Why are Creationism and Evolution such controversial topics in the U.S. today
1. ignorance. From what I know of the US education system, it is not very good until you get to graduate school. The US public appears to be very afraid of anything that challenges the "traditional" view of life, or the "american way". The war on drugs, war against communism, war against terror, war against evolution - these are all rooted in the fear of ignorant people of anything outside their narrow experience.
2. religion. People in the US are FAR more religious than in any other developed country. Many people are happy to reject any reasonable information and theories that challenge their precious religious doctrines. Many decision makers in the political system make a big show of their religious credentials and put religion directly into their policies. Elsewhere, this is is extremely rare. In Europe, for example, overtly religious political organizations are generally sidelined as microparties. Even a religious person like Tony Blair doesn't explicitly relate his policies to his religious beliefs, and the majority of the UK population would be appalled if he were to do so, because religion is seen as a private matter rather than a public matter. The US is exceptional in that religion is seen as a public virtue rather than a completely private matter that should be irrelevant to politics.
1. anti-rationalism as a tool of social control. In the US, antirationalism has been made into a virtue. Look at the political opinions that tend to go along with anti-evolutionism. These people are often conservative, religious, poorly-educated people. This combination of characteristics makes a constituency that is ideal for manipulation by powerful vested interests such as the churches and the media. If you read "Manufacturing consent" by Herman and Chomsky you will see that rational free-thinking people are anathema to the rightwing political agenda that dominates in the US. The attacks on evolution through the media and with the support of the conservative right fit quite neatly into H&C's thesis. it's just another prong in the attack against rationality in the US.
This message has been edited by mick, 04-27-2005 12:32 PM