There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’
It’s frustrating dealing with scientifically ignorant people. They proudly display their ignorance as a badge of honor. They care not how wrong they are, nor do they care to upgrade themselves. They are right, and truth is on their side. They simply cannot be reasoned with because reason has nothing to do with their ignorance. They are confident and, much like their belief in belief, nothing will shake that confidence.
There are so many false notions that I would love to dispel from so many people, but one of the most frustrating is the lay misunderstanding of what the word “theory” means in the context of science. So many hear the word “theory” and immediately think of it as simply conjecture and they dismiss anyone suggesting otherwise. Science is not a religion, nor is it game that intellectual elites play in order to control the masses. It’s the single most reliable method of investigation that humans have ever come up with, yet the ignorant are happy to throw science under the bus in order to protect their sacred beliefs.
I struggle every day to come to grips with the perverse contentment with ignorance, as people hold up the Bible on one hand and shout that “evolution is lie from the pits of hell” on the the other. That we have engineers and scientists who have created the incredibly complex technologies that we rely on, all while a large segment of the general public holds up their millennia old holy book as a trusted source of truth on the other. Where people are more likely to believe in literal angels than accept evolution.
This same anti-intellectualism has given rise to the politics we see today. It has also given rise to a President who spouts nearly a dozen falsehoods every day, yet his supporters don’t seem to care. “He speaks his mind”, and “he’s protecting religious freedom” they will tell me as a reason they love him. The delusion runs deep.
I don’t pretend to be able to see the future, but I am deeply concerned about the segment of the population that will wantonly disregard reliable methods of determining truth, and accept ignorance as fact. The United States will continue to decline as long as the delusional worldview of fundamentalist evangelical Christians is held up as a virtuous.