Wednesday, September 5, 2012


As I watched the conventions from the two dominant political parties in this country and listened to all of the incredibly ignorant things being said -- admittedly on both sides, but also admittedly far more by Republicans than Democrats -- about issues like rape and marriage and global warming and so forth.

At first the level of ignorance just simply astounded me.

Then I flashed back to my recent drive home from Pittsburgh.  I took my daughter back to University and had to drive the 200 miles back to my home without the benefit of my own music.  I had forgotten to throw any CD's or my iPod into the car, and so I was forced to listen to whatever I might be able to glean from the airwaves on the radio.  Now around Harrisburg there's lots to listen to, and the same holds for Pittsburgh, but for about two hours you're stuck between the two in what I refer to as "Pennsyltucky."  It's very rural, lots of mountains -- which means lots of interference of radio signals -- and what radio there is, is likely to be country music or what I like to call "Radio Jesus."  Talk radio with a right-wing Christian focus.  Oy.

On my way home, trying to find something to keep me awake, I discovered a Radio Jesus talk show where the interviewee was a "Creation Scientist."  Now to me, "creation scientist" is an oxymoron if ever there was one, but this guy was so wildly out there that I found it compelling.  Here, as best as I understood it, is the "scientist's" explanation of why evolution cannot possibly be right:

• The "false" fossil record, from which evolution gets its evidence, is dependent on death to be right.  Previous generations have to die so that subsequent offspring can adapt and develop their changes.

• The Bible clearly tells us that God created the perfect world back in Genesis.  There was no death until Adam committed the first Sin of eating the Apple in the Garden.  So there could not have been any evolution because there was no Death.

• Besides, if Death existed BEFORE Adam's sin, it would make Adam's punishment irrelevant.  Even worse, it would make the sacrifice Jesus made for us all on the cross irrelevant, because God created Death as both the means for punishing Original Sin AND the means for Jesus to redeem us through self-sacrifice.

•Therefore, evolution could not possibly be correct because it flies in the face of God's plan for us, for Jesus and for Death.

I.  Was.  Stupefied.

I could not believe that in the 21st Century this kind of voodoo nonsense would be spouted on the radio, not even in the wilds of my great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, much less be taken seriously. By anybody.  There were so many holes and logical errors and false assumptions that in my opinion, you only needed to be of average intelligence to see the enormous fallacies in the argument.  You didn't need to be a student of logic or philosophy.  You just needed to have half a brain in your head.

And yet, there it was.

So I no longer wonder why Republican candidates think, honestly think, that a raped woman's body has ways of shutting that whole pregnancy thing down.  Why they look at you goggle-eyed when you tell them that actually, there were 32,000 pregnancies as a result of rape just last year AND THEN REFUSE TO BELIEVE YOU.  It's why Paul Ryan can lump together ALL of the bankruptcies last year and claim that 1.4 million businesses claimed bankruptcies.  In fact, it was fewer than 50,000 businesses.  The 1.4 million included personal bankruptcies as well.  And in fact, the number of 50,000, while disturbing, is actually down 22% from the previous year -- and the personal bankruptcies are down by 11%.

But you tell them this, no matter how gently, and they refuse to believe it.  They say that they are not going to let their campaign be stalled by fact checkers.

In other words, they don't give a flying crap about the truth.  Hell, Ryan can't even honestly give you the time he ran his marathon.  He actually took four hours plus to run it, but insists it was done in under three.  Clearly the man is a stranger to the truth on every level.  And he's just one guy.

If I wasn't an atheist, I'd pray, "God help us all."  But I think we're going to have to help ourselves.

If you value hearing the truth from your elected officials, if you value having your information vetted and verified before it's fed to you, if you're tired of having to get the truth from Rolling Stone and Jon Stewart and NPR because NOBODY ELSE IN THE NEWS MEDIA IS BOTHERING -- I urge you to really think twice about how you vote this November.  Please.

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