Welcome to the Age of Denial

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IN 1982, polls showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God had created human beings in their present form. Thirty years later, the fraction of the population who are creationists is 46 percent.


In 1989, when “climate change” had just entered the public lexicon, 63 percent of Americans understood it was a problem. Almost 25 years later, that proportion is actually a bit lower, at 58 percent.

The timeline of these polls defines my career in science. In 1982 I was an undergraduate physics major. In 1989 I was a graduate student. My dream was that, in a quarter-century, I would be a professor of astrophysics, introducing a new generation of students to the powerful yet delicate craft of scientific research.

Much of that dream has come true. Yet instead of sending my students into a world that celebrates the latest science has to offer, I am delivering them into a society ambivalent, even skeptical, about the fruits of science.

This is not a world the scientists I trained with would recognize. Many of them served on the Manhattan Project. Afterward, they helped create the technologies that drove America’s postwar prosperity. In that era of the mid-20th century, politicians were expected to support science financially but otherwise leave it alone. The disaster of Lysenkoism, in which Communist ideology distorted scientific truth and all but destroyed Russian biological science, was still a fresh memory.

Written By: Adam Frank
continue to source article at nytimes.com

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  1. Here in SA, we have a place called Orania,where white, afrikaans speaking folk,who are nostalgic for the apartheid era live in isolated splendour.

    Seems like it would be nice to relegate the creationists,anti vaccine people,climate change deniers and sundry science haters, to some place where they can get sustenance from their faith and strange beliefs alone
    because THEY HAVE TO LEAVE ALL THEIR HIGH TECH TOYS BEHIND!!!.
    Just kidding…

    Adam Frank mentioned Carl Sagan,ah yes,his books are such a joy to read.And Cosmos,Loved it.

    • In reply to #2 by Blackaddera:

      Sometimes I dream that all those deniers are put on one island and are left to fend for themselves.

      I think this should be pitched as a movie idea. A wealthy “strident” engineer/science type guy flies a dozen of the top religious “thinkers” to an exotic location have a meeting of the “minds” and rigorous debate. News reports that the airplane crashed into the ocean while they were secretly dumped on a far off island and left without all technology, tools, medicine, etc. Thou the group starts out calm, gathering any items to make shelter, gather fruit and make light of the situation, tempers soon rise as they realize that there is little hope in being rescued. With an ever increasing scarcity of food and only two women to share affections, hatred between the men slowly grows. All comes to a head when Ray, searching for bananas never returns to the shelter. A few days later, the husband of a rich and powerful Texan mega church minister is found dangling from a short tree with his wife’s pantyhose around his neck and hands untied. Who will now win the affections of the grieving widow? Will the RC priest finally give up his vow of chastity? Is he willing to kill another to survive? Will anyone notice a blossoming romance between the Pentecostal minister and his rival New Age man? Who will survive and what will they do to continue living?

      • In reply to #9 by QuestioningKat:

        I think this should be pitched as a movie idea. A wealthy “strident” engineer/science type guy flies a dozen of the top religious “thinkers” to an exotic location have…

        I love your movie idea. A reality show would have the effect of dragging out the suspense though. I like that. As you leave it in you comment, there are 10 guys left and two women. If the goal is to keep the guys alive and reduce sexual tension in the group then those two women should offer free sexual access to all guys pretty much on demand or else the level of aggression will increase between them until there are confrontations and fights on a regular basis. There will be one “big man” with control of both women and 9 guys who spend much of their time scheming to eliminate him permanently. We already have one murder and Comfort’s death is suspicious. The most civilized solution is polyamory either on schedule or a free access model.

        • In reply to #10 by LaurieB:

          In reply to #9 by QuestioningKat:
          If the goal is to keep the guys alive and reduce sexual tension in the group then those two women should offer free sexual access to all guys pretty much on demand or else the level of aggression will increase between them until there are confrontations and fights on a regular basis.

          Or, the two women overcome their repressed feelings and find their inner bliss together, and the 10 faith-heads end up alone and frustrated, but continue being a bunch of jerk-offs…. 8-)

          • In reply to #12 by CdnMacAtheist:

            Or, the two women overcome their repressed feelings and find their inner bliss together, and the 10 faith-heads end up alone and frustrated, but continue being a bunch of jerk-offs…. 8-)

            ~smacks self on head~

            Of course you’re right! I knew it in a split second. I’ve been reading way too much paleoanthropology lately. Forgive me. The answer was with the Bonobos the whole time and I missed it. :-D

  2. Sadly Mr. Frank you fail to notice your own monumental state of denial. Notice how you manage to not mention religion at all as a culprit let alone the main culprit.

    Over 90% of leading scientists polled at the NAS, the nation’s leading smarty pants club, reject the god hypothesis and thus religion. They had to be polled anonymously. When are they and you going to become vocally public? What good is your insight if you don’t have the courage to stand behind it?

    We all know what the problem is Mr. Frank, but if you expect to make any headway against it the next step is to indicate the causes. You fail to do that because you do not have the courage of your convictions. You seem unable to overcome the absurdly misplaced “respect” for religion your culture has inoculated you with.

  3. Why did this happen? I would say massive fundraising by megachurches and televangelists. They make more money the stupider their marks are. They worked hard at turning them into boobs and convincing them to be proud of stupidity.

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