Chris Mooney issues a dispatch from the science panel at Yearly Kos
I like the distinction between mundane and virulent ignorance
The final speaker, Ed Brayton of Dispatches From the Culture Wars, brought us back from distant galaxies and into our own communities: He focused on the religious right's extraordinarily successful campaign to pack school boards with anti-science ideologues, a strategy that has resulted in continual legal explosions across the country. In particular, Ed honed in on the well-known Dover, Pennsylvania "intelligent design" case from 2005 as well as a lesser-known example that he's been following closely: The decision by a public school board in Odessa, Texas, to put in place a plainly unconstitutional Bible course.
In contemplating these case studies, Ed drew a distinction between "mundane ignorance" (everyday not-knowing-something, of which we're all repeatedly guilty) and what he called "virulent ignorance": the willful disregard for contrary knowledge and opinion in favor of a set of dubious "facts" that are the result of ideology and indoctrination. To rescue our school boards (and children) from the often virulently ignorant candidates of the religious right, Ed noted that it is long past time for the "people of reason" to run for these offices and provide a little competition. In short, in the face of these repeated assaults, we have to stand by our own set of values.