Fact vs Fiction

When Christopher Columbus set off on his epic voyage in 1492, he left behind a populous that believed his ships would fall off the edge of the world and never come back.

Why? Because back then everyone believed that the world was flat, like a table and of course, tables have edges. To everyone’s great surprise, Columbus did not fall off the edge of the world. Instead he discovered the New World.

Without the fact of Columbus’ discovery, the Pilgrim Fathers would have had nowhere to go in 1620. Without the facts of science, Henry Ford would never have built the first Model-T, the Wright Brothers would never have built the first airplane and the US would never have become the richest and most powerful nation on earth, in the 20th century.

Facts made the US great yet now, in the 21st century, the US seems hell bent on denying that there is a HUGE difference between fact and faith. Or as I see it, fact and fiction.

According to a recent Gallop Poll, ’46 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago.’ I have no idea where the figure of 10,000 years came from but a whole range of different scientific disciplines have shown that this is total fiction. Chemistry has proved that carbon dating works. Palaeontologists use carbon dating to determine how old fossils are and they have shown that human beings go back much, much further than 10,000 years. Geologists have proved that the world itself goes back billions of years. And I haven’t even come to Darwin yet.

Nonetheless, 46% of Americans are convinced that chemists, palaeontologists and geologists are all wrong. Why? Because they prefer the Bible to evolution, fiction to fact. The irony is that these same Americans are the greatest consumers of scientific products in the world. No, not microscopes and test-tubes but cars, fridges, iPhones, tv’s, air-conditioners and fast food. None of those products would exist without science. And facts.

The only thing more hypocritical than this attitude of denial amongst common Americans is the attitude of the media in pandering to them. The media have taken the concept of supply and demand to truly obscene levels by giving this 46% market share what they want – validation.

Instead of attempting to clarify the difference between facts and fiction [faith] the media have decided to prevert their own standards by making it seem as if they are reporting impartially on both sides of an equal debate. Thus creationism is given equal air-time [and validation] as science. And science seems to be losing the media battle because science is not really sexy. Science is also hard to understand, especially if you are poor and lack education. The media know this. They also know that it is much, much easier for their viewers to sit in front of a tv with a frozen dinner and a cold beer, being entertained, than it is for them to read and study and ask uncomfortable questions.

I know that there is an element of Australian society that matches the 46% of Americans who don’t want to think but most of them are not religious. Most of them are not dirt poor either and that makes a big difference because poverty, ignorance and bigotry can create a very powerful force for ‘evil’. I don’t bandy that word around too much because I don’t believe in demons and all that supernatural bunk. Nonetheless, there are situations in which no other word will suffice and this is most definitely one of them.

We have seen the face of evil in terrorist attacks by fundamentalist Muslims. Now we are seeing the face of evil in fundamentalist Christians as well. The latter may not be blowing people up, yet, but the writing is on the wall. All I can hope is that some American President will have the guts to insist that a) education is important and b) that science is the only foundation for an education system. If that doesn’t happen then I can see a very powerful nation degenerating into a very dangerous nation.

Let’s not forget that red button and all the missiles connected to it. Those missiles are capable of turning the whole earth into an ash pile many times over. I don’t know about you but I cannot think of anything more terrifying than having a fundamentalist President sitting in the White House. A rational man would never push that red button but a bigot just might.

God help us all.

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

36 responses to “Fact vs Fiction

  • Russel Ray Photos

    I don’t believe in a god, but I do note that those who do often tell me that their god is all-knowing and all-powerful. If s/he is all powerful, wouldn’t s/he be able to create anything that would keep the little ones interested? And if the little ones got too big for their britches, would s/he not be able to put the little ones back in their places?

    There’s a lot to be said for the bumper sticker, “Jesus, save me from your followers” — for they are a mean bunch indeed. And Allah’s followers aren’t any better.

    Like

    • acflory

      So very true Russel. Except that I think these people are following some other Jesus. Before I became an atheist I was a catholic, so I’m familiar with the New Testament. The Jesus who walked around teaching with parables and doing ‘miracles’ was all about love and tolerance so who the hell is this fundamentalist Jesus who seems to be inspiring all this hate?

      To me, the word fundamental means core. What could be more fundamental then than the core teachings of the man himself? I can’t see any of that though.These people may call themselves Christians but it’s no christianity that I recognize.

      Like

  • Patricia Awapara

    This was a great piece indeed. Subjects like these are always interesting. I was born into a catholic family. At 12, I told mom that it wasn’t for me. Since then I have search life for answers and have had an open mind about it. I don’t condemn any religion or belief. As long as they don’t hurt others – I say – let them believe in a rock if that’s what make them feel good.

    Now, putting aside what I believe though, which doesn’t interfere with my reasoning, facts and science are the engine of progress and life. In fact, science can now see back when the big bang happened. It would be ridiculous to dismiss all of it.

    And talking about politics…I am amused by the use of religion in politics. The US says that it is important to have separation of State and church, but that is ironically hypocritical. Now, it seems that religion is driving all these radical conservative to the caveman era. What’s up with that?!

    Like

    • acflory

      lol – I was brought up a Catholic as well Patricia! It’s funny how many parallels there are in life.

      I decided that I didn’t believe in god at about the age of 16 or 17. The head nun at my convent school was an amazing, brilliant woman. She did try to talk me out of being an atheist [as did the parish priest] but when she realised that I simply couldn’t make that leap of faith away from logic, she allowed me to finish my last year at school without having to attend RE classes.

      She could have made my life hell but she didn’t. I’ve always been amazed by her tolerance. That’s one reason why I find these religious fundamentalists so baffling. All of them are splinter groups that have little or no affiliation with the traditional churches. And all of them are intolerant of others.

      How did such non-traditional ‘churches’ gain so much power? I honestly don’t know.

      Like

  • pinkagendist

    The most recent U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum indicates that 7 out of 10 Americans believe that angels and demons are active in the world today. 63% believe the bible is ‘the word of god’. 74% say they believe in an afterlife. 60% believe in hell. 79% believe god intervenes to cause miracles…
    The difference is that the US was founded and moulded by religious loons. Australia was (necessarily) started with more pragmatic people.

    Like

    • acflory

      lmao – yeah convicts. I just finished reading a book called Terra Nullius that showed our founding ‘fathers’ to be dirty, smelly bastards with rotten teeth and bad breath who raped and murdered the indigenous populations with the blessing of their ministers. I guess the difference was that the ministers were forced on them, not a question of choice.

      Still, I must say I rather like our irreverence and up-you attitude to authority. 😀

      Like

    • metan

      Those number are pretty scary aren’t they?
      I love that you call those early Australians pragmatic 🙂
      One of my favourite quotes ever is;

      A few years ago we colonised this place with some of our finest felons, thieves, muggers, alcoholics and prostitutes, a strain of depravity which I believe has contributed greatly to this country’s amazing vigour and enterprise.
      Ian Wooldridge.

      Makes me come over all patriotic knowing that our country wasn’t founded for the usual ‘go forth and multipy’ reasons.

      Like

  • metan

    I don’t mind people having different beliefs than mine but when they start trying to force the rest of us into thinking the same way that is when I have a problem.

    When I hear about stats like that, nearly half of the population not believing cold hard facts, it makes me wonder how much more advanced western societies would be if logical thinking was a subject in schools!!

    Like

    • acflory

      -sigh-

      Back when Noah was a boy and I was in primary school ‘comprehension’ was a big part of the curriculum. And that despite it being a parish school run by nuns.I guess the old religions must have learnt their lesson by then.

      Like

  • Candy

    I’m scared. I’m hopeful about the outcome of this particular election, but scared.

    I know I live in a bubble of multi-cultural tolerance where religious beliefs (or lack of religious beliefs) are considered private, AKA NYC. Most of the US wants to believe in a higher power and in a manifest destiny of the country. Of course, there are also polls that talk about the number of adults who believe in angels, aliens visiting earth or that the moon landing was faked.

    Scary stuff!

    Great post.

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks Candy. I’ve heard that one about the moon landing being faked. That particular one always makes me laugh. I was a kid when man first walked on the moon but I can tell you the images we saw bouncing around on our primitive black and white tv sets could not have been faked. Not then. Now, with photoshop anything can be faked but back then even the first pc was still almost two decades away.

      I laugh at that kind of ignorance but it also scares me. There’s way too much of the neanderthal still lurking in our genes….

      Like

      • Candy Korman

        So funny. My family’s trip to Finland, that I recalled on Metan’s blog about flies, was at the time of the moon walk. We watched it on a tiny black & white TV with the hotel staff. My mom says the commentary was in Swedish with Finnish subtitles, but I only remember the images. Not faked at all!

        Like

      • Russel Ray Photos

        Sure it could have been faked back then. Hollywood’s been facking stuff since the 1890s!…….lol

        Like

        • acflory

          Sure they could have built a ‘set’ for the space craft blah blah but I’m pretty sure they didn’t have the technology to fake low gravity. Besides, so much that came out of the Moon landing was ‘new’. Theory is one thing, actually experiencing the reality is something else again. Any film-maker brilliant enough to conceive of and pull off such a realistic fake would have to rival Einstein.

          Like

          • Russel Ray Photos

            I believe in the moon landing, but it’s been easy to fake low or zero gravity for decades. It’s so easy now that I could do it here in my house. We’re talking 80 years of experience in Hollywood by the time the 1969 moon landing came along. The other thing is, since no one had landed on the moon before, how do we know what was “realistic”?

            Like

          • acflory

            Good point Russel. We accept that that is how walking in micro-gravity would look but until the trip is repeated ad nauseum there will always be that element of doubt. Re Hollywood though. I know that by 1969 they could do some pretty amazing things with /film/ but there was still something unreal about it. You could tell a fake set from something shot ‘on location’. It wasn’t until a decade later that computerized graphics truly began to blur the lines between the real and the make-believe [Star Wars, 1978?].

            For me the moment when the two became virtually indistinguishable was in the movie Jurassic Park. The first time I saw it I felt almost dizzy. I knew those dinosaurs could not possibly be real and yet… 😀

            Like

  • Carrie Rubin

    Well said. Faith is fine, but as you point out, a fact is a fact. It disturbs me to think that creationism has found its way into American textbooks in some states.

    Like

  • sweetmother

    great piece. i think one of my faves you’ve written so far… and i don’t know where in the feck those americans are. i know they exist, but i have yet to interact with one. i guess they’re all at romney conventions. sigh. why can’t people use their brains? it makes no sense. xo, sm

    Like

    • acflory

      Romney…ugh.:( I don’t know whether he is a bigot or not but the man scares me.

      If you ever get sick of being an author and a comedian I’d suggest running for President. And no, I’m only joking a little bit.

      Like

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