A disingenuous anonymous reviewer piped out so many scripted conservative Christian/Templetonian memes in her/his review of my paper on scientific literacy that it looks like something concocted by Mo Jones for Jesus and Mo. So saith the distinguished scholar:
“My remaining objection to the paper is the tone, which I noted in the first review. My comments were ignored and you then proceeded to condescendingly lecture about church and sect…this also clarified for me that my objection is not to your employment of concepts, but rather the unrelentingly strident tone. Rather than circumspection and carefully measured claims we get info about Bobby Jindal “railing” in his State of the Union response (if that was a rail it’s one of the meekest I’ve ever seen), creationist movements potentiating violence (???), and the claim I previously objected to that scoring low on the science module on the GSS means that members of conservative Protestant denominations are having trouble taking care of themselves. Frankly, they seem just fine existentially.”
Jesus Fuck! They let this person teach children for fuck’s sake! Really. “Just fine.” Yeah. Sectarians and fundamentalists are doing Just Fine, existentially, you know. Whatever the fuck that means, right. Well, let’s explore this “existentially” just fineness a little bit more. Existentially, you know. Fucking fuckhead. Existentially, these religious motherfuckers occupy a place in the cultural landscape where they have diminished capacity to communicate because of verbal deficits. Fundamentalists and sectarians attain less education because they are opposed to allowing their children to be educated, and millions of them now “homeschool” their children or send them to Christianist schools which teach no science and a warped inaccurrate, and dangerous version of history and civics. Because of their aversion to education, sectarians and fundamentalists remain at the bottom of the stratification hierarchy in terms of education, income, and wealth. That’s their existential state.
Ah, but what does science matter when you’re a carpenter like Jesus? Lots. First, in modern societies, you really need to know a bit of modern science in order to get along. Basic decisions about health and well-being require that one have some facility with scientific concepts and scientific reasoning. Should you put that chemical on your tomatoes? Can you take this medication with ibuprofen? What are the chances that surgery will cure me versus kill me? Of course, when you dismiss the veracity of science, you pretty much don’t care about any of that. So, there they are uneducated, poor, in occupations that suffer from instability (even worse for women, who may forgo real careers entirely), and they’re stupid to boot. Ill informed about very basic information that influences their own living conditions and life chances.
If that isn’t enough, the existential state of sectarians and fundamentalists is also one in which they have lots of children, often at inappropriate points in the life course. Early marriage and childrearing mean that even if they wanted to pursue status attainment, it will be even more difficult. Generally, this gods given mandate results in women withdrawing from human capital accumulation and the workforce, while men quit school and go to work at dead end jobs. Young people do a poor job of raising children, particularly when they have few resources. As a consequence, they raise a batch of ill mannered brats who reflect the prejudices and violent tendencies which are prevalent in sectarian and fundamentalist communities. Divorce rates are high among sectarians and fundamentalists, which combines with negative views of women and opposition to divorce to further hinder the life chances of women and children who experienced divorce. So, existentially, these Christianists have large, fucked-up families. You know, existentially.
Because sectarians and fundies reject science, they also ignore basic public health prescriptions and proscriptions. As a consequence, obesity is rife in sectarian and fundamentalist communities. Exercise is looked upon as a frivolity which might get in the way of religious piety, but gluttony does not seem to be a salient issue in contemporary US sectarian Christianity (outside of a few sects like the Adventists). And, of course, they pray first, go to the doctor later–forgoing preventive care and early identification of morbid conditions.
But fuck them, that’s just natural selection at work, you say?! Unfortunately, first, we should be concerned about their poor children, who are nothing short of victims of abuse. Second, these fuckers are fucking with us right now!!! The other aspect of having a large subcultural group (comprising nearly a third of the US population) which relishes ignorance, intolerance, and stupidity, is that these motherfuckers are also allowed to vote and participate in the political process which determines the content of public goods and bads for everyone else. Opposing education, opposing healthcare, ignoring environmental problems, defunding science and education, starting religious holy wars…. The existential state of ignorance and intolerance makes these rubes ripe for mobilization by demagogues, and political successes for these parties are collective bads for the remaining 70% of the population.
Existentially, these religious nutjobs are ruining themselves, their children, the nation, and the world.