The recent scene of Jon Huntsman, Republican candidate for President, stating that he believed in evolution surrounding this with the parenthetical comment, “call me crazy”, sets out in stark relief how idiotic our politics and body politic are at this moment. Every other Republican running for President has disavowed evolution. Even the middling muddler from Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, could not bring himself to state a positive position on this bit of science.
A 2009 Gallup poll showed that only 36% of Americans believed in Darwinism. Here we are more than 70 years after the Scopes trial and Americans continue to be enormously ignorant of the science and technology that underlies much of our day to day lives. They show no increased interest in the amazing findings of research in so many fields.
This denial of fact-based thinking is tied up with the persistence of religions in their many guises. Even after a major global financial calamity that continues to reveal itself some four years into the Great Recession, most people persist in believing the endless claims of the miracles of the marketplace. History is replete with countless examples of the instability of markets. Even now, living through yet another real life example of the instability of markets, we have politicians surrounded by the hackdom of economists and Wall St financiers, continuing to feed market doggerels to the population still anxious to believe that we just need to be purer in our belief and application of market dogmas to achieve success.
As disturbing as the Republicans not believing in evolution, this matters fairly little in the short run. Their, and, to be fair, most Democrats and virtually the entire corporatist cabal in business and the academy, religious beliefs in markets is an active danger to our economy and our future lives.
I wish I could close with some path out of this miasma of received knowledge. But we seem not to have a political or social force in sight to hitch our increasingly decrepit lives to.