Intelligence is defined in different ways, but generally it is a human being’s capacity for logic, abstract thought, self-awareness, learning, communication, memory, and problem solving among many other things including emotional knowledge. As one might expect, emotional knowledge is not always related to intelligence, at least not in the traditional sense. Emotion can be counterintuitive to logic, abstract thought, and problem solving, and in fact emotion is a feeling that is the polar opposite of logic and reason, and a primary driver of emotional knowledge is religion. The preponderance of fundamentalist Christians in America are why so many Americans are comparatively unintelligent when it comes to scientific knowledge that drives the epidemic of stupidity of Americans, primarily in the South, subscribing to hazardous Republican policies.
A short while ago, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said the success and popularity of Fox’s Cosmos was a good sign that science is trending that may have led some to think that maybe America would end its rush to ignorance and anti-intellectualism. Sadly, that is not the case. There are two reasons America, as a nation, is woefully ignorant of the most basic fundamentals of science. First, there is an extremely low level of basic science education in primary and secondary public schools, and second, the rise of fundamental Christianity over the past 30 years that Americans have Republican man-god Ronald Reagan to thank for starting.
According to a Gallup poll released last week; “Americans continue to poll more like Iranians or Nigerians than Europeans or Canadians on questions of evolution, scriptural inerrancy, the presence of angels and demons, and so forth.” The poll also revealed that 42% of Americans, obviously fundamentalist Christians, still adhere to the creationists’ assertion that Earth, the Universe, and human beings were created in their present form less than 10,000 years ago. In another study conducted for the National Science Foundation, surveys revealed that one-in-five (20% for fundamentalist morons) still believe the Sun revolves around the Earth, cannot fathom that DNA is key to identifying heredity, or that radiation, including from the Sun, has deleterious effects on the human body.
The reason these statistics, and there are many more signaling America as a nation is bible-stupid and getting stupider, are important was best articulated by Susan Jacoby of the “Age of American Unreason.” Jacoby wrote that, “This level of scientific illiteracy provides fertile soil for political appeals based on sheer ignorance.” It is true, and exactly why Republicans are able to convince truly ignorant Americans, primarily in the former Confederacy, to support policies against their own self-interests and interests of the United States, such as combating climate change, planning for the future, or spending even one penny on education.
The source of anti-science ignorance is the Christian bible that evangelical fundamentalists and many mainstream Christians believe is literal universal truths because it was handed to Christians by god almighty. Over a third of all Americans believe every word in the bible is absolute truth, and 60% of Americans are waiting for the war of Armageddon to bring about the end of the world. Interestingly, there is as much ignorance of the Christian bible as science because the majority of Americans cannot even name the first book of the bible, if they even know how to read. It led Jacoby to ask, “How can citizens understand what creationism means, or make an informed decision about whether it belongs in classrooms, if they cannot even locate the source of the creation story?”
There is a direct correlation to ignorance of science and the importance placed on teaching it in public schools; primarily in the Southern United States where fundamental Christianity is an epidemic. In fact, and this is appalling, a University of Texas study revealed that clearly 25% of public school biology teachers believe human beings and dinosaurs coexisted in perfect harmony. It is no wonder that 72% of teabaggers distrust science and scientists, and why they join Republicans crusading to slash funding for education as well as oppose attempts to assuage the devastation of global climate change.
The ignorance epidemic in the South explains their devotion to the GOP’s policies of devaluing, and cutting funding for, public education to make room for tax cuts for the rich, as well as transferring public school funding into private religious and charter (also religious) schools. Bible inspired ignorance is why there is a rush to home school children pushed by idiot Christians such as creation scam artist Ken Ham who convinces ignorant Southern Christians to pull their children from, and oppose funding for, public schools they claim teach satanic science and not the bible. According to Max Brantely of the Arkansas Times, “the charter school movement is another big part of the problem” because they are free to use curriculum that includes teaching the bible as science and history.
For the past five years, even semi-intelligent Americans have been scratching their collective heads and wondering why so many of their compatriots, primarily in the South, have dependably voted against their own best interests by supporting Republicans and teabaggers. It is true it has a lot to do with racism, that is undeniable, but it is also due to Republicans pandering to the fundamentalist Christian cult actively promoting ignorance-by-bible. The various polls, surveys, and studies revealing that Americans adhering to biblical inerrancy and literalism are fundamentally ignorant of the most basic science on the level of Iran, Afghanistan, and Nigeria verifies that not only are Americans dumb and getting dumber, it is why Republicans predominate in Southern states where the bible is science and science is of the Devil. A little over a week ago, The Street compiled a list of the dumbest states in America and not only were the top ten dominated by Republicans, eight of them were located in the most religious region of the nation; the former Confederacy. There is a reason there is a monumental intellectual gap between America and the rest of the civilized world and why Republicans control the former Confederacy and it is down to the Christian religion; pure and simple. It would be foolish to claim all Christians are bible stupid, because they certainly are not. There are Christians who are scientists and who do not support Republican policies by voting against their own best interests.
There are also some Christians who understand exactly what the bible is; archaic man’s attempt to explain the mysteries of the world as well as frighten superstitious Bronze Age humans and 21st Century American Christians into compliance. However, because Christianity is the predominate religion in America, if 60% of the population believes Armageddon is near, 42% believe Earth and humans are less than 10,000 years old, 20% believe the Sun revolves around the Earth, and 72% of tea baggers distrust science, then it is safe to say most anti-science Christians are stupid and it starts with their primary source of knowledge; the inerrant word of god found in the Christian bible. The one they call real science, real history, the real Constitution, and the reason they are a real hazard to America.
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.