Turkana Boy

What is the most dangerous product or idea exported from the US to the world? Foodies might say Big Mac and Coke! Rugby purists might say American Football! Health concious migh say their portion sizes! Fashion concious might say Paris Hilton!

While all these might be valid choices, I contend that one of the most dangerous exports from the US is evangelical Christianity. Not the entire spectrum of evangelical Christianity but a rather virulent and violent strain of it that unfortunately, like all mutated organisms is spreading fast. This particular form of Christianity insists on the Bible being the literal truth and instinctively opposes scientific enquiry. In the US, it manifests itself in the form of anti-abortion movememnt, anti-gay rights movement, anti-evolution movement, anti-stem cell movement and finally [tongue firmly in cheek] the anti-intelligence movement which marks the two time victory of the current US President as its ultimate success.

Now, this strain has reared its head in Africa. Here’s what’s going on:

Feb. 7, 2007 — Deep in the dusty, unlit corridors of Kenya’s national museum, locked away in a plain-looking cabinet, is one of mankind’s oldest relics: Turkana Boy, as he is known, the most complete skeleton of a prehistoric human ever found.

But his first public display later this year is at the heart of a growing storm — one pitting scientists against Kenya’s powerful and popular evangelical Christian movement. The debate over evolution vs. creationism — once largely confined to the United States — has arrived in a country known as the cradle of mankind.

“I did not evolve from Turkana Boy or anything like it,” says Bishop Boniface Adoyo, head of Kenya’s 35 evangelical denominations, which he claims have 10 million followers. “These sorts of silly views are killing our faith.”

He’s calling on his flock to boycott the exhibition and has demanded the museum relegate the fossil collection to a back room – along with some kind of notice saying evolution is not a fact but merely one of a number of theories.

Really Mr. Adoyo? Just one of a number of theories? Just like Mr. Bush never tires of saying that Global warming is merely one of a number of theories? Just like the theory that the confusing butterfly ballot and an openly partisan election board in Florida and Supreme Court lead to Mr. Bush’s “victory” in 2000?

These unreasonable and unscientific men have already done enough damage to scientific enquiry and this seems to be a worldwide phenomena. The worst aspect of fundamentalism in religion is not that it is fundamentalism, but that fundamentalism in one religion, specially in a well connected world like ours, encourages other religions to be even more fundamentalist. There have already been fears that the actions of hardcore evangelist Christians are fueling religious tensions in the middle east and other tinderboxes around the world. Africa, the cradle of civilization, with its vast illiterate and desperately poor population could soon become the next battleground between the two “revealed” religions.

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