Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lassen County Times in Review Oct 30 Edition

It has been some time since I have felt compelled to respond to anything printed in the Lassen County Times. The news has largely stuck with, well, news and the editorials have, at most, remained….quaint. There are times when I miss the conservative elitism sometimes expressed by the paper’s staff – public argument is always a good thing, and I certainly enjoy engaging in it. But the nature of fundamentalist approaches to life is to take them underground when they are challenged consistently, so I suspect it may be some time before the editorial staff sticks too much of a foot in their collective mouths again.

In the meantime, however, we have the usual cast of local letter writers. Bill Ashmore continues the tired and data-less hypothesis that God is responsible for everything significant that happens or does not happen – this time in regards to global warming. (Yes, this is the same Ashmore whose pontification about gays, abortions and the frequency of earthquakes failed every empirical test you could throw at it…and then failed some more). Ashmore of course, gets the details wrong and like all good creationists, penalizes science for its past mistakes (without acknowledging that science is self-correcting); he uses the poor predictions of science 100 years ago as a proxy for the standards of scientific inquiry today; and he conflates media stories with what the scientists themselves actually say. Pretty much standard fare for a fundamentalist.

So the straw man has been constructed and knocked down: according to Ashmore, scientists can provide no data on global warming. The alternative for all of us?....wait for it….God controls the weather! Yep, forget all this debate about science, just trust in the religious intuitions of a handful of men like Ashmore and we’ll all be just fine. No need to actually work at understanding the world around us; no need to derive any conclusions from any physical pattern we see (they are all wrong anyway)…from Ashmore’s viewpoint there’s probably no need for any education. We’ll just sit around the fire with Bill telling us what we need to know and teaching us how to read goat entrails to prophesize the Second Coming.

Men (and women) like Bill Ashmore prove Harris and Hitchens correct every time they open their mouths or set their primitive thoughts to pen: religion poses an inherent threat to human survival and ultimately, “spoils everything”. He simply does not understand that religious approaches to physical world suffer horribly from inconsistency and have not advanced our knowledge of the world around us for more than 30,000 years – ever since anatomically modern humans started to acknowledge their ideological thinking by painting on cave walls. Every advancement of modern society has been made despite religious views, not because of them.

Sorry…but Jesus has nothing to do with it.

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