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How would Galileo fare today? - R.H. Joseph

In response to the 9/11 Commission Report thinking Americans should reflect upon the ramifications of the value system practiced by the Bush administration and Republican Party, a system they would impose upon America.

Of the salient issues addressed in the Report, one concerns the lack of skeptical analysis demonstrated by President Bush and his advisors regarding the available intelligence.

To understand this failure we must appreciate the Bush league's perception of the concept of skeptical analysis, that demanding intellectual inquiry thinking Americans presume an elemental requirement of citizenship.

Was the Bush administration's failure to engage in skeptical analysis anomalous with regard to the issue at hand or does it reflect a mindset that perceives such behavior as inherently subversive?

Recent history suggests the Bush administration, the Republicans, and their conservative constituency collectively consider skeptical analysis treasonous.

Was it and is it not skeptical analysis that roused and continues to rouse so many of us to dispute the deliberately manipulative propaganda disseminated by the Bush league, and were we and are we not considered traitorous by the Republican Party and its minions for so doing?

On the other hand, while the Republican Party and its conservative core consider skeptical analysis synonymous with treason, the enlightened consider the phrase synonymous with penetrating thought. Thinking adults engage in skeptical analysis.

We must ask, therefore, what is it about skeptical analysis, about penetrating thought, the Republican Party's conservative constituency finds so threatening, so traitorous?

The answer: induced change. The word evolution is anathema to the Republican Party and its minions for issues exceeding the origin of the species.

The entrenched anti-intellectualism of this stratum distrusts reasoned contemplation precisely because it engenders change through a forcefully penetrating examination of ideas. More to the point, rather than considering received knowledge canonical, unassailable, the educable apply skeptical analysis to the information and revise as necessary.

The result of this behavior, thinking, induces evolution. Thinking people change their minds.

Growth is compelled by continuous exposure to new information and experience. Thinking people expect their peers to grow, to change their minds.

Attend to how the Republican Party and its conservative constituency respond to individuals who evince opinions that have evolved due to skeptical analysis.

With this in mind, consider that recent polls indicate roughly 40 percent of American voters still believe the Bush propaganda regarding a relevant link between al-Quaida and Saddam Hussein. Is it any wonder a group who considers skeptical analysis tantamount to treason refuses to think about the vast amount of material contravening the Bush league's misrepresentations?

Patriotic Americans can no longer afford to entrust all that we hold dear to those threatened by skeptical analysis, those who find thinking traitorous. Those naturally inclined to expose all information to skeptical analysis cannot continue to permit the reins of government to be held by those whose natural inclination is to eschew analysis, eschew skepticism.

Though the sophisticated among us reside in the 21st century, our government represents the perspective of those who only four years ago anticipated the world being forever changed through divine cataclysm. They have not abandoned this view. This is scary stuff.

Intransigent anti-intellectualism resides within this segment and it is they who would command our thinkers. If you have any doubts about the profound significance of allowing this to continue, think about the impact the Bush league is having upon the scientific community.

Shall we allow those who consider skeptical analysis traitorous the power to command our institutions of higher learning and the funding of scientific inquiry? Even as students in East and South Asia are moving forward, America's are falling increasingly behind.

A thousand years ago Western European culture was essentially destroyed by an intellectual intransigence identical to that prevailing amongst the Republican core constituency today. Were it not for Muslim intellectuals much of the profound scientific and philosophical inquiries of ancient Greece and Rome would have been lost during Europe's Dark Age.

Those who refuse learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at rjoseph@news-daily.com.