I just gleaned a few bits of interesting information from PZ Meyers’ Pharyngula Blog. For those of you who don’t believe in the danger of the religious right, check this out.
Do you like the David Attenborough programs such as Planet Earth and Life? They’re amazing and a true testimony to the wonders of science. They are also truly scholarly.
The Life series had an interesting release here in North America. There was one narrated by Attenborough and one by Oprah. As if that wasn’t tacky enough, it seems that the two narrations were not identical. The Oprah version omitted passages and references to evolution from the narration.
Now there is a new Attenborough series appearing on the Discovery Channel. And the report is that only six of the seven episodes have been purchased and will be aired in North America. The final, discarded one is on the topic of Global Warming.
So, evolution and global warming are two topics that either the American people or American sponsors are not comfortable with. Why would that be? I see only one culprit and that is the anti-intellectual forces of the political and religious right, once again trying to change scientific fact. While there may be some minor controversy around climate change (although the vast majority of scientists support the general principal), certainly evolution is an established fact for all but the most delusional. To remove these things from a reputable science broadcast is a harbinger of the kind of depths that these people can and are willing to go to in order to keep inconvenient truths from emerging. It is really an embarrassment for the Discovery Channel.
Last week I heard Mit Romney give a speech where he stated clearly that academics and scientists were out of touch with the real world. Romney, if you recall, is a Mormon. There is a long history of anti-intellectualism in the right, where the voters are largely represented by ignorant, shit-kicking, religiously superstitious hicks. These good ole boys think the the best way to sort things out is either to look the horse in the mouth or to find it in the Bible. Never mind those lazy scientist types (who invented all those things they use every day to make their lives somewhat distinguishable from neanderthals).
I can’t find a reference to it anywhere, but yesterday I heard on CNN that there was a Discovery Channel show being aired which was attempting to explain and describe the different facets of Islam, in order to better educate and inform the public. A right wing special interest group in Florida took exception to this and sent letters of protest to the station and the sponsors. As a result, Leon’s withdrew their sponsorship of the program, -a spineless move.
These are not the actions of people who believe in freedom or free speech. I’ve always said that the Right, which holds freedom as a high banner, really only believes in freedom as long as you agree with their point of view. If you don’t agree, they have a sense of righteousness that gives them permission and suspends all other values in order for them to get their way. They are little better than the Islamic extremists that they are so quick to judge as the representatives of an entire faith. It is normal to fear and reject something when you see the negative parts of yourself reflected.
This kind of anti-intellectualism is making the U.S. the laughing stock of the world. Meyers, himself, titled his piece, “Once Again I Am Embarrassed To Be An American.”