Survival of the Smartest

Anoth­er rea­son that we are leav­ing the Unit­ed States is the coun­try’s descent into irra­tional and prim­i­tive mythology.

Exam­ple: The State of Kansas has once again tried to attack the teach­ing of Evo­lu­tion in their pub­lic schools. They are sup­port­ing the teach­ing instead of ‘Intel­li­gent Design’, which is just a fan­cy way of say­ing ‘God Did It’. This is to be taught in Sci­ence Class. If this does­n’t both­er you, stop read­ing right now. A ter­rif­ic arti­cle I saw in Sci­en­tif­ic Amer­i­can’s web site: 15 Answers to Cre­ation­ist Non­sense lays out just how fal­la­cious the Intel­li­gent Design argu­ments are.

In an exquis­ite twist of irony, this move could cause large swaths of the US to be less com­pet­i­tive in the glob­al econ­o­my (and in a sense, the world’s ecosys­tem) where more edu­cat­ed and enlight­ened coun­tries tend to suc­ceed. Accord­ing to the laws of Nat­ur­al Selec­tion — that they them­selves refuse to believe in — those Kansas know-noth­ings will be less com­pet­i­tive in the mar­ket­place, and will (eco­nom­i­cal­ly) not thrive. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this does not keep them from breed­ing, but they’ll even­tu­al­ly be some­what cut off (and irrel­e­vant, just as some third world coun­tries are today, again — eco­nom­i­cal­ly). Since they dis­pute the valid­i­ty and val­ue of Sci­ence, I won­der if they would­n’t also give up their tele­phones, tele­vi­sions, com­put­ers, inter­net con­nec­tions and oth­er trap­pings of the last cen­tu­ry? What hap­pens when these lux­u­ries break down and can’t be repaired as their edu­cat­ed cit­i­zens leave for employ­ment else­where, and their stu­dents are unpre­pared for col­leges where sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy is taught. That last bit won’t hap­pen, but I don’t think I’d be look­ing toward Kansas for much eco­nom­ic growth over the next few decades.

A sim­i­lar dynam­ic is show­ing up in Stem Cell Research. With South Korea announc­ing some absolute­ly spec­tac­u­lar suc­cess­es in that area of sci­ence this past week, and Bush sub­se­quent­ly peremp­to­ri­ly announc­ing his oppo­si­tion to a bill that would free up gov­ern­ment fund­ing on such research, a com­men­ta­tor not­ed that all this does is make the US Gov­ern­ment less and less rel­e­vant to the whole activ­i­ty. As this sci­ence pro­gress­es and the mon­ey starts to pour in when investors bet on com­pa­nies that will deliv­er the mir­a­cle cures based on stem cells, the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion’s medieval view only insures that (as the com­men­ta­tor put it): “the red-state sci­en­tists will move to the blue states, and then in turn, all the sci­en­tists will move out of the US to the coun­tries where this research is flour­ish­ing.” Once again, the US digs it’s own eco­nom­ic grave and glee­ful­ly leaps into it, all in the name of fun­da­men­tal­ist religion.

Just as the best and bright­est sci­en­tists (as well as artists, writ­ers, musi­cians and dancers) left the Sovi­et Union, over time I believe it will also hap­pen to the once great Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca. I am sad about this, but as we often say these days, we feel like we can’t get out of here quick­ly enough.

5 Replies to “Survival of the Smartest”

  1. it is, indeed, a strange world, David, and I admire your expla­na­tions and actions in response to the BUSH empire. I will keep read­ing to see how things go for you. I guess I am here for awhile, feel­ing more and more hor­ri­fied at what is going on, par­tic­i­pat­ing in every peace ral­ly I can, but basi­cal­ly feel­ing rather despair­ing about it all.

    It’s a lit­tle daunt­ing when I think that this is the only land that I have known as “home” for gen­er­a­tions. My ances­ters came from Europe in the ear­ly 1600’s.

    I sus­pect that things felt like this in Ger­many dur­ing the 30’s … unbe­liev­able that this is happening.

  2. Wel­come to the land of [rel­a­tive] san­i­ty, David. I’m a US cit­i­zen, and have lived here since the late ’60s. Until the last 5 years, I and my Cana­di­an hus­band had always planned to move to the US one day. As you prob­a­bly see com­ing, we’re not plan­ning to do that any more, even if my entire fam­i­ly lives all over the US. I used to pine for it. Now i’m appre­hen­sive when I cross the bor­der and hap­py to be home every time I return.

    BTW, my “here” is Toron­to, not mel­low, laid-back Van­cou­ver. From what I under­stand, you;ll get the Seat­tle driz­zle a lot, but you also get spring in late Feb/early March. Com­ing from Boston, you’ll real­ly like that. When we vis­it­ed, we got off the plane and could smell the spring flow­ers *at the airport*. 

    Van­cou­ver is also ridicu­lous­ly expen­sive to live in, real estate wise. So good luck with the home search. Oh, and BTW — if it’s not too late to look into it, check out Vic­to­ria. It has near-per­fect weath­er (they don’t get the rain for some rea­son) and all you have to do is take a fer­ry to get to the mainland.

    Once you’re set­tled, get your­self on the tiny fer­ry to Granville Island. You’ll nev­er look back.

    Enjoy.

  3. Thanks to you both, Beth and Amy. It’s good to get some sym­pa­thy and advice, rather than the vit­ri­ol I saw direct­ed toward me in some oth­er places that picked up my blog on the radar. My moth­er escaped Vien­na after the Nazis moved in, and says that although she was very young at the time, there is some­thing indeed like that feel­ing in the air, albeit just a hint of it. Some of the nasty com­ments I got were rem­i­nis­cent of the brown-shirts of the 30’s.

    For­tu­nate­ly, the high prices on Real Estate in Cam­bridge have some­what pre­pared us for the com­pa­ra­ble ones in Van­cou­ver, and although the place we’ve set­tled on is small by any stan­dards (and small­er than where we are now, which pos­es it’s own chal­lenges), it is in fact just a few blocks away from Granville Island itself, which I agree, is as close to heav­en for urban cul­ture lovers like my wife and me. We’d been to Vic­to­ria on vaca­tion, and although I absolute­ly love it there as well, it’s prob­a­bly going to be more for our week­end escapes than for per­ma­nent liv­ing. My goal is a place where I can bicy­cle (or bus in the rain) to work or the Pub­lic Library, lots of walks in Parks in the evenings and week­ends, the occaison­al con­cert, the­atre or movie and lots of good food (both in terms of pro­duce to cook and restau­rants to explore). For­tu­nate­ly Van­cou­ver pret­ty much fills every one of those require­ments. Oh, and not hav­ing to have reli­gion and pro-war pro­pogan­da thrust at me every evening? Priceless.

  4. Hi David,

    I saw the post about your move on Sooz’s blog, and I have to admit I’m quite envious!

    The inter­view you post­ed with George (senior?) was quite depress­ing, as well.

    Present state of the union aside, Van­cou­ver is a beau­ti­ful city, and I wish you lots of luck with the move!

    -Susan Cur­ran

    P.S. Let me know if you need a web edi­tor! I would be more than hap­py to join you. 🙂

  5. Hi David! same here…saw the news on Sooz’s blog (point­ed it out to Amy, who’s a friend of mine). Good for you! If you need 2 writ­ers, call me & Susan C both! I’m writ­ing full time now… 🙂

    Shan­non

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