As Rachel Maddow reported on her show tonight (an article in the New York Times did as well) , eight-year-old Olivia McConnell of South Carolina noticed her state didn’t have a state fossil. She wrote to her state representatives – Rep. Robert Ridgeway and Sen. Kevin Johnson, both D-Clarendon – asking them to sponsor a bill to make the wooly mammoth the official state fossil.
Now, knowing a little something about the importance of showing why some action ought to be done, McConnell added several reasons why the state needed a fossil and why that fossil ought to be a wooly mammoth:
- One of the first discoveries of a vertebrae fossil in North America was on an S.C. plantation when slaves dug up wooly mammoth teeth from a swamp in 1725.
- All but seven states have an official state fossil.
- Fossils tell us about our past.
The House overwhelmingly agreed.
When the bill moved to the Senate, the crazy, ignorant, anti-science, bullshit believing godshites stepped in. Senator Kevin Bryant amended the bill inserting quotations from the Book of Genesis to note “the creator” made the wooly mammoth and other creatures and the earth and did so on the 6th day. When that failed, he revised the language to describe the mammoth “as created on the Sixth Day with the beasts of the field.”
Now, anyone who has ever been to a museum of science, read a book about dinosaurs, or has two functioning brain cells knows the wooly mammoth roamed the earth in the early Pleistocene era, about 1.8 million years ago, and disappeared about 3 or 4 million years ago.
So South Carolina Senator Kevin Bryant and his ignorant, anti-science, fairy tale following fellow Christian Fundamentalists are either ignoring or denying the scientifically established age of Earth, yet they seem to have no problem believing dates recorded by some scribes and translated who know how many times and into how many different languages that enables them to believe the earth is only some 6,000 years old.
This is frightening for a number of reasons. Perhaps most important is that there may be no greater impediment to the advancement of a culture than widespread ignorance. Promoting ignorance undermines all serious educational efforts; even worse is legislating that ignorance.
It’s time we say enough. Believing in fairy tales is fine; basing legislation on them is not.