Forget Religious Tests—How About Science Tests Instead?

In light of recent autocratic orders issued from our (with all due respect) doughy, baby-carrot-fingered troglodyte of a 45th president for whom the rhetorical complexity of a season of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo represents an intellectual bridge too far, I thought I would take this opportunity to suggest that in the interest of “our country’s continued safety and security” we implement not religious tests for incoming migrants but science tests instead.

Medieval ArtI propose this in part because Europe’s Renaissance and later Enlightenment owes much of its inception to the Arab world from which it borrowed so heavily as Europe emerged from a several centuries-long Dark Ages. And for those who may have skipped those history lessons or been too stoned to remember them, the Dark Ages were marked primarily by a flat-Earthed, geocentric universe; the burning of witches at the stake; and the artistic equivalent of Hanna Barbera cartoons (albeit I don’t recall George Jetson ever castrating himself in front of either Jane or Rosie).

The fact is the European Renaissance’s reintroduction to philosophy and empirical reasoning arrived to the continent mostly from returning Crusaders who pillaged the Muslim world’s libraries and only occasionally read rather than burned its books. Which was all very much to the chagrin of the Muslim world at the time who regarded their marauding European neighbors with much the same confused horror as the rest of America today regards Mississippi truck stops, Donald Trump rallies, and the restrooms at the Circus Circus Casino in Reno, Nevada.

Today’s Republican party’s confused yet concerted effort to return to that halcyon Medieval era prior to indoor plumbing and penicillin begs a few questions. Perhaps most notably, why should the Trump administration’s recent immigration order aimed at protecting the US from incoming bad “dudes” and “hombres” disproportionately impact a lot, if not a majority of emigrating Muslims who already are or are on their way to becoming doctors, engineers, and biochemists?

It’s not like Trump country presently is or shows any interest in becoming cutting edge leaders in scientific research, after all.

It should be further noted that these immigrants’ research and discoveries will invariably continue to benefit everyone, not the least of which the vast contingent of red-state, Make America Great Again Trump-voting OxyContin fans. And while those future discoveries will no doubt be appropriated as yet another hallmark of American white nationalist ingenuity by the likes of Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter, their “post-truth” vision of better days when America was Greaterer and women could still be molested in economy-class airline seats without raising too much of a fuss doesn’t actually have the effect of changing reality itself.

The irrefutable reality is that America’s status as a world leader in creative ingenuity is not because of but rather in spite of the Bannon-Coulter-inbred slack-jawed mouth-breathing “The South Will Rise Again” arm of retrograde American politics.

PentagramBecause while Trump-country tends to regard science textbooks and literacy itself as a liberal conspiracy rooted in semen-drinking Satanic rituals conducted in the basements of Washington-area pizzerias, these same Trump voters yet rely on scientific research to extend their lives, provide them with erections, and staple their stomachs. And their fervent rejection of science, evolution, and general relativity also doesn’t preclude them from enlisting their smartphones, powered by particle physics, to declaim their repudiation of all things predicated on empirical evidence, including vaccines, fluoride, and the clitoris.

Perhaps the greatest irony for these Trump voters, then, is that the countries that our facile-minded president and his club-footed Skoal-chewing White House cabinet have included as part of their immigration ban(s) comprise some of the largest exporters of doctors to rural American areas that so many of those Trump voters inhabit. These are the same areas that most American-born doctors typically avoid, favoring urban centers instead, and so populating rural hospitals involves looking abroad for those eager for the promise of an American, first-world life.

It’s true that we’ve come to expect wholesale ignorance on the part of Trump country and its barely sentient voters whose signature achievement was managing to correctly read the ballot on election day through a haze of Xanax and bathtub gin. But refusing to accept into the country the only people willing to tolerate Trump voters’ halitosis in order to get close enough to provide them with medical care is exceedingly stupid even by Trump voter standards.

FrogTherefore, in the interest of #MakingAmericaGreatAgain, I propose a full-scale culling from our census those who cannot distinguish between real versus alternative facts, or between professional journalism versus fake news, or between nuanced argument and informed debate versus pithy aphorisms written in a thought bubble above a cartoon frog.

And let me make clear that this request is not exclusive to incoming migrants. In fact, administering this test to arriving immigrants from those countries included as part of Trump’s order would only represent a formality as most of them arrive with a superior education and have no difficulty discerning the difference between the scientific method and a poorly worded Facebook post. Instead, I have in mind a wholesale canvassing of the U.S., with the idea of deporting all those who fail to accept the reality of natural selection, general relativity, and the fact that Blur is better than Oasis.

The idea here is to start from big to small—once we’ve weeded our national garden of the aforementioned crabgrass, we can then move on to bigger issues, such as banning auto-tune from Drake and Kanye West’s recording studios and forcing hipsters to admit that their beards are less a mark of their manly independence than they are a compensation for the fact that they reserve strong opinions on the Justice League film trailer and yet cannot successfully complete a single pull-up.

But first, “Making America Great Again” requires a clean slate devoid of all science-defying Red Hats, and it also requires, in the wake of the recent election, a lot more immigrants to pull our nation’s median IQ up into triple digits.

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