolution and would work out the same theory about how it works that we have now. In case (2), no one would reinvent christianity, though, I dare say someone would invent a mono-theistic religion. One god, under contract, indivisible, to be all things to all people. But JC and angels and the devil would not get reinvented. Noah would not exist, but most good religions have a big flood in them. So the great flood would continue to exist. Jonah might get left out, poor guy.

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