Superstition is the belief in supernatural causality that means one event leads to the cause of another event without any natural process linking the two events. Throughout recorded history superstitious humans mired in unfounded belief devised myriad supernatural explanations for events they observed in nature that led to unsupported belief systems founded in astrology, religion, numerology, witchcraft, and omens that bewilder most semi-intelligent 21st Century human beings because none of those beliefs are founded in reality and contradict natural science. As unbelievable and absurd as it seems, in the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, a very embarrassing number of Americans eschew reality, established science, and empirical data about their existence and the Universe because they are hopelessly addicted to superstition created by a belief system founded on the pre-historic construct known as gods.
Although it is a well-established legal precedent that it is a gross violation of the United States Constitution, there is a monumentally concerted effort to funnel taxpayer dollars meant for public education to private religious schools to inculcate superstition founded on the Christian deity and the bizarre notion it created the entire Universe in six literal 24-hour days. In a report last week it was revealed that taxpayers are unknowingly funding $1 billion in tuition for private schools teaching creationism in 14 states across America, including hundreds of religious schools training children that modern biology, geology and cosmology are all lies. Using nefarious voucher scams, there is a giant push to use greater amounts of taxpayer dollars to expand the religious voucher programs nationwide to program children to embrace bible superstition as fact by invalidating the foundations of modern science. Sadly, there are very few voices speaking out against this miscarriage of justice due to an unwritten law that makes it a veritable sin to challenge religious right Republicans or the Christian religion in a public forum, and it appears the nation can look forward to another generation of ignorant and superstitious Americans; but all hope the madness stops may not be lost yet.
Last week in the third installment of Fox’s science documentary series Cosmos, host and brilliant astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson skillfully described the earliest human beings’ natural curiosity and innate desire to understand their surroundings, the physical world, and their existence by looking at naturally recurring patterns of stars in the night sky. Cosmos and deGrasse Tyson have come under harsh, and often severe, criticism by evangelicals steeped in creationism for not giving equal time to the bible creation story that is founded on ancient superstition, but thus far the entire series has given all its time to creationism and kept an underlying theme debunking the biblical creation story that deGrasse Tyson dealt a crushing blow with two very clear and devastatingly simple to comprehend examples. It cannot be overstated that if any dyed-in-the-wool evangelical Christian, hardline creationist, or normally intelligent viewer tuned in to Cosmos last week, they would have learned that the idea of the Universe’s creation by a deity was an epic absurdity rooted in the mindset of pre-historic man and has no place in the 21st Century.
Episode three began with deGrasse Tyson carefully explaining that from the earliest man, “cultures all over the planet looked up at the same stars that told them when to camp and when to move on, when the migratory herds and rains and the cold would come and when they would cease for a time. Man looked up in helpless wonder with nowhere to turn for an explanation beyond their guilt and their fears, and no explanation except the work of a master clockmaker; how else to explain it? There was only one way for this to come about in their imagination, only one answer for them; god.” He went on to describe the only conclusion of ancient man was that what happened “up there was directed at them down there” by a god or gods, and that every ancient human culture made the same mistake. deGrasse Tyson even explained away ancient man’s ignorance as a condition of not knowing and asked; “can we really blame them?” Later in the episode deGrasse Tyson explained that Sir Isaac Newton’s ability to write in perfect mathematical proof describing the laws of gravity and motion revealed how the solar system and everything operated and “swept away the need for a master clockmaker, a creator;” unless they are 21st Century American evangelicals trapped in a condition of believing like ancient man.
It has been about 327 years since Newton finally eliminated the need for man to believe the Universe was created in its entirety in six days by an all-powerful creator, and yet that is the firmly-held belief by millions of evangelical Christians determined to plague the next generation with their ignorant beliefs and perpetuate America’s backward rush to the Bronze Age. Neil deGrasse Tyson could not possibly have insulted creationists more if he had called them pre-historic knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, except he did it with his normally quiet manner, methodical fact-based explanations, and kindness the creationists certainly do not deserve. However, the people who should be insulted, and outraged beyond belief, are tens-of-millions of Americans watching over a billion of their tax dollars slated for public schools being funneled off to teach a pre-historic fairy tale like creationism.
Taxpayers are paying for students to learn that evolutionary theory is “a wicked and vain philosophy,” “modern math theorists” who fail to view mathematics as laws ordained by God are monsters, and watch their tax dollars pay for private school math teachers guiding students as they explore numbers in the bible. All of those insane wastes of tax dollars were popular 327 years ago, and yet there is no public outcry against religious right Republicans using public school money to train an entire generation of Americans in the mindset of ancient cultures who did not know any better. deGrasse Tyson asked, “can we really blame them?” Yes, and there is no reason why Americans are not outraged into frenzy that their tax dollars are paying to teach superstition that has been debunked ad nauseum for three hundred years at least.
It is painfully obvious that despite court ruling after Supreme Court decision banning teaching of creation with public money, religious right Republicans are violating the Constitution’s protection against government establishing religion with public money and Americans are clueless about the lunacy their tax dollars are paying idiots to teach children. So it is left to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Cosmos to inform Americans how utterly insane creationism is if for no other reason to shake them out of their malaise to take action and stop the madness of teaching children a religious belief ancient mankind devised, but has no place in the 21st Century. No American cares if ignorant adults embrace Bronze Age sensibilities and fear science, but they certainly should care that their tax dollars are used to drag a technologically advanced society into the Dark Ages and they should thank Neil deGrasse Tyson for doing the work Americans should do for themselves; insult creationists mercilessly.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.