I just read a statistic that makes me sad.
41% of adults in America believe human beings probably coexisted with dinosaurs.
“Um, Bethie? Are we just going to pretend it hasn’t been forever since you’ve posted?”
…is there a problem with that plan?
“I’d kind of like to know where you’ve been.”
Life was shit for awhile. I had my hands full. It’s hard to type when you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the other shoe to drop while simultaneously ducking a falling piano. But it’s getting better. I can juggle a few things at a time again. Eye of the storm and silver lining and yada yada…
FORGET THE CLICHES!!! DIDN’T YOU HEAR WHAT I JUST SAID!? How can you possibly sit there so calm and collected when 41% of Americans believe human beings roamed the earth with dinosaurs? Nearly half! 14% believe we “definitely” did, while 27% think it was “probable.”
Nearly half of the adults in this country think the Flintstones was a history lesson .
I’m weeping into my coffee, folks, and not just because the miasma wafting off the top of this nasty brew makes it burn every time I inhale.
“Made your own coffee this morning, did you?”
Yep. If I go into convulsions, send help.
Gawd that stat is depressing. And I don’t just mean in a general “I fear for the future” kind of way. It’s a huge step backwards, and while there have been other leaps back in recent years, this one cuts deep.
As a kid, I loved dinosaurs. LOVED them. I had dino books, knew the stats of all the cool ones, had several dinosaur figurine sets. I had this really cool set of glow in the dark ones that I used to put under my sister’s blanket to scare her at night. They were pretty bitchin’.
You know what I never learned as a child of the 1980’s, with no access to the internet and the world of knowledge it could provide? I never once learned that dinosaurs roamed the earth with people. Didn’t happen. Not a single dino set came with cavemen. There were precisely zero cavemen pictured in the dinosaur books I read, and if you went to school and talked about dinosaurs, you were encouraged, not hushed up.
I was very lucky as a child to have academically-minded parents. Frequent readers of this blog might remember me mentioning a time or dozen that my mum was a librarian for most of my childhood. My dad was an engineer, but his degree was in geology with a side passion for paleontology. We grew up hearing about the geological history of the earth and what the changes did to the various incarnations of dominant organisms through the eras, and were always encouraged to learn more on our own.
I still have some of my dad’s fossils. There’s a huge one he chipped out himself when he was a young adult that he was so proud of. Wide and flat and kind of shaped like Kentucky, it was a section of a lake bottom that had fossilized through the eons, locking in dozens of small plants and animals that had settled into the mud upon death. I take that one out and look at it a lot. I rub my fingers over the biggest trilobite, the one that has some very inept chip marks from his untrained chisel in the rock around its base.
I can remember sitting with him at the dining room table before bed in my Underoos and robe listening to him point out the different species. I was probably six at the time. He had a magnifying glass and was carefully inspecting every inch of his prized treasure, even though he knew each millimeter of that chunk of geological history by heart. I remember it clear as day, the look on his face, his excitement at having that slice of the earth as fresh and sharp then as it was the day he found it.
And even then, I knew without question that humans didn’t live with any goddamn dinosaurs.
What happened, America? When did we get to this point where 41% of you refuse to grasp what a 6 year old with the attention of a tse tse fly knew to be fact?
You know the answer. I know the answer. Everyone knows the answer, even if they won’t say it. Religion. We’re in the grip of a blind religious fervor at the moment and people are froggy to get all het up about anything.
I never understood why science and religion can’t coexist, at least on some level. Take whatever religion you follow, whichever deity. Now, think of every new scientific discovery as proof that your Creator is even more clever than you imagined. Voila. Easy.
“That’s not how it works, Bethie.”
No, I mean it. This is a serious question. Why doesn’t it work that way? Why is a new scientific discovery scary? Or a lie of the devil? Or inherently discordant with a singular creator?
The plain truth is that it’s not. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t have to be.
Is it a matter of fear? The discomfort the unknown brings? Or is it simply easier for people to cover their ears instead of learn, absorb, and adapt new information into their ethos?
Damned if I know. I’m just a blogger hopped up on too much caffeine trying to type through the spasms and twitches.
41%. *heavy sigh*
I suppose I should take comfort in that number. Could be worse, right? 41 is still less than half. And it’s bound to improve now that the dinosaur-denying Canadian has zero chance of being our next president. At least we won’t be led by someone whose father pretty much spearheaded the “dinosaurs are lies of Communists” movement. There is that.
Other odd beliefs that fly in the face of proven science are already waning in popularity. Less than a decade ago, 80% of Americans didn’t believe in global warming or climate change, even though it was demonstrably proven in their own lifetime. Now that number is only about 38%. That’s a huge shift in thinking in just a ten years.
Maybe in another ten years, we’ll be back to understanding that there’s no way Fred rode a diplodocus to mine in the quarry.
Imagine the progress we’ll be able to resume making then.
Thus concludes a quick Musing for Wednesday, May 4, 2016. I just want to take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to Ted Cruz. By dropping out, he’s pretty much assured the nation of another 4 years with a democrat in office unless the Republicans have a magic rabbit in the hat. Thanks, Ted! I know you get a lot of heat for being the Zodiac killer with a face like a squished depressed muppet, but in my book right now, you’re okay.