Science and health have been hit hard by the government shutdown, which British evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins believes is due in part to Creationists “electing ignoramuses.”
Dawkins argued on behalf of science on Capitol Hill Monday. A reporter asked him about the fact that more than 40 percent of Americans believe in Christian creationism, including the idea that God created the world in seven days and that man walked the earth with dinosaurs.
“This country is, without a doubt, the leading scientific nation in the world, beyond the shadow of a doubt,” Dawkins responded. “I can’t help wondering how much more advanced this country would be if you were not held back by this astonishing burden of 40 percent of the people who literally think the world, the universe is less than 10,000 years old.”
“I mean,” he said, “that is a staggering piece of ignorance. It’s a scandal. It’s an education scandal.”
“That figure,” he said of 40 percent, “has been steady ever since the 1980s. It doesn’t seem to be shifting.”
It is widely accepted by the scientific community that the world is 4.6 billion years old. Dawkins compared the Creationist underestimate of the earth’s age to say that the distance from Washington [D.C.] to San Francisco is just eight yards.
“That’s the scale of the error we’re talking about,” he added. “It’s not a small error. It’s a gigantic, ridiculous error.”
The government shutdown has shuttered national parks and the Smithsonian institutions. About 52 percent of staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration is furloughed — a total of 40,512 people, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Conservative radio host Dennis Prager responded to a comment Dawkins made recently about morality and the Bible.
“Not only should we not get our moral compass from religion, as a matter of fact we don’t,” Dawkins said. “We shouldn’t, because if you actually look at the bible or the Koran, and get your moral compass from there, it’s horrible — stoning people to death, stoning people for breaking the Sabbath.”
Pragger said that without spelling out good and evil in the Bible, the difference between the two is completely subjective.
“If there is no God, the labels ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are merely opinions. They are substitutes for ‘I like it’ and ‘I don’t like it,’” Prager contended. “They are not objective realities.”