Newsweek: Brains are back!

And not a moment too soon. A Newsweek article explores the return of intellect and reason to the White House after the shallow anti-intellectualism that has plagued our nation for (at least) eight years.

This may be the number-one reason I supported Obama as vigorously as I did. He is a thinker. He’s curious. He wants to know the truth, and he’s not afraid to question and challenge — or to be questioned and challenged himself. It’s about time!

And now… please… let’s put a few anti-intellectual ideas to bed:

1. Earth is not 6000 years old. We can be reasonably certain through carbon dating and other scientifically validated methods that it is approximately 4.5 billion years old.

2. Evolution is a fact. We can observe it — and we have — at the microscopic level (i.e. antibiotic-resistant bacteria) and in other species with short lifespans (like some insects), and it is a logically consistent explanation for the diversity of life we see on Earth today. Why can’t we witness it happening at the macro level, like in humans? See point number 1. The slice of Earth’s lifespan that your own represents is smaller than the division between Al Franken and Norm Coleman in this year’s Senate race. It’s the same reason we don’t see stalactites grow.

3. Global warming is caused by human activity. Sure, the overall temperature of the planet has fluctuated over the millennia, but the rate of increase in the last 150 years (coinciding with industrialization) is unprecedented.

4. Science is the quest for knowledge and understanding. It is a good thing that everyone should study. It does not preclude religious belief; the two are not mutually exclusive. You do not need to reject science to have faith, and you do not have to reject faith to believe in science. But faith, by definition, cannot be proven, and science can — in fact, that’s what makes it science, and it’s given us just about everything we have in the modern world.

Ahh… it feels good! Brains are back! Now, let’s stop arguing the validity of things we know to be true, and start doing something about them!