It would be funnier, if it wasn’t true…..

Today’s “This Modern World”:

On a related note, a thought occurred to me about the whole recent surge of Evangelical influence in this country, and it was actually a comforting one: I think that what we’re seeing is the last, desperate push. When your entire belief system hinges upon things which all have been conclusively shown to be scientifically impossible, eventual extinction is an inevitability. You just can’t hold out against fact forever. We’ve seen it before. I think we’re witnessing the final, and admittedly powerful, surge of effort….the dying throes of a Victorian lifestyle that is at the edge of extinction.

It may not happen soon enough for my comfort, but I do take some comfort in the knowledge that it will eventually die out, or at least become so much of a minority view that it may as well be dead.

I take even more comfort in trying to figure out ways to speed its demise, so that it may find its true place in the list of “wacky-ass shit that we used to believe”, like the earth-centered universe, the phlogiston theory, and phrenology.

8 Replies to “It would be funnier, if it wasn’t true…..”

  1. Care to explain?

    Gareth, can you explain what you mean by the following:

    “When your entire belief system hinges upon things which all have been conclusively shown to be scientifically impossible, eventual extinction is an inevitability.”

    Which things have been conclusively shown to be scientifically impossible? God? Jesus?

    I’m not a creationist (at least not by the usual definition of the word), but having read some material on Intelligent Design, I personally think it more likely that *some* sort of intelligence was involved in the creation of the universe and life on Earth than the idea that the universe is the result of chance.

    Does that mean I support the approach by which Intelligent Design proponents are pushing their “agenda?” Not at all. Unfortunately, I think it’s resulted in people confusing the message (scientific observations suggest the existence of an intelligent designer) with the messenger.

    Take Care,

    Lou Prosperi

  2. I think you’re putting an alarming amount of faith in “science” (and, especially, scientists). But I reckon a lot of things we see in the world at the moment are growing pains of global culture and with a bit of luck we’ll end up with just the good stuff when the dust settles.

    Is the cartoon based on something that actually happened, or just warning against a type of thought trend?

  3. Unfortunately, it is referencing something which is going on all over the US right now: Religious conservatives trying to get “intelligent design” (which is simply creationism in psuedo-scientific garb) to be given equal footing to evolution in our children’s science classes.

  4. Re: Care to explain?

    You can’t separate the message from the messenger in this case, since in EVERY case, it’s being brought by bible-thumping American Taliban.

  5. Re: Care to explain?

    Well, I disagree about the message and messenger, and I think the whole “American Taliban” thing is a VERY broad label that seems to lump all Christians into the same category as far-Right religious conservatives, but that’s cool.

    Still, I’m curious about what you mean by the following:

    “When your entire belief system hinges upon things which all have been conclusively shown to be scientifically impossible….”

    What are these things that have been shown to be scientifically impossible? Do you mean things like God and Jesus, or are you talking about something else here (like aspects of some Intelligent Design arguments)?

    Take Care,


  6. Re: Care to explain?

    The reference “American Taliban” in no way lumps all Christians into the same category, any more than “Taliban” lumps all Muslims. It is a very specific variety of far-Right fanaticism, in both cases.

    And as far as the whole “impossible” thing: I’m referring to the standard canards of the movement: The earth being only thousands of years old, dinosaur fossils being placed as a “test of faith”, pretty much the entirety of the “bible as literal truth” school of thinking.

    Personally, I suppose that it could be argued that I am a believer in a sort of intelligent design theory. I am a pagan. However, my belief incorporates evolution and other scientific principles….specifically, I’m a proponent of the “cosmic watchmaker” idea: That an intelligence could have set the parameters, and then started the processes to work, on their own. (Jokingly simplified: something lit the fuse on the Big Bang). This does not conflict with science….but the creationists currently assaulting our school systems absolutely do…and this is just one front of their never-ending war to impose their beliefs on everyone else.

    I know that I’m not being “reasonable” in my views of these people. There is no being reasonable with rabid fanaticism and willful, purposeful ignorance.

  7. Re: Care to explain?

    Re: American Taliban. Fair enough.

    As for those “impossible” things, first, thanks for clarifying. Second, the things you list (earth being thousands of years old, etc.) are more associated with Young Earth Creationism than with Intelligent Design. In fact, none of the ID stuff I’ve read has any mention of any of that stuff. As for the “Bible as literal truth”, I guess it depends on which part of the Bible you’re talking about. In my church, we view the Bible as the Word of God (as in divinely inspired by God), and some parts of the New Testament are considered factual, but I don’t think even the pastors would argue that the Old Testament is literal truth.

    And for what it’s worth, I tend to believe the same as you in terms of evolution and other scientific principles, and in terms of the role of the “designer” (be it God, some alien, or some other-worldly being) in the creation of the universe.

    I get a little leery when I read about attacks on evolution in schools, only because I suspect that you’re more right about the long-term “agenda” of some of the people pushing this stuff than I’d like to admit. Actually, I favor the idea of adding discussion of Intelligent Design to a school curriculum, if only as a way of exploring other theories of the origins of the universe. I know that some of the “science” behind ID is suspect, but (IMO, of course) there is some validity to many arguments for ID.

    Take Care,


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