So tell me, how does America benefit from putting up with these southern states? I just don’t get it. By now, I’d have offered an amnesty to all the sane people to come to the north and then shut it off with a tightly controlled border.
Yeah, Gary North is quite the wacko. He joined another of my favorites, Lew Rockwell (originally from Boston, though in Alabama for a long time), for a conference on alternative medicine here in California recently (the old argument that doctors hide cheap, safe, natural cures for all major diseases because it’s more profitable for them to keep treating sick people ineffectively). So sadly, the madness has no geographic bounds. A pretty tiney fringe even among evangelical Christians, though.
Smellincoffee, you, Mriana, probalbly J. Free, and a fair number of others on this forum have my deepest sympathies. I’ve just come home from a meeting at the local library (Southern California). As people were standing around waiting for the meeting to start, someone said something about some news story and said, “As an atheist, I have a hard time stomaching that.” Immediately, another woman in the group said, “Oh, my husband just wrote a paper for our slightly religious relatives because they asked him what the basis for our atheism was.” A guy said, “Well, I always say I’m an agnostic, but I’m leaning pretty far to the left on that score.”
I was on the outskirts, but was fascinated that there was no argument or rejection, just normal conversation. My problem is that this seems normal to me, and I’m always surprised when I read posts of the hassles people in the center and south of the country have to endure.
The USA society amazes me. In my tens I used to believe that almost all americans were religous morons, but after I started my career I realize that almost every good paper, almost every important discovery or important scientific advance was produced in the USA universities and I changed my mind. I realized that the image I had about USA was built on, probably, its worst face: televangelist, soldiers ( I guess religion is very important if you need an army full of people ready to kill or die for unclear reasons) and things like that.
What you say seems to support my older view. I also see a couple of figures showing the incredible scientific iliteracy in the USA society, but societies with better scientific literacy levels show a poorer scientific production levels.
Should it be a argument supporting elitism?.
Seriously, what do you think? How you reconcile this two facts?
Well, I’m no sociologist, but remeber the U.S. is HUGE, so a fair amount of diversity in beliefs, education, etc is to be expected, and the pool to draw from for talent is large even if the educational system encourages it poorly. Also, a lot of the best science done in America is done by immigrants and their children. There’s a lot of wealth, and that also leads to high absolute investment in research, even if not relatively as high as other places or as much from the government in the current climate. Also I think the media is not interested in reality as it is but as it can be marketed, so the picture of any country derived from the media is likely to be skewed to the dramatic and unrepresentative. I am lucky enough to live in one of the coastal cities with lots of educated and generally open-minded people both immigrants and native born, and while I’ve lived also in the more extreme hinterlands, statistically a lot more Amwericans live on the coasts than in the areas where extremism flourishes.
The United States is rich. There is much better funding available for science, especially in the private sector, so the U.S. attracts scientists from all over the world because there is a better chance of getting good funding, working in good labs with good support, and being paid well (and the U.S. is a great place to live - if you make good money). There are also many countries where governments are indifferent or even hostile to some kinds of science, which provides even more motivation to move. It is easy in the U.S. to live in a “bubble”, separate from or unaffected by anyone you want to keep away from, so that the kooks and crazies are no more than a slight nuisance, if even that. All this contributes to a double effect: the U.S. keeps getting more and better scientists, but the countries they come from lose their scientists. A similar situation exists with respect to other professions within the U.S.: actors tend to make their way to Los Angeles, bankers to New York, cocaine smugglers to Miami, gamblers to Las Vegas, and so on.
LOL Thanks Occam! I appreciate the thought. I am actually in the Canadian bible belt, although some of that stuff does sound familiar. We have one church in particular in our area that believes they are the ONLY right ones and the rest of us are going to hell, and a lot of the other churches are more moderate. but that one small baptist church is the one building a multi-million dollar building/school in our little city with cash. A friend of ours has a mom that goes there and he reads the bulletins to see the weekly tithe and it’s just huge. They all homeschool, and they all give all their money to the ‘church’. So though they are a minority here, it’s easy to see how with an agenda things could get dangerous for the rest of the moderates should they decide to push their weight (and money) around. We also have a lot of hutterite colonies in our province who are terribly wealthy as well, but they really keep to themselves.
Two years ago there was major pressure from the Canadian churches on the government to keep our definition of marriage as is - that is excluding gay marriage. It was the last thing the liberal government did before they left power to push the law through that would define marriage to include same-sex marriage. The Conservatives promised that if they got into power they would revisit the issue. But the way it works in Canada, there are many parties, and the Conservatives won with a minority government. Which means all the other parties combined have more seats in the House of Commons than the Conservatives, so due to the large number of Liberals that still got seats, the Conservatives were unable to change the definition in the constitution.
Anyways, I remember back to a prayer meeting I attended at the time, where we were called to fight for God’s Canada, and at the time I was thinking it all seemed way too dramatic - like they were talking as if this got passed there would be no morals left at all in no time. People wailing and crying and having all-night vigils to try and keep same-sex marriage out of Canada. Just bizzare. I would be interested to know how much attention if any, that stuff got. I only know about it because I had friends ‘on the inside’ LOL.
I’ve heard Canadians make fun of themselves because we’re all so complacent as a country - America actually gets things done. But I think it’s our live and let live attitude that allows for so much freedom in the country, and makes for a minority that care about what everyone else is doing and implementing regulations on everyone else.
Canada’s bible belt is basically the prairie provinces - but I am guessing it is different than America’s, though I’m not sure. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and mostly the southern parts are referred to as the bible belt up here. Apparently though, according to the 2001 census, 23.1% of Albertans declared themselves as having no religion, and actually the provinces east of ontario had the lowest percentages of people (ranging from 2.5% to 7.8%) who put themselves in the no religion category. The prarie provinces and Ontario were between 11 and 17% self-declared non-religious. And the western Provinces of BC and Yukon were 35.1% and 37.4% respectively.
So I don’t know how this compares with religion in America. Maybe I’ll take a look on google, so I can better understand some of what everyone is talking about on here!
I see that the lack of interest of many americans in science and tecnology is a good oportunity to scientist and engineers around the world.
I understand that this extremist are only a threat for themselfs and their childs, preventing the later for having a good education. But, in the long term, could their influence end by cuting research fundings?.
Well, I think the evidence is strong that the current administration has eviscerated federal science efforts by reducing funding and suppressing results inconsistent with it’s political and religious biases. There was already a trend away from big goverment sponsored prokjects under the fashionable anti “big government” crusade, but it’s gotten exponentially worse under Bush. There is still strong private research financing, though I have personally a lot of concerns about the effect of this on the type and quality of research done. Individual states are also investing in research, as in California’s stem cell initiative. So while I think more and better science could and should be done using government funds, a reasonably strong effort in at least fields of commercial interest (technology, medicine, etc) is still being done without this.
I think Canada and the US need an “Industrial Revolution” - we had one here a while back and the number of backward rural places decreased exponentially. Consequently, we don’t even have a bible belt over here and most people wouldn’t wear one even there was such a thing.