January 18, 2005

rhymes with australopithecus

1/18/05

It's been another scorcher here this week - last night at the farm, we sweltered through wind chills of 27 below zero, frigid enough that basic shit stopped working. Sometimes it seems so cold that I'm surprised that our cell phones work, that the microwaves actually get through that air and make it to the antenna towers.

Getting over this throat infection took the wind out of my sails for nearly five days now, making each step a little more laborious, the invisible chain mail jacket of lethargy weighing a few pounds heavier. I'm finding that political issues are really getting to me again: to whit, ABC News reported that 61% of Americans believe the biblical story of creationism as actual truth.

I could go on a rant about this, and in fact had a juicy one planned up, but I'm recovering, and news like this makes me feel so inexorably sad. I seems like it's just a matter of time before all the thugs take over, and the few innocent men and women of science and truth are given swirlies so bad that they drown head-down in the toilet of superstitious bullshit. Weren't we supposed to be working towards a greater understanding of the world around us?

It's times like these, glaring into the the dark maw of Bush's second inauguration, that the concept of Coastopia stops being a clever, sarcastic idea and becomes the only life raft I can hold onto. I need to believe there is a rich, full community out there that takes science seriously. My Mormon uncle tells us that dinosaur bones were put on Earth by God to test our faith - is that what 61% of the country thinks of Java Man and Lucy?

I look out on the skyline of Manhattan and pray that although we live in an Age of Morons, that our city is not. Oh Manhattan, home of anti-folk, gay riots, performance art, the Rose Planetarium and trannie waitresses: please, my darling, tell me, may I not count you among the 61 percent?

FreezingBQE4(bl).jpg
at sunset today, 2 degrees Fahrenheit

Posted by irw at January 18, 2005 10:42 PM
Comments
Posted by: kenny at January 19, 2005 1:37 AM

While I'm of the 39% who believe 'Creationism' is bunk and I also live in what you call 'Coastopia', I also believe that by marginalizing those who fall into that 61% and hoping your fellow New Yorkers are all 'with you' is antithetical to your liberal ideals. Don't you want to live in a society where people have different ideas, even if they run directly counter to your own? I don't know about you, but I enjoy being friends with people who share my views, but equally cherish those who have different views, even if science has proven them wrong. And for all your talk of Manhattan being the last bastion of 'enlightenment', let's not forget NYC recently elected back-to-back Republicans for Mayor for the first time in its' history. Wouldn't that make it a 'Red' city?

Posted by: Laurie from Manly Dorm at January 19, 2005 4:54 AM

Um, we send our daughter to a Catholic elementary school, but we have taught her about Java Man and Lucy during many Smithsonian trips. Not sure which percentage that places my little family!

I am reading a great work of historical fiction that I think you would enjoy. Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America." Add it to your Coastopia Book Club list!

BTW, what is a trannie waitress?

Posted by: oliver at January 19, 2005 5:35 AM

Don't believe what TV personalities tell you pollsters tell them about what their poll actually shows. Few polls can be fairly described with the pithiness of a headline, but it's with about the reliability of a headline that the MSM tends to do so. Also the details matter ENOURMOUSLY. 55% of American's will say "Grumblies are Flubber" if the alternative their posed is equally nonsensical to them and "I don't know" is not an option. I believe this ballyhooed creationism result is from a Gallup poll of a few months ago in which the money shot was a question about whether "Darwin's theory of natural selection" was "well supported by evidence." So it's about what folks think is the strength of the evidence supporting one of two accepted mechanisms of evolution (the other is genetic drift), not about how many Americans devoutly believe the Genesis story and outright reject "evolution." This Gallup panel had a whole bunch of related questions that made the matter of what Americans believe even murkier, but because they complicate the story, they tend not to be part of the stories that get told.

Posted by: CL at January 19, 2005 6:36 AM

Beautiful photo!!

trannie = transvestite

Posted by: scruggs at January 19, 2005 6:37 AM

Though a Christian, I feel religion and science don't have to be mutually exclusive. I have trouble with proponents of Biblical literalism. I don't mean to belittle the Bible, as it is happens to be important and useful in my life...but if one is going to insist 100% of it is actual truth, you can't pick and choose what you follow. These people are quick to reference the Bible to say "6 days to create the earth, woman made from a rib, no gay marriage, man is head of the house, women are subservient, etc." Well, what about child sacrifice, concubines & polygamy, polytheism, and death to adulters and to those who even work on the Sabbath? There are some really dark passages in the Old Testament. Guess that'd make the Red states a little less fun. But at least you could carry an assault rifle to protect yourself???

I'm sure you have seen all the news reports about the evolution disclaimer stickers in biology books and the ensuing court case. That's my county! My tax dollars are paying for this silly case.

Posted by: oliver at January 19, 2005 6:47 AM

Well, there goes the neighborhood
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/0520_030520_chimpanzees.html

Posted by: Salem at January 19, 2005 8:08 AM

Ian, Thanks for mentioning Hans on your blog. He made it to the finals this week. Vote for him again this week at www.foodtv.com.

Posted by: Kevin at January 19, 2005 9:01 AM

I attended private Catholic school until I was 18, and even tried St. Joseph's University (Philadelphia) for a while as well before going the state school route for deeper political studies. Never in my entire scholastic career did a nun, priest, or lay teacher state that the Creation myth actually happened. In fact, all of them said that a large chunk of the Bible, both new and old testaments were full of "Chrsitian mythology". I am mostly inclined to say "Let them live in ignorance." There are times that moving to South of France doesn't seem like such a bad idea . . .good wine, good food, nude beaches . . .what more could a guy ask for?

Posted by: Ian at January 19, 2005 9:50 AM

Kenny-

I used to like living in a society with lots of wildly diverging viewpoints until a government was elected with whom we share 0% ideology. It's one thing to harmoniously disagree, it's another when the Dover, DE school board is forcing their science teachers to teach Intelligent Design as an alternative to natural selection.

Now I have to spend the next decade keeping my kid away from these people.

Posted by: Salem at January 19, 2005 4:04 PM

I will go ahead and throw myself to the wolves for making such a naive suggestion, but I would love to have an "Undecided National Convention" where instead of metal detectors we would have idiologue detectors. I know this is absurd but if you can have "American Coastopia" I should be able to dream about my "Undecided National Convention". Humans would speak on how various aspects of the issues were impacting their lives with a focus on solutions and info sharing. The infuriating thing about this is that our news media is supposed to provide this on a daily basis, but they have been infiltrated by political pundits. I think its lazy broadcasting to depend on P.R. Firms, Publicity agents, and special interest groups to cast a political talk show. These incestuous packs of political pundits make their rounds like small pox.

Posted by: Alan at January 19, 2005 4:36 PM

Montreal...and National Film Board of Canada work. It's like it's tatooed on your forehead and only Canadians can read it. A natural Habs fan. Stop fighting it.

Posted by: Emily at January 19, 2005 4:38 PM

Ian - do you mean Dover, PA? That's where all the news is coming from right now. It's a tiny little town about 25 minutes from my house and I heard yesterday was the first day the high school taught Intelligent Design.

Personally, I was told the basics of Darwin at my Catholic high school, but informed in 10th grade biology that the Bible was more important and that Darwin had no true evidence. We skipped over that chapter and moved onto genes.

Posted by: Ian at January 19, 2005 5:05 PM

Yes, I meant Dover, PA. My bad!

Posted by: Jeff at January 19, 2005 5:49 PM

YAWN - the sky is falling once again and this time it's the red states and christians instead of the communists and some ethnic minority.

I guess when life gets a bit boring one has to invent calamities...

Posted by: Ian at January 19, 2005 10:00 PM

Yikes, Jack's right! Expect me to be utterly cavalier from this point forward.

Posted by: noj at January 20, 2005 9:00 AM

%61 ain't bad, historically speaking. wonder what the percentage of Genesisers was 40 years ago...

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