The Friendly Atheist linked to a letter of apology from The Secular Coalition of Australia to Bill Nye for Ken Ham. The humorous letter makes some serious points:
To our shame, decades of preoccupation with things like Olympic medal tallies and football players has made Australia into the “Typhoid Mary” of Creationism: we were rubbishing America for its anti-evolutionists and didn’t even notice that we were the ones exporting young-earth evangelism to your great nation, where unfortunately there is no tariff on craziness. We are so, so sorry.
The letter includes a “Why did we write this letter” section and it describes how secular Australia (20% of the population identifies as non-theistic secularists) still produced influential creationists like Ken Ham:
Most educated people falsely assume that Americans are the primary source of the contagion of biblical literalism. However, the facts show that Australians are a major vector of this contagion, both at home and, even more inexcusably, in many other countries, including America.
I can’t help but identify with the Aussies. Canada prides itself on being superior to the evangelical-and-fundamentalist-infested US with 23% of Canadians stating that they do not believe in any god, yet there have been recent cases where religion has polluted our education system. Gideon bible distribution started up in public Canadian schools (thanks to an atheist parent for stopping that), provinces fund Catholic schools, and universities accomodate religious bigotry.
Canadian atheists need to be ever vigilant in ensuring our education system remains secular. We already have to apologize for Justin Bieber; we don’t want to have to start apologizing for a Canadian Ken Ham.
No Paul Hellyer ? Spoiled rich kids are a dime a dozen but a minister of defence talking about aliens living among us has got to be noteworthy.
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I suspect Australia creates such potent creationists because only the strong survive in such a difficult environment – a sort of creationist evolutionary process