“We don’t need no education”

My British friends like to think that it is only Americans who seem to scorn reason and logic–and it’s hard to argue when Bush was elected twice and Santorum thinks he has a chance.  But a recent Facebook conversation I witnessed proved that there are close-minded bigots on both sides of the ocean.

Someone had linked to an article praising the progressiveness of some groups of American Muslims, describing the lives they lead, unblemished by extremism.  This seemingly innocent post provoked a deluge of fundamentalist, homophobic, and otherwise bigoted criticism of the people the article described, condemning them of deviating from strict Islam by pointing to their respect of human rights of women and homosexuals.

My Cambridge friends soon entered the debate from the other side, explaining that these Facebookers had no right to judge the religion of others.   The comeback focused mostly on the unnaturalness of homosexuality, ignoring the evidence presented to the contrary by someone who had just studied the topic for a research paper.

Whenever my friends proposed an argument supported by scientific fact, university lectures, or documented sources of information, our riled-up opponents scoffed that it was all “merely brainwashing” by the government, providing no background to their own claims beyond–and this is a quote–their “indwelling intelligence”.

Remind you of something?…

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