Monday, September 13, 2004

Serbs like Darwin, after all


Darwin's expulsion sparks protests
http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/techscience/story/0,4386,272078,00.html

Darwin gets new Serbian imprimatur
http://www.b92.net/english/news/index.php?&nav_category=&nav_id=29819&order=priority&style=headlines

Serbia returns Darwin to the curriculum
http://www.mg.co.za/Content/l3.asp?cg=Andinothernews&ao=122006

Serbia puts Darwin back on school shelves
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040910/REPO10-6/TPEducation/

Serbs' Darwinian battle
http://www.iht.com/articles/538177.html

Darwin is OK after all, Serbia says
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5953639/

Serbia reverses ban on Darwin
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3642460.stm

So, the saga seems to be over for now. I am proud of my old country, of course. The outrage was swift and loud, and the government acted fast. I read through the Serbian press, whatever of it is online, and the level of outrage and ridicule is absolutely huge. Cartoons are funny and devastating. I believe Mrs.Colic is about to be sacked. I have not seen a single voice in her defense anywhere in the Serbian media.

Now, think of similar cases we had here in the USA. Was there a universal outrage? No. Was there a swift response by the government? No. Was there political consequence for the Creationist? No, of course, Reagan and Bush are openly Creationist and they still got elected.

Can you imagine letters to the editor in your local paper? Three for Darwin, three against. Nobody knows how many really came in for each side, but the editor, in his misguided effort to be "fair and balanced" will make sure that both sides of the issue will be presented by the equal number of letters, thus giving teh appearance that the population is evenly divided on this and every other issue.

For 50 years, and several generations, religion was ridiculed in Yugoslavia. It was not banned as in other communist states, but over the years, only a few very elderly people remained religious. We were brought up on Marx and Darwin. Secularism, science and rationality. Church was dying off. My father, an atheist himself, sang in the church choir every Sunday because he loves the church music. I went with him a couple of times. I do not know that music, but I have formal musical education so I could read from the music sheet and sing with them. Most of the members of the choir were very old people. The church was empty except for a couple of very old people.

I met only a couple of young people who were religious and they were some VERY troubled souls. Peer ridicule made them even more troubled.

So, what happened? Apparently, during the 90s, church gained a large influence for several reasons. First, it became fashionable in about 1988 for young people to go to church on Easter and Christmas as a reaction to the rise of the Catholic church in Croatia, associated with the neo-fascist nascent regime in Croatia. It was a way to reassert one's Serbian national pride. Second, the wars, sanctions, poverty and the Milosevic's regime left a moral void. People in search for answers about moral choices, about right and wrong, did not know where to turn to. Church swiftly moved in to fill that void.

Not confirmed, but I heard that the Serbian Orthodox church ex-communicated all the women who had an abortion. Isn't that illegal? Cathechism is now taught in schools. I could not find the official church response to this Darwin debacle, although one of the articles quotes a bishop who seems to be fine with Darwin. Perhaps it was just in Mrs.Colic's imagination what the church really wanted and how she was going to pander to it.


P.S. I still cannot upload images here, but I will shortly have a good cartoon uploaded on this site:
http://www.jregrassroots.org/jre/viewtopic.php?p=39837#39837
The cartoon is from the Serbian magazine "Vreme" ("Time")

P.P.S. This is still better than the wiev of evolution depicted here:
http://tinyurl.com/45ynj

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