How religion turned American politics against science | Kurt Andersen


In 2008, the big Republican presidential candidates
were asked: “How many of you believe in Darwinian biological evolution?” Two-thirds or three-quarters said, “I do.” In 2012, the same question was asked, same
group of people—Republican presidential candidates—and it was already down to a
third. In 2016, the 17 main candidates for the Republican
nomination were asked: “Do you believe in evolution?” One, Jeb Bush, brave Jeb Bush, said he did—”but,”
he said, walking it back even as he said it, “I’m not sure it should be taught in our
public schools, and if it is, it should be taught along with Creationism.” So from 2008 to 2016, that was the change
and that change is—I don’t believe all those people believed what they said; I don’t
think all of them disbelieve in evolution, just some of them—but they were all obliged
to say yes to falsehood and magical thinking of this religious kind and that’s where
it becomes problematic. America has always been a Christian nation. That meant a very different thing 100 years
ago or even 50 years ago than it means today. I grew up not going to church very often at
all and not with much religious education, but all of my friends were weekly, regular
churchgoers of various kinds. Christian Protestant religion became extreme,
it became more magical and supernatural in its beliefs and practices in America than
it had been in hundreds of years and more so than it is anywhere else in the developed
world. So you have that happening. At the same time, not coincidentally, you
have the Republican Party, beginning certainly about 30 years ago, becoming more and more
a party of those religiously extreme Protestants. So one thing that has happened and one thing
that has led, I think, the Republican Party to accept fantasy and wishful untruth more
and more into its approach to policy—whether it’s climate change or the idea that a secret
Muslim conspiracy is about to replace our constitutional judiciary system with Sharia
law, or any number of other simply untrue tenants of republicanism—all these things
which were nutty fringe ideas as recently as 30 years ago are now in the Republican
mainstream. I think there’s a connection. I think once you have a political party, more
and more of whose members believe in religious and supernatural fantasies of a more and more
extravagant kind, it stands to reason or to unreason that you will have a party that is
more and more inclined to embrace the fantastical in its politics and policy. Believe whatever you want in the privacy of
your home, in the privacy of your family, in the privacy of your church, but when it
bleeds over, as it inevitably has done in America, to how we manage and construct our
economy and our society, we’re in trouble.

100 thoughts on “How religion turned American politics against science | Kurt Andersen”

  1. The Christian religion is a beautiful thing, if one bothers to study it with an open mind and a desire to understand it beyond the sensational”headlines”. The problem is that it is practiced by so many people who, as all people, are seriously flawed, so we throw the baby out with the bath water.

  2. TO ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE BLAMING REPUBLICANS YOUR HALF RIGHT .. TRUST AND BELEIVE DEMOCRATES ARE JUST AS CULPABLE AND RELIGION IS ONLY A TOOL FOR THE REAL PROBLEM .. RICH POWERFUL BEINGS INTENT TO KEEP US POOR AND STUPID TO BE MANIPULATED FOR THEIR PLEASUE

  3. You know what makes America go nuts? Bigotted people asking for tolerance but not tolerating religious people for being different than them and taking places of power and influence.

  4. Darwin's theory doesn't explain human evolution very well and a religious belief that incest drives evolution supporting it has scarred our species since Western Europe aristocrats discovered the hebrews

  5. both cults are fantasy based,the 6% love control and ego,get it from being a ceo,then tranfer that maddness to encroach and fester slowly like cancer,you dont know its cancer till you got toomers/cameras watching you 247 and they bribed in 2 lunitics and worse 1 bribed more people because hes more insane then hilary,
    NOTE=light yamagi at the end,
    except trump is somehow more crazy then that.

  6. If you believe what kurt is vomiting. Then you are truly brainwashed and deluded.
    atheism is the religion of hate.

  7. Not really, some with secularist that goes against science as lgbtq community are anti biology (reject the chromosomes that tells a person sex), also feminist are against psychobiology and biology itself for not believing the fact that both genders are different due to their bodies

  8. So religion caused America to go crazy, but men who pay to have their penises surgically removed because they think they're women are normal? Wow!

  9. Trump is the dumbest president ever. And who voted for this brainless buffoon in huge numbers?
    Regular church goers.
    Enough said.

  10. It should be how fake Christians made real Christians go nuts. Fake Christians are those who seek wealth and power through Jesus. Like Republicans and conservatives. Jesus was a liberal.

  11. Believing in false theology, they promote slavery, eugenics, zianism, and rape (the forced impregnation of women). For they have said in their hearts that genetic heritage determines holiness, or potential goodness, and doing so have called the Holy Ghost a liar. It is also why they publish books which are not bibles, such as the new international version, to promote their false teachings. Go and obtain a kjv bible while there is yet time.

  12. The nice thing about America is that we can believe such different things and not kill each other over it like they do in the middle East. #pltclyincrct

  13. Lol… You leftist piece of shit. I'm an atheist. And I'll take the right over the insane left any day of the week. I've seen the left cheering a little boy being sexually abused by a naked queen… Advertised and celebrated…. By the left. I have zero issues with lgbtq. But when you do this shit to children, you are FU¢K*d
    And you did it to yourself.

  14. Ha ha ha. He conveniently leaves out the fact that on any college campus in the US or nearly anywhere in the Anglosphere, denial of the theory of evolution through natural selection is rampant among nearly everybody outside of science (physics, chemistry, biology, and combinations/specializations thereof [geology, ornithology, etc], mathematics, and engineering. This is the Blank Slate principle which denies that human behavior arises through evolutionary processes, and interestingly parallels closely the teaching of the RC Church on this subject. There is no such thing as the theory of evolution through natural selection with a magical exception for Homo sapiens.

    Fact: humans, like all living things, are chemical machinery. You, dear reader, are the expression of your genetic sequence and your genetic sequence spells out how you adapt to the situations presented through interaction with the physical universe.

    PS. Care to guess where gender/feminist/race theorists get their information they use to attempt scientific arguments against Evolution? Psst: the same place "Intelligent Design" advocates get theirs.

  15. Freedom From Religion means we have to tax every dime and penny. The case for Pious Fraud should proceed also, as it becomes monetary fraud as soon as money changes hands.

  16. he's for religion Trump is for religion he needs to be impeached i wish religion would go away he's for it this isn't nights at the round tables of the masters sorry it ain't its stupid to have religion its not neeed some idiots brought it into America and all school systems all I wanna know is why and what's the big pourpse to fuc everyone up in society today in the times of life real life of what it really is why's god or religion needed at all for Anyone why not just life no religion if ud want to be that's ur choice it shouldn't be forced upon society to fuc everyone up or in all parts of the world why doesn't it all get taken outta somones mind is it possible to erase it all

  17. American Protestantism hasn't changed. What's changing is society as well as the presentation of new scientific claims that run counter to certain religious notions. Also, America has become more secular – there were no glory days for secular thought. Just watch the movie Inherit the Wind. This has just always been happening in the US. What I think is happening is these typically white and typically powerful individuals are losing their footing in a very quickly changing society and they are in panic mode. The overall "direction of things" is now running counter, even at times attacking these people, and their voice has become louder than before.

  18. As the speaker says, fundamentalism is a uniquely Protestant phenomenon. Catholics do not have an issue with science. We have many problems, but that is not one of them.

  19. What I wouldn't give to see religion destroyed root and branch. So much harm has come from this idiocy. Thankfully my generation thinks its crap for the most part.

  20. Western Civilization, with all of its valuable, scientific, intellectual vigor, (based on our Greco-Latin heritage), is rapidly being replaced by backward, Third-World Religiousity. Sad fact: As America becomes less White, America becomes more backward!

  21. If you think Christianity is bad, wait till you idiots get to live under Satan and the anti-Christ. Only a fool judges God's motives by mans actions.

  22. 2:40 are u sure it isn't Shakira law? Because those hips don't lie and that is a good thing, i fully suport It!

  23. Well, just look at How many Americans believe God chose Trump., including Sarah Huckleberry Sanders, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence to name a few.

    And here is an article on ot
    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/27/millions-of-americans-believe-god-made-trump-president-216537

    Such a sad state, Religion is taking America over, and pushing for Armageddon to happen. Be afraid of what is happening in America, because if Trump gets a second term, WW3 could easily be on the cards.

  24. This is all rubbish. Religion has been in declined for generations. Politicians and ideologues concoct excuses for their inability to win over others. I say, it's politics itself that drove America nuts. Political ideology is the new religion, and the Left and Right are merely arguing their vision is the true faith.

  25. How about this as for as far as religion goes? A radical Christian is just as spooky as a radical Muslim. Both Jesus Christ and Allah can suck a fart out of my fucking ass.
    I don't think there's a man who ever walked the face of this earth who knows what the fuck he's talking about when speaking of origin or religion. Religion is stupid. Believe what you see and believe what you hear. The rest is nonsense.

  26. That is fucking scary.
    This is how people suffer!
    When facts are replaced by belief, no one wins.

    Populism is a scourge!
    And fools are enamored with it.

  27. One day someone will blend all religions, science, and politics into a unified philosophy and have the world as their followers. Then, self determination and critical thinking will be ostracized.

  28. Funny how certain subject matter gets slowed down to the point where the video spends more time dubbing then playing. What’s YouTube trying to pull? Get tired of waiting for the video to start playing and give up?

  29. Unfortunately we in Australia are starting to see some of this at the moment, not so much an with religion, but that is an underlying issue to a degree, but Australians firmly believe in a secular government and complete separation of church & state unfortunately the current conservative government has been infiltrated by a group of right-wingers who are trying to push the party from the centre right much further to the right, this hasn't happened so far but the party has been stubborn to accept climate change and has cut scientific research funding dramatically.

    Two elections ago this party came to power essentially because of the backing of the Murdoch press and just outright lies about carbon pricing, the previous government had implemented a carbon ETS, which despite it working quite well they repealed, the new Prime Minister was a staunchly right christian who over the cause of the next 2 or so years became so unpopular his own party replaced him with a someone who was much more centrist who was known for his much more liberal views on climate change and other social issues, so they would have a chance of winning the next election, and they did albeit barely but he proved to be a weak leader unable to standup against the more harder line right and he to became very unpopular, although much more popular still than anyone else in his party but the right decided they needed to get rid of him anyway so they have now replaced him with a, we'll say mid right, pentecostal christian, we have an election in less than a month as this party will lose and hopefully by a big enough margin that will force out the extreme right infiltrators.

    In the 2016 Australian census about 40% of people stated no religious beliefs and 52% were christian, I would assume possibly upto half if not more are non practicing so you can see we are a very secular country and we like our politicians to act so.

  30. This is not a recent phenomenon – but a problem that stems from the arrest and trial of Galileo by the Papal Court of the Inquisition around 400 years ago. It wasn't just Galileo branded "grievously suspect of heresy" – but scientific understanding as a whole. Science was used enthusiastically – to power the Industrial Revolution from the 1730's, but only as a tool – used insofar as it served and empowered a religious, political and economic ideological architecture, without requiring change in respect of a responsibility to scientific truth. Given Weber's classic – the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, clearly this problem was imported on the Mayflower. Or, for that matter – given Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, and the long history that follows, of mad scientist movies in Hollywood. This isn't a problem that's occurred in the past 30 years as a consequence of any particular religious or political sect. This is a blind-spot by which the whole of humanity are afflicted.

  31. If you think that kurt is telling the truth. Then you are obviously brainwashed and deluded. kurt is a proven liar.

  32. The term "evolution" means gradual change, and that is not in conflict with anything in the Book, and that is the only kind ever observed in the scientific sense. Living things gradually morphing into other forms of living things has never been observed, even in the fossil record (no "transition fossils) have been found. It is believed by faith therefore, which is to say GOS Evolution is a religious belief . .

  33. You know what's nuts? The anti-christ worldviews have not only lead to greater government overreach, but also compliance with or submission to Islamic expansion in the West. Observable facts.

  34. Why are liberals so so so degenerate retarded etc over there in the US ?

  35. United States is not a Christian nation. United States is a secular nation of separation of church and state. Separation of church and state is from our founding fathers in our Constitution.

  36. As an atheist, myself, I likewise rue the increasing religiosity of America. I think that the founding fathers, Thomas Payne in particular, are, figuratively, spinning in their graves.
    However, I am just astounded how you declared the takeover of Sharia as a nutty conspiracy theory. Do you have no historical knowledge of Islam? Do you think they took over all the lands between Morocco and India because they’re such nice and peaceful guys? My god! They’ve already infiltrated our governments, schools, and institutions, implemented “anti-Islamophobia” legislation, and, via their ever increasing terror attacks, are basically offering us “the carrot and the stick”. Islamicize or DIE! Do you not get that, Mr. Intellectual? 😳

  37. It’s just plain craziness to be afraid that Sharia Law is going to replace the US Constitution. I have neighbors on a local forum in Texas who believe that Sharia Law has already replaced Michigan Law. Many of the same people who want to crush Muslims in politics and say that their religion is unholy want to push Christian prayers in school as if that is Constitutional. Science is suffering from both right and left craziness as both Global Warming and Vaccinations are not believed to be real science. People believe what is on the internet although most people don’t know the source of the information.

  38. Yeah that's why the secular left are all for science with their 74 genders and trans women are real women.

  39. This is the BIGGEST LIE that is being implemented out there. More Christians are into engineering and sciences than any other groups out there. In fact many of the greatest scientists in history where Christians as well. It's a popular propaganda that a world without religion would be a better place. But no it's not. REAL FACT: Biggest indicator of crime in a city/town is not even education, it's the number of churches in that area. But even if you go back in history, societies without religion often develops this notion of Darwinian Superiority which is Survival Of The Fittest (sexified and glorified). That's why you see Atheist Soviet Union kills 30 million plus people, that why Hitler's Nazi party (who were anti-religion) had no issues killing millions, Atheist Mao's China who killed people and affected the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and Atheist Pol Pot who has no problem committing genocide (again in millions). Nowadays many in the Western World are following the same path, more kids are into nihilism (that's why we see a lot of kids shooting their classmates), there are more addicts than ever before, violent crime is exponentially increasing, single parenthood (particularly single motherhood) is increasing (kids who have never known their fathers are increasing exponentially), there's no sense of community, and other negative stuffs. Atheism never created a great civilization. Even the countries and leaders I mentioned above used Facists and Marxist ideologies (which are religions in itself) as a guiding path in forging their own countries. Many of the stuffs that Atheists enjoys like civility, human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and others only popped up in a HUMANE civilization that was based on Christian values.

  40. Whether it's school children, the public at large, or even policy makers, perhaps it's a better idea to help them understand – and appreciate – the diversity of thought around them, rather than pit religion against science or dismiss one over the other.

  41. The public school system is failing us. Thomas Jefferson would be disgusted by the current state of half of the governing masses.

  42. I just became a Christian and felt all kinds of confused, believing in miracles can easily make you disconnect from reality. Believing in miracles can and is good, but people have to remember Jesus performs miracles through doctors now. The resilience and healing that Christianity produces are very real. There are many reasons why going to Church and believing in God has all these benefits and it is rather miraculous Jesus had such good lessons to improve society and heal the sick. It is a one stop fix for mental illness.

  43. The understanding of evolution is the single most vital understanding there is. If I don’t believe in gravity, it effects nothing. If an anti-gravity religion rises up, it effects nothing. But what I didn’t comprehend when I was forced into a Zoology course as a requirement for a Biochem degree was how perspective-altering it would be. It’s as if I never understood anything until I met evolution. Unlike almost all other scientific knowledge, evolution is transferable and transformative for thought itself. And that understanding, or lack of understanding, can actually impact species survival as a whole. Not grasping the fundamentals of evolution puts blinders on the human race; sapping the world of context and detaching action from consequence. What I don’t understand is why religion picks these fights in the first place. What was so threatening about the earth being round, for instance? How did that, in any way, threaten the belief of Catholics in God? In truth – as disgusting as it is to think, let alone articulate – I would accept, for now, removing the “man from ape” sticking point for a time if that’s what it took to ensure that the broader, foundational idea was taught. Because, crazily enough, it is possible to believe in God and ‘believe in’ evolution.

  44. Religion does not make politics of US go nuts, US politics are nuts and it covers its' meaninglessness with religion right now. They were covering it with evolution theory when they had easy time with their white man rules agenda but today's conjunture does not let them to pursue that kind of bold elitism so they turned their face to religion to snitch some authoroty that they are loosing as politicians.
    And for them record believing evolution by itself no different than religious bigotry, becuase it makes you hate and humilite the ones who is not agreeing with you. I saw many atheist evolutionist video that calling any cretionist stupid, lazy, and imposter. They are not kind, they are harsh and that is exactly the same if done for (seemingly) religious goals.
    Wake up people not every word is as it seems. Logicians can be emotivist, atheists can be very fanatic and believers can be sinners. Trusting this fact is better than giving your trust to strangers.
    Note: As a Muslim a keep an agenda to make Sharia law is the base for all laws all over the earth that includes USA which prooves Republicans right. 😁

  45. Bible thumpers are too dumb to comprehend their own hypocrisy and they are the absolutely worst people in the world.

    ALWAYS count your fingers after shaking hands with bible thumpers. ALWAYS.

    Tax or ban religion.

  46. Darwinian Evolution is not a settled science. It is a theory. However Creationism is not rooted in science in any sense other than mental gymanastics. Of greater concern is the Zionist Evangelical Christian Cult and thier blind allegiance to Israel. Even the Corporate DNC is infiltrated by this Cult. The Republic has been comprimised to its very core by serving the interest of a foreign nation with US resources and American blood being shed in the Middle-East for the Project For A Greater Israel. This Scofield Bible Ideology has created a force within the District Of Criminals Inc. that has robbed the USA of its Independence. The Bush Dynasty were a major force in this treasonous betrayal of the Republic. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Syria and now Iran were all in the Zionist PNAC agenda to put Israel First.

  47. I believe in de-evolution. Hair Twitler and his devotees are proof that humanity is getting stupider. Get them to believe in absurdities, then prepare for the atrocities. I have little respect for so called 'people of faith'. What about respect for the 'people of reason'- like the scientists who warn us of our impending extinction?

  48. You Christians HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER ANYMORE! YOUR PROPHECIES ARE NOT COMING TRUE! Evolution is just a symptom of what Christians DO NOT have to offer! Sexual morality is just another example. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER ANYBODY ANYMORE!

  49. You Christians HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER ANYMORE! YOUR PROPHECIES ARE NOT COMING TRUE! Evolution is just a symptom of what Christians DO NOT have to offer! Sexual morality is just another example. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER ANYBODY ANYMORE!

  50. This has never been a Christian nation. Read the Treaty of Tripoli, the Constitution where there is no mention of Christianity, god or Jesus. There is no requirement of religious beliefs to hold office, Congress cannot establish no religion nor force anyone to follow Christianity. It is a secular nation that gives you the right to believe whatever god you want to believe or not believe in any god. Our Founding Father's were very strong in keeping the separation of church and state unlike England was at that time. If we were a Christian nation it would reflect it's beliefs and you would not have the freedom to practice what you believe or don't believe.

  51. its this republican party and their support of T that got me to toss, forever, religion out the door.

  52. One does not believe in evolution: One either understand it or they don't.

    The most dangerous part is that these #Christian-Extremists while they cry about Muslim-Extremists brining Sharia Law to the US, don't even realize that that is EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT TO BRING TO THE US: #ChristianShariaLaw!

    Think that is an exaggeration? What are the type of laws that the Christian-Republican-Conservative-Right-winged officials on state and federal levels have been either pushing for or tried to maintain in the past couple of decades?

    Forbid the right of woman to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest

    Forbid the rights of victims of rape or incest to testify in court

    Lower or maintain a low age minimum for sexual consent, well below adulthood age.

    Make punishable allegations of rapes that are not proven in court

    Control what women can and cannot wear

    Take away a woman’s right to accuse her husband of wrong doings; including beating or raping her

    Make possible the arranged marriage of underage girls to adult men

    Make marriage an exclusive matter between a man and a woman or child (No homosexuality or other gender recognition)

    Make corporal punishment permissible

    Forbid criticism or denial of sacred texts or their god

    Forbid conversion to other religions or to Atheism

    … These are all component of Muslim Sharia Law but, if you have been keeping-up with the news you'll know that, all of the above have been either proned or pushed through legislature by Republicans in many states and and on the federal level! Because Christian-Extremists and Muslim-Extremist want the exact same thing: A religiously led state! They only disagree on which religious brand name to slap onto the state buildings (Like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, fighting each other as to whose name is going to be on the next major league sports arena or stadium!)

    The "everyday", run of the mill Christian, when pressed, will cite a handful of those "Sharia Laws" as to why they are outRAGED that Muslim would bring such "barbaric values" to Amerikkka, but in the end they don't even see how they are being conned into bringing those same values in the name of "Christianity"!

  53. It is the
    Breakdown of the family that makes people cling to religion. It is searching for order in a world of chaos.

  54. As an educated aware human being I just can NOT subscribe to ANYTHING the Republican party represents now. Between Trump, the glaring stupidity and delusion of his base, the nonstop self-deluding LIES, the religious hypocrisy, I just get sick to the stomach now watching that clown show led by the orange MORON. And only a BIGGER moron can't see him for what he TRULY is, a human dumpster fire inflicting incalculable damage on this globe. ALL of you Trumtards are traitors by proxy, understand that.

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