Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Contempt and Suspicion of Science ...

... ends at the emergency room door.

I remember reading an article by a reporter who spent a lot of time among the Taliban, part of that time as their prisoner. He noted the strange mixture of technical sophistication and ignorance among the Taliban fighters. They knew how to use the internet very effectively to access information and to communicate with each other and the world. At the same time, they were amazingly ignorant of the world beyond their own borders. He remembers Taliban fighters asking him if the Vietnamese were Muslim.

It seems to me that even the most determinedly anti-modern theocrat who loathes and hates science, nonetheless loves the power that science and technology can bring. Creationists have no qualms about taking their children to emergency rooms, or about having them treated with vaccines and antibiotics. Fundamentalists who would regard Einstein and Fermi as blaspheming agents of Satan are eager to use the nuclear power made possible by their work.

1 comment:

IT said...

Part of the problem is that they don't want to pay for it. They don't think in long-term views. The science I do today is but a brick in a foundation of a house. The treatment they seek may be the final touch of the fixtures in the house, but every brick in the foundation matters. And you can't pay for the fixtures without paying for the foundation.

It reminds me of a possibly apocryphal story of a KKK leader (might have been David Duke) who loved visiting Taco Bell but had to send his "boys" in to buy the tacos since he couldn't be seen in a place filled with Mexicans.

The root of much of this is pure hypocrisy.