By Deb Avery
An Italian scientist and scholar named Galileo made pioneering observations that laid the foundation for our modern physics and astronomy.
He was a great scientist. Yet he was accused of heresy by the Catholic Church, imprisoned, and died years later still in a prison cell. Of course his scientific revelations proved accurate and later the Catholic Church admitted this. The fact that this disproves the infallibility of the pope has been overlooked, dismissed or forgotten. Belief in dogma and doctrine trumped intelligence and scientific data.
It was a time of Inquisition and ignorance—known as the “dark age.” It was a time of patriarchy and belief in religious doctrine over science and reality. Those were the days of illiteracy and superstition. Today we are so much more educated and aware of the world we live in. There is no way we could make the same mistakes as were made so many years ago—not now, not in this age of scientific advancement.
Actually, as I’m sure you remember, there was a live debate just last year as to whether the Earth was a mere 6,000 years old.
Despite science proving otherwise beyond a shadow of a doubt, many still hold onto this outdated belief, all in the name of religion and creationism. Science didn’t change the minds of the political and religious leaders in the 17th century with Galileo’s revelations, and even today science won’t change the minds of some, because of their belief in religious doctrine over scientific data.
Our country has become divided in an “us against them” environment. Politicians regal the days of old when this nation was mighty and feared because of our devotion to the Christian god, when with a little research, we can all find out that our founding fathers did not hold one religion—or a lack of a religion—as the foundation for our new country.
In fact, this country was founded on the freedom to choose one’s own religion, or lack there of. It was not founded on doctrine of any kind. Science was welcomed and supported by our founding fathers. Now it seems we are going in the opposite direction.
Never in recent history have we had a Congress so biased against science.
Approximately 60% of our Republican Congress have stated publicly that they do not believe in climate change. This in itself is frightening, yet add to that the fact that most of these are men with outdated, patriarchal views of society, and a disdain for Science in general, and we have the makings of a disaster for society, scientists, the environment and the Earth itself.
For some, beliefs have trumped science even when those beliefs have been proven to be wrong. When faced with the reality that they need to change their long held beliefs and their limited views of the world, Congress, and many others, have chosen the path of fear and resistance.
There seems to be two forces at work here: greed and fear. The greed is simple. It will take compromise, dedication, and money spent on new energy resources combined with less profit for oil and all those who profit from it’s many subsidiaries.
The fear however, is twofold.
First, there is their fear of losing the status quo. Religious dogma, male dominance and power are at the crux of the ultra-conservative politicians. And it seems the 114th Congress is ruled by this extreme conservatism.
Secondly, they would have to admit that they were wrong and welcome change. Change is scary, especially in the area of politics and religion. Change is to be feared when you there is so much evidence that what you are promoting and telling your constituents is backed up by tons of scientific evidence to the contrary.
Ted Cruz is one of the most scientifically illiterate members of Congress, yet he and several other men, who share his disdain of science, have been placed at the very head of the committees over our most scientific programs. Yes, committees that are male dominated, and all scientifically ignorant.
How does this happen in 2015?
How does this happen in America? It’s comparable to putting someone who does not believe that cancer is a disease (and therefore has no reason to look for a cure) over the American Cancer Society.
How are we ever going to solve the very real problems of how man is contributing to the destruction of the environment if the people in charge do not even admit that there is a problem? The facts do not lie. The coastal waters have already advanced well above the shoreline all over the world. The ocean is going through a tremendous change. It is possible that we will see the death of many coral reefs and many of the sea creatures who depend on a delicate balance in their watery world, that we humans have upset in our consumerism and greed.
It’s the same on land as well. We have stripped the forests, polluted the land and water, abused and tortured the animals we use for food and almost destroyed many of the beneficial insects with pesticides—including the life sustaining honeybee.
It has to stop.
We must not only put a stop to this environmental suicide, we must try and find ways to reverse some of the damage already done. It may already be too late for some, but there is hope if we begin today.
Yet in a recent poll, a solid 56% of the Republicans in the 114th Congress have publicly dismissed or denied climate change.
However, in another poll conducted in December 2014, 83% of Americans stated that they believe in climate change. Congressional Republicans have proven that they will stubbornly hold onto their denial of climate change and science, even as the American people’s opinion—and world opinion—changes around them. And all the while scientific data prove the facts, over and over, again.
As concerned Americans, we must be diligent in our actions and support for those who are not afraid to stand up for the scientific community, the Earth, our lives and the lives of all other beings on this planet. Our children, and our children’s children, are depending on us to make the right decisions for their futures.
We must not let them down.
We must become social activists in the war on science, the environment, intelligence and reason. We must go out and vote in record numbers. We must sign petitions, write letters, make phone calls, speak out and let out representatives know that we will not tolerate another “dark age.”
And we must act now.
Our world can’t wait forever.
Editor: Dana Gornall