Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dumb Things?

A saw on my Facebook newsreel an article posted by a friend from Newsweek. This had the caption in the status: "This is why America is in trouble." I found a number of these "dumb" beliefs curious. I think that Newsweek does indeed show why America is in trouble, but not for the reasons they stipulate (more on that in a minute).

The first one that requires a second look is that only 39% "believe" in evolution. I find this curious as to what is meant by "evolution". If by "evolution" one means the creation of larger and more complex organisms via mutation over eons, then we might be able to discuss this. However I have found far too often that those who promote the theory of evolution wrap the theory in the dogma of "natural selection." The idea that this process is purely random and has no "guiding force" or other influence beyond purely physical influences is a metaphysical claim, not a scientific one. It is as much a belief as the belief in God. That a number of scientists often confuse the two is the cause of much confusion when answering the question.

Another of these I found curious is the matter of President Obama's religious viewpoint. That Newsweek identifies Obama as a Christian is a debate in and of itself. However I am curious if Newsweek considers one of the various strains of Muslim thought to be dumb. According to some teachers of Islam, there is no such thing as "conversion." Once a Muslim, always a Muslim. I wonder if Newsweek considers such doctrine of the Muslim world to be "dumb."

Coming back to the idea of why America is in trouble I find the tendency to label the ideas of others as "dumb." Certainly we can disagree with another's opinion to the point where we wonder how one would believe an idea. However, as pointed out the ideas mentioned as "dumb" in the article might not be considered dumb if we took the time to learn a little more of the other half of the country. This unwillingness to learn is what threatens the country far more than any particular belief. That Newsweek only perpetuates the problem is what is "Dumb."

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