24 August 2006


Was there a "war on X-mas"? Ignoring the fact that "X-mas" and even "X-tians" have long been acceptable terms, the assertion is as laughable as saying there's a "war on women's work" or "a war on cartoon racial stereotypes" (I've actually heard complaints of the latter). Our society has become more egalitarian and less focused on one set of imposed mores than in the 1950s or 1920s or 1800s. Our society is not only becoming more secular but more diverse--the latter may be a cause of the former--and the American fundamentalist backlash like Middle Eastern is, as Reza Aslan puts it, the death throws of a threatened existence.

So, if it's silly to say there's a war on X-mas, is it equally silly to say there's a war on science? This is at least forcing us to define our terms. The war on X-mas is presumed to be a conspiracy of secularists as opposed to a simple drifting of social norms and capitalism's response to those norms. Corporations are held up as the primary conspirators as if they would ever raise "evil-doing" above simple profit. Would a company be more likely to bow to the requests of the ACLU or the profits of greater market share?

So then, is there a conspiracy of powerful groups aiming to eliminate (specific yet important) scientific beliefs from society? What do we make of Pope Benedict's reversal of John Paul's simple acceptance of evolution? Or with Bush's smack down of most all respected scientific beliefs? Are these battles in a war or simply a "drift of social norms"? On the one hand we have powerful corporations eliding religion and on the other we have powerful governments and religions eliding science. Corporations and the US government are secular, religions are not, so the only guilty party is the government.

[ posted by sstrader on 24 August 2006 at 2:33:26 PM in Culture & Society ]