How is it Americans so routinely get it wrong? I swear we could have Jack The Ripper by the short hairs and arrest his dog for public indecency. Bin Laden attacks from Afghanistan, we invade Iraq. We demand background checks, but permit gun shows to carry on unmolested. We clamor for tougher gun registration, but ignore the 600,000 stolen every year from so-called “responsible” gun owners. No matter who or what the issue is Americans seem genetically wired to round up the least likely of culprits and shoot the wrong guy for the wrong reason.
Take progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald who recently lambasted neuroscientist, Sam Harris, author of “The End of Faith” for inciting “Islamophobia” and racism. http://gu.com/p/3eq3n/tw
Sam Harris has for the last five years attested himself to be a brilliant, reasonable, and painstakingly dispassionate point man for one of the more burning issues of our time, i.e. the insidious and deleterious impact of ancient belief systems on our modern civilization and culture. Sam has been especially critical of those who would misguidedly standby as extremists take advantage of our own tolerance and constitutional guarantees and insinuate their backward religious doctrines into every aspect of our society:
North Carolina attempts to declare itself a “Christian” state, same sex marriage, women’s reproductive rights, evolution, science, and even our own national history are being assailed and rewritten daily by fundamentalist fanatics like, David Barton, with the support of U.S. Congressmen and women like, Louie Gohmert, Todd Akins, Richard Mourdock, Virginia Foxx, Michele Bachmann, and Dr. Paul Broun, but, who does Greenwald go after?
Blam blam, oops, missed!
In fact, the whole discussion of atheism v theism seems to veer astray most of the time, with atheists themselves waylaid by that old canard: “atheism is just a belief”, with no empirical evidence or science to support it.
Invariably, we are drawn into tangential discussions of Darwin, Einstein, Higgs Boson, the Big Bang, evolution, Stephen Hawking, and, more recently, Christian poster child and apologist, NIH director, Dr. Francis Collins. The sad truth is arguing with a fundamentalist with science is akin to discussing modern air travel with an Amazonian pygmy. However detailed and scientific the explanation their frame of reference will always be an “Iron Bird”.
But, we do have the science! Huge heaping irrefutable empirical mounds of it. How do we know? We found the bones, baby! Forget physics, try archaeology, anthropology, mythology, the science of mythogenetic diffusion, migration, and the whole 400, 000 years of species mutation and evolution from Homo habilis to Homo Sapiens; from the caves of the Lascaux through the 10,000 year progression of civilizations. The one constant factoid throughout is, out of the hundreds of thousands of gods, totems, idols, spirits, creators, guides, and deities of man’s creation, most fervent beliefs, and elaborate rituals and religions, not one, nada, none, nil, zero, bupkis have proven to be true. All of them, from the bear totems of Hokkaido, through the greek pantheon, have been committed to the burial grounds of the past. We have the bones!
And thus it will be with the very beliefs that plague us today.
It is this resounding death-knell that terrifies today’s fanatics and fundamentalists and fuels their desperate attempts to memorialize them. They know, history, science and time are against them, and will most certainly win out.
Or, as Alan Watts once wrote in his book, The Wisdom of Insecurity,”The great tragedy of Christianity is its obsession with what was true once, rather than, what is true, always.”
And what is the eternal truth?
Well, just as the sun has risen and set for millions of years, so too will man’s gods, goddesses, beliefs and religions and the only truth that will remain for as long as we do is our infinite imaginations.