Evolutionary biology

News from biology, and its implications for engineering

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Power, profit, evolution

The new political power, and the new marketing power, of anti-evolutionary punditry has burst into the US media lately. Although the scientific community is perfectly capable of arguing for common sense, I believe they don't really understand who they are arguing with. Scientists seem to think they're arguing with 'religious nuts'. It's not true. They are arguing with hired guns from the marketing & public relations industry.

The majority of people in the country do not give a whoop about this battle. Nor do the majority of very religious people. Religion is being used in a media war for certain power interests.

Why? Ever since the 60's, when 'people power' began to really topple 'elite power', there has been a massive reaction in the halls of power. The elite have used every means at their disposal -- publicity, religion, covert action and massive violence -- to push the world as far away from democracy as possible. Seizing religion is a major item on their agenda, because reactionary religious policy is superb for keeping people complacent about the real world.

To conquer the 'religious market', the elites picked battles on inconsequential ideological fronts. Note that they never quote the bible and work to eliminate hypocrisy, greed, poverty, etc. They are rich as croesus, and they don't want anyone to know it. Instead, they'll concentrate on schoolteachers, the terminally ill, and poor pregnant women. Easy targets that keep pro-democracy organizers on their toes.

Why are they against democracy? Because it cuts into their profits, by definition. If everyone had equal political power, they would have relatively equal financial power. Which means that it would be difficult to pay people minimum wage, and fire them at will, when you're making record profit. We saw this a bit in the Internet boom, when employees had employers over a barrel, and so workers were getting unprecedented stock options. This, by itself, made those in power work to prick the Internet bubble as soon as possible.

The role of science is to serve profit. When it does not serve those interests, or works against them, scientists have a battle on their hands. In this case, they need to form coalition with other workers, not against religion. It's a giant social chasm to cross, because of science's role as courtier to power. But it's getting increasingly critical to stop arguing with power, and start forming a popular constituency for equality & common sense.