Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


Episode 474(234) Let's Not Go Backwards

This is Retirement Talk. I'm Del Lowery. I've entitled this episode, "Let's not Go Backwards"

"Chances that a biology teacher is an advocate for evolution: one in four". I saw that statistic just the other day. How can that be? I can't imagine a biology teacher not being an advocate for evolution. I studied biology in high school over fifty years ago. All these years I thought that biology, evolution and life were somehow connected. Evolution  had to do with the way life began. My teacher taught evolution. I made it to my retirement years with the thought that evolution, discovered using the scientific method, was rudimentary to all progress. It was an accepted truth that only a few reclusive old folks would deny. What happened?

When I was a kid my thoughts include ideas that when these old people die off we will be left with only people who have been educated to rely on the scientific method and all that it offers. Now I am one of those older people and I read, hear and see things in the press that seem completely out of sync. Shocking; to say the least. It's like we are going backwards in time. Drifting back to the dark ages.

We pick up the paper and read about global warming and that over 95% of all scientist agree that it is a major problem that demands out attention. And yet we debate or even ignore the problem. What's happening? I saw where a biologist who is also a politician was the leading spokesman for anti-climate change in the great state of Minnesota. Then I followed the article on to see that his degree in biology came from a noted bible college. I have a feeling he would also be numbered among one of the 5% who deny evolution.   

In my darker moments I sometimes wish these purveyors of anti-science could be denied all scientific advancements. They would not be able to get vaccination, operations, refrigerated food, medical treatment by MDs or magical little pills from drug companies. They would be denied flights in airplanes, driving a car or using their iPhone. This condition could be applied for only a short time. Just long enough to teach someone a lesson.

It isn't easy making it through life. We see things and hear things that seem absurd to us. The rejection of selective scientific thought and the reliance on selective religious faith is one with which I have a hard time.

Then there is the perversion of language that seems to accompany the rejection of the science and reason. We use words to distort and confuse. "Fair and balanced" to describe a news program that any rational person knows is not fair and balanced. We could talk about people who favor allowing abortion or those who are opposed to abortion. But we have invented the labels "free to choose" and "right to life". Now what is that all about? Who could be opposed to allowing people the right to choose or allowing people the right to life. The phrases cloud the issue rather than clarify. Confusion is intended and achieved.

Today we see the same battle over the words "Medicare" or "social security" or "raising taxes", or "death panels".  We see people reformulating the meanings of words to suit themselves. They disguise their intentions.

One of my "favorite" perversions of the language has to do with the use of the phrase, "declaring war". Is it war or isn't it? How can people bomb cities, kill people by the thousands, send soldiers into other countries and not admit that war is the correct word? How does that work? Then there is the battle over the word, "torture".  We all know what torture is - especially when it comes to water boarding - yet people have nerve enough to dispute it. How can we talk to one another?

Then there is the acceptance by the Supreme Court that corporations have the same rights as people. How can that be taken seriously? This is perversion of the language and law.

I've been pushed over the edge. Just when I thought we were coming together in our trust of the scientific method and a life based on reason we drifted. Drifted?  Sometimes I think we changed course completely.

Maybe I need to head back to the classroom but I think that may be taking it a step to far. I think of the three stooges and the practical use of the "dope slap" that always seemed to straighten out the obviously stupid. if I could think of a way.

Here is a suggestion for retired people. Our knowledge of history seems to be needed now more than ever. We have to have more conversation with out grandchildren or people of younger generations. We need to pass it on.

This is Retirement Talk with something to think about.

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