A recent ABC poll reports that 16% of U.S. science teachers are Creationists, and worse, one in eight of them admit to teaching Creationism as a kind of valid science in their classrooms .
There is such a thing as too much tolerance. Those of us born after 1980 were raised on a sugary diet of time-outs, love-ins, and diversity seminars. We are encouraged to discuss our feeling and always, always value the beliefs of our fellow citizens. As a result, America is a padded multicultural nation where every creed, ideology, and puny belief basks beneath the gentle rays of Credibility. After all, it's better to accept everything than risk excluding someone, somewhere.
Liberty's eagerness to clutch even the most retched, mutated gimp of a philosophy to her bosom sometimes results in absurd declarations getting absorbed into the national dialog. We begin to treat utter bullshit like truth.
This policy of tongue-kissing intellectual opponents who hold beliefs different than the status-quo is usually acceptable, oftentimes remarkable, and definitely essential in a democracy. Though, lurking in the shadows is the inevitable backlash of this institutionalized tolerance.
Institutionalized tolerance makes it taboo to condemn the practice of teachers teaching Creationism in the classroom. This intellectually bankrupt curriculum needs to be condemned because believing in a creator doesn't make it true. It's not true because no one can prove it's true. Belief is the opposite of science, which is knowledge attained through study or practice. Students can study the behavior of bacteria, plants, and animals, but God -- along with all deities -- belongs in the philosophy and religious studies classrooms.
Any other handling of religion vs. science is dangerous. The two must remain separate so we can continue to enjoy learned doctors and engineers, and not suffer from the constant paranoia that the lady operating on our brain, or the dude fixing our plane's engine, is a Jesus Kid who never went to college.
Some argue that Creationism is a legitimate spiritual alternative to the intellectual argument of Science. Except, the two aren't a ying-yang presentation of reality. Creationism is a theory. Science is real. The majority of sane individuals in this country have a duty to condemn crazy, fringe beliefs instead of incorporating them into educational curriculum lest we rear an entire generation of dumbasses, who have no idea which nations fought which wars, but they're pretty sure Jesus arm-wrestled dinosaurs and punishes gay people for being too fabulous.
The media is guided by this same kind of corrupt tolerance where the absurd global warming debate has entered its awkward period. The smart people in the room are exasperatedly eying each other with their palms up, wondering what else can we do to convince these assholes?
But instead of presenting the science accurately and dutifully broadcasting our looming planetary doom, the media warps reality and for every legitimate scientist permitted on-air wailing time, there waits a showcase of peanut gallery idiots and cons, claiming all the science is wrong. Of course, many of these so-called neutral experts who dismiss global warming as a hoax work for the oil industry, but no matter. Remember: everyone gets to have their shot at the one Truth even if they're lying.
Dangerous doses of blind tolerance allow Creationism in the classroom and con men on the airwaves, just as an overdose of tolerance allows the GOP presidential candidate, John McCain, to parade around with a lunatic like John Hagee, whose latest crazy blathering included the sentiment that Hitler was only fulfilling the will of God.
Of course, all of this is only important if Americans value sane, rational discussion. In order to preserve a community of civil debate and steady intellectual evolution, certain theories and beliefs must fall by the wayside.
Education weeds out intruders like myths and rumors. The separation of politics from religion ensures that no religious hacks can get their grubby, swollen nubs on children and brainwash them into believing the sexist, racist, evil things uttered by the likes of John Hagee.
Otherwise, all ideas are treated as equals. Bad ideas like Creationism are taught as truth in the classroom. Bad ideas like global warming being a hoax are broadcast by the media. A bad idea like a religious zealot parading around with a GOP presidential candidate goes underreported by the mainstream media.
And in America, not all ideas should be treated as equal.