Saturday, August 21, 2010

Where Does Your Opinion Count?

I like opinions. I have my own. I enjoy reading others' opinions. I enjoy exchanging opinions with those who are open enough to actually change their opinions - or with those open enough to change my opinion. I like opinions.

But I've come to recognize that there are places where uninformed opinions don't matter.

This thought came to me Saturday morning as I was watching a program on the History Channel on the origin and end of the universe. It was a mind boggling departure for the channel that used to be All Hitler, All the Time and is now "Monster Quest Plus." These seemed to be genuine explorations of actual science. The program featured actual astro-physicists who actually did calculations and study and knew stuff about how the current theories of the universe were formed and tested. It was an impressive popularization of science.

I realized that one of the discussions I've been in recently - a discussion about the inclusion of creationism in high school science curriculum - is a discussion in which a great deal of misinformation and opinion based on non-expert ignorance has been thrown about. There have even been a few young earth opinions.

Here were scientists who spoke knowledgeably about events billions of years ago, events we've just dimly come to understand. They actually knew something. But even if they didn't, the Universe is indifferent to their opinions. The age of the universe is not fixed by ancient texts reinterpreted in the 18th century. The universe is what it is, as old as it is, regardless of our opinion. This is a place where our opinion doesn't matter, and our uninformed, non-scientific opinion matters even less.

I also thought about the recent stories about the President's religion. One poll, apparently, says that a significant number of Americans believe that we should, somehow, exclude Muslims from qualifying for the Presidency. That opinion doesn't matter.

The reason it doesn't matter is because the Constitution excludes the criteria that is being set out in the minds of many poll takers. Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids a "religious test" for any office. To exclude anyone because of their chosen religion, or to chose only those of one or two faiths, is a clear violation of this article.

So, the opinion of 24% of the country who apparently think that that Jeremiah Wright flap was a clever ruse perpetrated by Obama - and who now think that Obama is a "secret Muslim" can and should join the rest of the nutbags in the Republican Party. Remember that 24% of the Republican party also thought/thinks that Obama is the Anti-Christ.

They're nuts. Their opinion, in fact, doesn't matter. The news reporters should stop reporting on this issue, unless it is to point out that the matter is irrelevant. The constitution rules it out of bounds! So, let's be strict constitutionalists and rule it out of bounds and get to talking about things that actually matter - like jobs and the jobs that have been outsource that Americans could now use!

1 comment:

Sharon Texley said...

Well said! I could not agree more!

I just discovered your blog by accident and was curious. Do you teach at Bethany?

My husband and I were long-time Lindsborg residents who moved to the Chicago area 5 years ago to be near grandkids. In the Borg, we belonged to a small but mighty group of liberals. I taught in the high school, Bruce at Bethany, and we often visit our old friends there.