What this isn't
about: there are millions upon millions of humans upon this
planet who are also devout Christians, Jews, Moslems, or Buddhists.
From what I can tell, most of these are pretty wonderful people.
We have no quarrel with personal spirituality.
Believing in the goodness of people and the improvability of the
self cannot be a bad thing. We have no quarrel with those who take
this on faith, but faith is no substitute for reason and common
sense. It would be a tragedy to be personally unable to validate
and verify our highest values and tenets.
What this is about: we
take serious issue with those who insist on placing their faith
on the bargaining table as if it makes them an equal player. They
may believe in their credos, but we do not have to. To force another
to subscribe to moral credos via coercion and the political process
is morally evil.
The concerted attack upon the knowledge base which is periodically
mounted by religious zealots must be opposed wherever in political
places it is found. This is about one such attempt to coerce citizens
of a state into giving up their right to judge for themselves.
In ancient times, religious rulers controlled every aspect of human
personal and public conduct, trade and business transactions, and
political life of the peoples of the world. From the chronological
progression of shamans and witch doctors, to popes and imams, regulation
of the conduct of others has been sought as an ultimate and non-arbitrable
solution to the problems of conflict, dissention, dispute and over-achievement.
In recent times, governments have tried controlling every aspect
of personal conduct under contrived ideologies, rather than via
hand-me-down religions, and some have tried mixing the two to enforce
a balance of power between those issuing the rules, and those taking
Fiat by government has proved less popular and less workable than
fiat by religious decree. You can topple a consensus of political
power, but you cannot topple a consensus of belief, you can only
place limitations on its political power.
The common bond between religious government and totalitarian government
has been misappropriation of the power of law, the consent of the
governed, to force others to comply with the program.
This is fuelled by a legal monopoly on the source of money, political
power and knowledge.
The knowledge base itself is far more
fundamental, and, from the standpoint of the regime, all the more
Knowledge can be used to re-invent man's
other tools of survival, like a virus that cannot completely be
This helps explain why most modern dictatorships collapse in fifty
years or less, while religious empires have stagnated nearly every
continent for centuries at a sitting.
Knowledge shapes how we think about ourselves, what we can do,
and the universe we live in. Unless we are able to acquire and validate
knowledge independently, we must look to others to provide it for
us, and offer sustenance itself, in order for us to long exist on
this mortal coil.
Enter the Kansas Board of Education, and their celebrated decision
to restrict teaching of Evolution and all of its scientific underpinnings.
Like the Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee over half a century ago,
this cannot be viewed as a simple spat over how taxpayer funds shall
be spent to educate the children.
This is a fight to control how and
whether children can be permitted to learn to think for themselves.
It is important. To understand it, you need to understand both points
of view. As a community service, Summitlake.com is more than happy
to provide this unbiased overview, and we hope you enjoy it.
Copyright ©Alex Forbes October 23, 1999