Christ Weary of Creationists:
Here's a tale of the Young Rude Pundit: Back in his high school in the South, the Rude Pundit caused something of a stir with his science fair project: "Evolution vs. Creationism - Which One Is the Truth?" In front of his wooden triptych, which was covered in pictures of Charles Darwin and images from non-Biblical creation myths, like a turtle with the Earth on its back, oh, and naked people and a stray ape or two, the Rude Pundit had made two displays. One was a cardboard box Garden of Eden, with lots of fake shrubbery, a tree with a clay snake wrapped around it, and two naked little white-skinned dolls he had stolen from his sister. The other was a piece of plywood with carefully crafted clay figures showing the development of humans from amoeba-like things to lizardfish to, eventually, us.
The Rude Pundit's presentation, given to students, judges and teachers, came down unequivocally on the side of evolution. Mostly the Rude Pundit did this project to piss off his churchgoing classmates, who kept shoving creationism in his face. And piss them off, he did, with students coming up to the Rude Pundit and asking him if he really, really believed he came from an ape and if he believed in God (that question was generally met with a "Yeah, why not" answer, which, strangely, pissed 'em off even more). Either way, the Rude Pundit, who was also a fan of Inherit the Wind, was proud to get all Clarence Darrow on their Christian asses. (Full, fair disclosure: there were as many people who thought the whole thing was "cool," "good," and "who the fuck cares" as there were people who were angered by it.)
One judge asked the Rude Pundit if one might reconcile evolution and creationism. "No," the Rude Pundit answered. "They can't be." The judge pressed. It was obvious that this question had ribbon-color meaning to it, so the Rude Pundit sucked it up and said, "Okay, how about this: God could have started the Big Bang. So you could say that God created the universe by setting evolution in motion." This much pleased the judge, and the Rude Pundit received second place and the privilege to go to the county science fair, which, his sister wanting her dolls back, the clay fishlizard cracking, he bailed on.
That was twenty years ago, give or take. The point here is that, for the love of fuck, why are we going through this again? What combination of desperate economic times and religion-induced dementia is making us fight this battle over and over? In Kansas, starting yesterday and continuing today, is a debate over whether or not to require the teaching of "intelligent design" alongside evolution. "Intelligent design" is such a cutely ironic name, in the "Clear Skies Initiative" school of obfuscative rhetoric, because you have to be a complete fucking moron to believe in it. It's Christianity without mentioning Christ, because, if, say, the universe was really just shat out of the anus of a dark Baal-like deity, it'd totally fuck-up the whole "intelligent design" thing (but, goddamn, what a laugh we could all have, no?). And speaking of obfuscation, the members of the Kansas Board of Education who called the hearing didn't even have the balls to say that the true purpose was to put some kind of god back into the science classrooms. They claim they simply want to ensure that "criticism" of evolution is mentioned. Huh. Wonder what you'd use to criticize it, other than fake science, flawed axioms of desperation, and the Bible.
If you look at the non-AP reports of the hearing in Topeka, what you get is a sense of tedium, boredom, and ennui about the battle: "Although there was a full house at the beginning of the hearing, most left well before the hearing ended," says David Klepper in the Kansas City Star. One high school senior, Leanne Coit, attending the hearing said, "It's just a silly debate. Science teachers don't shove evolution down our throats. We can make up our own minds."
The apparent strategies of the anti-evolutionists include equating evolution with "dogma" and elevating atheism to the status of a "religion," which would, one presumes, allow other "religions" into the classroom. And if you're trying to get your head around the idea of non-belief in deities or religions being a religion, then welcome to looking-glass America. Logic is illogical, science is faith, and faith is science, and, oh, shit, the Rude Pundit's brain just exploded.
The other strategy is the most common to the goodly, godly in our nation: it's a kind of numbing, brainwashing repetition. The whole thing goes like this: find some tangential way to push your fundamentalist Christian agenda, disguise it like a street whore in a nun outfit so no one's sure what the fuck's going on, repeat the same lines over and over until most of the citizenry is so sick of hearing it that their attitudes become, "Okay, okay, whatever you want, just shut the fuck up," and then you can smile and know that one more step has been taken towards the uber-goal of complete takeover.
The science side of the Kansas debate has decided they are not going to play this reindeer game. They're boycotting the hearings because they know the whole thing is a rigged detonator. Says one noble poindexter, "What anti-evolutionists are fond of doing is to take the disputes that exist in any living science and blow them out of proportion. These are brandished as evidence that evolution is a theory in crisis." So the Kansas Board of Ed's panel, led by a man who believes the earth is only 10,000 years old, can go fuck itself.
The only damage is that which is done to the students of Kansas, and elsewhere, as well as the fact that the rest of the nation will have to deal with the human results of the dumbed down standards of people who want us to return to the blissful ignorance of pre-Enlightenment thought, when the flock could be so easily, unquestioningly led.