What is the world's biggest challenge?

Tom Stewart: The environment would definitely be one, and climate. And what we’re doing to the climate is one. There would definitely be one of the salient issues of our time. Another I think that is salient is this . . . this struggle between the forces of purpose; deliberate ignorance and the forces of thinking, intellect and research and so on and so forth. I mean it’s shameful or to see some candidates from presidents saying, “Well, I’m really not so sure about evolution.”

They should be ashamed of themselves and their mothers. I mean, their mothers should be ashamed of them. It’s just shocking. And to see people pandering to ignorance for short-term gain – whether it’s about climate or about other things – is to me, absolutely shameful. And it’s not just a U.S. problem and it makes my blood boil. And I think that may be related to that other issue that I mentioned, which is the very skewed distribution of wealth. Because if I can see a five-year opportunity to make so damn-much money that it’s just doesn’t matter, then that it just doesn’t matter. Does that opportunity allow me to become a sociopath in ways that I wouldn’t become if the opportunity were not quite so huge?

 June 22, 2007

The struggle between thinking people and anti-intellectualism.

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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
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Credit: Adobe
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Credit: DESY, Science Communication Lab (used with permission by Astronomy Picture of the Day, which is co-managed by Robert Nemiroff at Michigan Tech).
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