Thursday, October 31, 2013

beehiving in utah

I'm in St George, Utah, affectionately known to residents as "The Beehive State."

They call it that because a large majority here beehives all the time, i.e., they do eggzackly what the ecclesiastical authorities tell them to do, and think what they're told to think.

I've long been fascinated by the Mormons, because they're the first very large group of humans I ever encountered who strongly believe things that are obviously not true.

But now the disease has spread to the entire Republican Party, with an especially virulent strain infecting the subset of Republicans identified as Tea Party.

Now, what do I mean by "obviously not true." I'm talking about statements which are unsupported by any factual evidence. Examples are: the president was born in Kenya, not Hawaii (all the evidence supports the contention he was born in Hawaii), or that the Affordable Care Act includes provisions for "death panels," a belief for which the only relevant evidence is the wording of the act itself, which, in fact 
includes no such provision, even under the most twisted interpretation.

Early on in my long (11 years) BNet career, I encountered people saying "I've got a right to my own opinion," which is true. However, nobody on God's green earth has a "right" to his or her own facts.

And the facts are these: Obama was born in Hawaii, and is an American citizen. There are no death panels. A fetus may or may not be a human being (because that's a matter of opinion), but an embryo is not. Human beings and the great apes, which is to say gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, and chimpanzees all have a common ancestor.

Besides their own politics and science, those afflicted with this  disease also have their own history, based on desire. Do you wish something that happened had gone down differently. All you have to do is believe, and that makes it true. So if you want to believe, as I've often heard said, that "the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery," the desire to believe trumps the evidence, which in this case consists of volumes of transcribed debates and speeches in the Congressional Record, the subject of 90 percent of which was slavery, in the years leading up to the war.

This is not about intelligence, but honesty, for if we disagree about what these facts mean, that's one thing, but if we disagree about what the facts are, somebody is being weak minded and extremely dishonest.

Get it? Got it? Good! Now go read this.

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