It seems a day doesn't go by when we don't have another example of the ever increasing distrust between the scientific community and the American government, clashes between science and politicians and--of course--religion. An AIDS researcher, David Celentano, was quoted as saying in reference to the political climate, "folks are worried this smacks of McCarthyism 50 years later." A government official reportedly said, in reference to the circuitous language often now employed by researchers to avoid problems, nor only with politicians but assorted traditional values groups, "Don't make me speak to you about this in public. There are spies everywhere!"
Recently, the American government, over the protests of leading geologists, allowed the sale of a book at the Grand Canyon National Park stating that Noah's flood--the one in the bible--created the chasm 4,500 years before. Scientists believe it's more likely that the "gorge" was created some six million years before. Maybe we could compromise on 2.5 million years?
Is it possible that ignorance has now become more emboldened in the world over the past few years? Yet, it does appear that rational thought and open scientific inquiry are still holding their own in areas of the world like Europe, Japan, and a few other locations. On the other hand....
This past March Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, one of the more powerful Vatican officials, directed Catholics not to read The DaVinci Code. According to the Cardinal, people might end up believing the book's "fables." Better safe than sorry.
A possible explanation is that the rapid acceleration of the idiot quotient in the United States may have served as an impetus for the noticeable increase in worldwide dumbness. Then again, it may just be only America that's scurrying to the bottom. Even Saudi Arabia looks as if it's making some effort to stagger out of the sixteenth century.
In the early fourth century some serious theological differences arose among the Christians regarding the "nature" of their God. This disagreement worried the Roman Emperor Constantine; his empire couldn't afford more turmoil. Constantine was the emperor that had proclaimed Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. He was the person that had begun the massive transfer of money and land from pagan institutions to the Catholic church.
In 325 he called together the Council of Nicea to settle the dispute. Some 200 or so bishops met in the town of Nicea on the Black Sea ( Iznik, Turkey today ) and decided on the nature of God. Henceforth any other nature would be declared a heresy and might be punishable by death. Constantine was pleased that the bishops had reached a consensus on God's nature. Some things were much simpler 1,700 years ago.
The DaVinci Code, as millions of people in the world now know, claims that Jesus married and had a family. It's a great plot. It's also a novel, as most people know. But, we can't forget that the bishops, some 1,700 years ago at a seaside resort on the Black Sea, determined the "nature" of God; they decided this Jesus was a man, the son of God, and God himself--one and the same, and clearly a virgin. Which fable is the right fable?
In the early seventeenth century, Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer, who discovered the laws of planetary motion, realized that "something" made the planets stay in orbit around the sun. Mr. Kepler chose to call this something the Holy Spirit Force. It was acceptable science in 1609.