Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the Earth, more than half the American population believes that the entire cosmos was created 6,000 years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue. Those with the power to elect presidents and congressmen—and many who themselves get elected—believe that dinosaurs lived two by two upon Noah's Ark, that light from distant galaxies was created en route to the Earth and that the first members of our species were fashioned out of dirt and divine breath, in a garden with a talking snake, by the hand of an invisible God.I agree. I've noticed that in the past year or so, atheist views have taken on a much larger public profile than they have in the past. Even South Park noticed the trend in a recent episode (as it nevertheless tried to lampoon atheists as dogmatists who are no less ruthless than the religious).
This is embarrassing.
Nevertheless, this overall trend is heartening, because it indicates a growing debate over the nature of truth and inherent conflict between faith and reason. Not all atheists are our allies on the simple grounds that the absence of faith does not necessarily indicate the presence of reason, yet if this larger debate is the fruit of their hands, it's a welcome opportunity for Objectivists to present their arguments to the public.