Saturday, March 19, 2005

Back to the Stone Age

I wonder if those Europeans who lived during "The Age of Enlightenment" were aware that they were a part of a significant movement to push back the forces of ignorance and open the human mind to unthought-of possibilities?

I wonder how many Americans alive now, during The Second Term, are aware that we've entered a new "Age of Faith-Based Ignorance"? To wit:

"Several Imax theaters, including some in science museums, are refusing to show movies that mention the subject [evolution] -- or the Big Bang or the geology of the earth -- fearing protests from people who object to films that contradict biblical descriptions of the origin of Earth and its creatures." (NYTimes story here.)

Being flabbergasted on a daily basis by the craven (on the one hand) and the intolerant (on the other) is putting increased wear on the chassis of my psyche, if you know what I mean. Being flabbergasted on a daily basis has in fact escalated lately into being flabbergasted on an HOURLY basis. Watching in the last 24 hours, for example, a pious congregation of Republican Congressmen in front of various microphones solemnly declaring that a bit of videotaped footage of Terri Schiavo makes them -- the Congressmen -- better medical diagnosticians than Schiavo's doctors ... well, it's scientifically flabbergasting.

"Volcanoes of the Deep Sea," an underwater epic about the bizarre creatures that flourish in the hot, sulfurous emanations from volcanic vents in the ocean floor, is one of the recent Imax documentaries to get the know-nothing treatment. Released in 2003, the volcanoes film has been rejected in about a dozen science theaters, "mostly in the South," "because of its brief references to evolution, in particular to the possibility that life on Earth originated at the undersea vents." The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, for example, decided to censor the film after test-screening it and receiving comments from some audience members -- those good Texas Baptists! -- who found it "blasphemous."

(Doesn't that make you flash on a scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," when villagers are trying to determine if a woman is a witch, by drowning her? When life in these United States begins to resemble the plot of a Monty Python movie ... we are beyond FLABBERGASTED.)

Perhaps El Presidente would like to turn over all scientific film-making to Mel Gibson, who evidently has a way with Texas Baptists and other bizarre life forms that flourish in the hot, sulfurous emanations of American Know-Nothingism.

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