The Silver Lining of the Gullible Age

Nice to see Richard Dawkins on the TV again – or at least, gearing up to be: The Enemies of Reason. I always like Richard’s stuff – it’s a refreshing antidote to the turgid mess I have to dig through in my other day to day stuff.

It’s actually been an interesting week for me – interesting for the usual “can’t talk about it yet” reasons, for another “can’t talk about it yet” reason, and a third, “can talk about it, but it’s as dull as dishwater” reason. hmmm. Not exactly riveting blog material, that.

In fact, there’s a bit of news that I cn talk about, and not one I would have expected at the start of the year – We are wrapping up the Scottish Atheist Council in the next few weeks. The big surprise has been that, basically, it’s not needed.

I’m well aware of Thomas Jefferson’s observation that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and to be sure these venomous groups need a nice bright light cast on what they are doing, but the simple situation is that Scotland is a lot Brighter than we had thought when we kicked off SAC.

In terms of keeping the more extreme religious views out of schools, we were pushing against an open door – a small survey that we carried out of Scottish Parliament members (we didn’t publish it, as there didn’t seem much point) showed up a very well rounded group of reasonable people, with only the odd one or two “swivel eyed loons” in their midst.

When it looked like Truth in Science had acually wormed their way into the SQA’s exam papers, it was smacked down faster and more thoroughly than any of us could have asked for..

The real big crunch was the Election – you can’t underestimate how much money these guys threw at this – you literally couldn’t go anywhere in the country without seeing their posters on almost every lamp post – in Motherwell, they covered nearly twelve miles of road, with every lamp post, roundabout and sign post getting a placcard…

And the result? a staggeringly weak FOUR percent of the vote – and given that the turnout was only about 45%, that’s less than 2% of the population – about 100,000 people in total across the country. To put this properly in context – nearly twice as many people put “Jedi” on their census forms last time around than voted for the Christian parties combined.

We have had to face the very real possibility that highlighting them in any way actually helps this vanishingly small group of bigots to get more airtime. The effort is probably better spent supporting the efforts of people like the National Secular Society and Humanist Society of Scotland.

It says good things about our country that so few people buy into their rubbish. I’m proud to be Scottish, thinking that the enlightenment is, in all likelihood, safe in our hands.