I do appreciate Rall’s overarching point— Huckabee is allowed to be as batshit crazy as he wants to be because he’s on the lunatic fringe of my religion instead of any other one— since I’m no fan of the preacher man. It’s a very valid concern.
However, I also cringed slightly at how Rall made his point. I cynically wonder whether people will get mired in “Hinduism is strange” instead of questioning why we aren’t more worried about the rise of this candidate. After all, if Rall’s conception of Hindu fundamentalism (cobras? chanting? SATI??) confuses slightly-familiar-with-Hinduism-me, what will those with even less exposure to the religion think?
The assertion by Anna (echoed approvingly in the discussion) that Huckabee is clearly a lunatic solely because he doesn't believe in evolution. I guess by that standard I too am a lunatic, not because I necessarily disbelieve that men descended from apes (though sci-pedant that I am, I'd point out that apes and men both descended from something else), but because I do think it's perfectly reasonable for another person to believe in creation. It's not an irrational belief. It's as rational as any other rational thought process, which is to say it's your typical black box with inputs and outputs, and garbage in, garbage out.
I am not sneering at creationism at garbage in, either. Just now I read a thread at Overcoming Bias blog where fresh off a tone-deaf and schoolyard-taunting post on Christmas day mocking the Immaculate Conception, the blogger states his belief in Transhumanism and the Singularity.
The ego of man knows no bounds, and neither does his faith. Reason is just a tool applied in service of both.
I tend towards increasing skepticism of "rational thinking" as any kind of intrinsically superior in terms of relative "Truth" (capital T). Overcoming bias? Such righteousness! Such hubris!
Now, however, what is superior is method, not process. This is why the true fruit of the Enlightenment was the scientific method, not secularism and the conceit that any human thought can ever be truly objective.
At any rate, sneering at Hinduism for being "strange" is not much different from sneering at Huckabee for being devout, and you can't take offense at one an dnot the other. Well, you can, but in doing so you are not exactly... reasonable.
At any rate, I believe in both evolution and intelligent design, so there.
(I've posted the above in the thread at SM as well.)