published Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

GOP's latest smokescreen

The politicization of science in the United States comes at a terrible price. Promoted by the religious right and carried forward by an almost exclusively Republican roster of candidates and office-holders, the attack on scientific knowledge and the scientific process is eroding America's once pre-eminent position in the discipline. It also creates an unnecessary sideshow in a presidential election year.

Paul Broun, the incumbent Georgia 10th District congressman running unopposed in November, is the latest Republican to mix science, politics and religion in a way that denigrates all three. Broun, a physician and member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, should know better.

According to a videotape of a speech last month, Broun said "God's word is true, I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior."

Broun also said that he believes the Earth is about 9,000 years old and that it was made in six days. Those beliefs are held by many fundamentalist Christians who believe the creation accounts in the Bible to be literally true. Science does not.

Broun, of course, is entitled to his personal views, but not to impose them on the public as his office and his position on the committee might allow him to do. Established science apparently means little to him and those who share his beliefs. Indeed, anti-science views permeate the GOP. Mitt Romney, the party flag bearer, is on record saying that "we don't know what's causing climate change," though he now grudgingly agrees that human activity probably contributes to global warming. Other GOP stalwarts have taken the same off-kilter approach to science.

Most scientists, regardless of party, disagree with such views. No one in Republican circles, of course, will admit that trashing science is part of the party platform, but it sure seems like it given the level of rhetoric. The main casualty of the Republican assault is science itself.

The most noticeable result is growing distrust of science and scientists in the United States. Public funding for scientific research and education is in decline. The United States can ill afford that in a world that requires more and better science if it is to meet the challenges posed by a warming world in which population and available resources to sustain it are on a collision course. Republicans like Broun ignore that challenge by dismissing it as non-existent.

The GOP's misleading interpretation of evolution, embryology and other vital scientific topics is another of the party's smokescreens. It is designed to shift public attention away from the fiscal, political and social crises that confront the nation. The GOP, which has advanced no meaningful, equitable solutions for those problems, obviously prefers distraction to resolution.

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Rickaroo said...

It does not take a particularly high level of intelligence to realize that the Bible is just a book of fiction and ancient myths, written by primitive people whose concept of God was limited to their superstitious and precocious beliefs. Just plain old common sense and the mentality of about a 15 year-old is enough to see through the many holes, contradictions, absurdities, and historical and scientific inaccuracies contained within it. I respect anyone's right to believe whatever they want to believe about God and the afterlife, as long as they in turn respect the rights of others to believe how they want to believe without telling them they're going to hell for not believing as they do. But people so imbecilic and downright stupid that they honestly believe the Bible and its contents to be actual history and the inerrant "word of God" deserve no respect and should be called out for the morons that they are.

We don't have time to waste arguing about such childish nonsense with these childish people who cannot come to grips with science and reason. It's bad enough that these nitwits believe as they do, but when they try to subject everyone else to their lunatic Bible-based beliefs and inflict us with their dominionism and anti-science rhetoric, as more and more of these Republican clowns like Paul Broun, Todd Akin, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and so many others do, then it's time to say, enough is enough. They don't deserve the civility of logical debate because they don't utilize or even possess logic anyway. When people think like idiots and talk like idiots, as so many of these fundamentalist, flat-earth, anti-science, anti-reality Christians do, then there's really no other name for them but i-d-i-o-t-s.

October 9, 2012 at 2:57 a.m.
conservative said...

If you know and obey God's word you will be blessed

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1: 1-2

October 9, 2012 at 5:55 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Evolution is the theory that it's OK to eat evolutionists.
Rick, Hell is a fact, and if you don't even want to be told about it, why are you telling us what you tell us? My religion tells me you're a fellow human, worthy of correction and improvement. Is your religion--the set of beliefs you hold--equally brotherly about me?

October 9, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Hell is a fact

You've been there? Have souvenirs?

October 9, 2012 at 6:58 a.m.
dao1980 said...

I see somebody spooked Conny and he's squirted out another verse like a cornered cat expressing its gland.. and Andy is having trouble with reality as usual.

October 9, 2012 at 7:40 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Ahhh...this is your brain on fundy religion.

October 9, 2012 at 7:44 a.m.
hotdiggity said...

AndrewLohr said..."Hell is a fact". You must live in a very blissful, self-created world.

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity". Martin Luther King, Jr.

October 9, 2012 at 11:44 a.m.
timbo said...

I am a bit of a rarity in that I am conservative but also agree with the scientific view of the world. I agree with liberals in that debunking science to further some obtuse religious goal is destructive. Religion is supposed to be about truth and most scientific evidence of some of these things are truth. Religion is based on faith, science on data. Faith is not data.

The problem that I have though is the total disrespect that some of you guys show to people who are religious. Although I don't agree with them and don't have a point of reference for their beliefs, they have the right to have them.

A lot of intelligent people are religious and there has been to much influence in our society to make fun or disrespect it.

My father was a Methodist minister who I think put it best. He believed in science and said it and religion don't conflict as much as either side says it does. He said that the Bible was not written to be taken literally. It is the great truths it teaches that are important.

I think both sides need to tone it done a bit and tolerate each other to a greater extent.

October 9, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Timbo, your call for tolerance and toning down the rhetoric sounds noble, but when we have politicians exercising their power and influence and making decisions on things like the teaching of creationsism in our schools, abortion, global warming, and our policies towards Israel, all based on their far-fetched, superstitious beliefs in the Bible, then they are putting their beliefs into action and trying to force them on all of us. It's one thing to believe something and keep it to yourself, but when these ignoramuses like Paul Broun and his Republican fundamentalist Christian ilk attempt to govern from their stupid Bible based beliefs, then they become dangerous and they need to be called out.

I respect any Christian who LIVES their religion, accentuating the love and not caught up in their self-righteousness of pointing out others people's "sins." But these nuts who constantly preach about hell and sin and who deny science and indeed reality itself, and they try to shape the world around them in accordance with their beliefs, then there is no room for "tolerance." They need to be called out and stood up to for the wacked-out, lame-brained morons that they are.

Anyway, I have seen in many of your posts how "tolerant" you are when it comes to liberals or indeed anyone who thinks even the slightest bit differently from you. To hear you call for tolerance and "toning it down a bit,"...well, that's just flat-out funny.

October 9, 2012 at 1:08 p.m.
timbo said...

Rickaroo...your right I am intolerant of liberals mainly because I feel like you guys are intolerant of conservatives. Although you might have a point on my having a little hypocrasy on the "tolerant" front.

In any event, your last post is hard to disagree with on merit. The main problem is that these people mean well but want tolerance without giving it.

Religion should stay out of science, period.

October 9, 2012 at 2:31 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Nice to agree on something for a change, timbo.

October 9, 2012 at 3:07 p.m.
chatt_man said...

This article is bullsh!t. The last paragraph is all you need to know about the article.

"The GOP's misleading interpretation of evolution, embryology and other vital scientific topics is another of the party's smokescreens. It is designed to shift public attention away from the fiscal, political and social crises that confront the nation."

No one I know is trying to shift any public attention from the democrats, the people I see are quite happy with the democrats owning the current miserable economy and social crisis'.

"The GOP, which has advanced no meaningful, equitable solutions for those problems, obviously prefers distraction to resolution."

http://www.gop.gov/indepth/pledge/jobs

Ha! The smoke is from the tires of the vehicle that is currently, and will continue to leave the democrats economy behind...

October 9, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

timbo, I appreciate your desire for both sides to tone it down. However, when a poster is as extreme or as out of touch with reality as these two (and Ken Orr) it's hard not to point it out. Conservative is quick to deny the term Christian to almost everyone that doesn't meet his narrow definition (rather arrogant) and Mr. Orr is so homophobic he would see gays discriminated against based on lies. Andrew, well, Andrew is just odd:

Evolution is the theory that it's OK to eat evolutionists. Atheism is the theory that it's okay to eat atheists.

???

There are religious conservative posters that come here that earn and deserve respect and tolerance. What'sWrongWiththeWorld is a good example, Livn4Life is another. There are religious liberals too (yes, conservative, liberals can be Christians too). I have no problem pointing out bizarre, hateful or hypocritical behavior on this website, from liberals or conservatives. If they don't correct themselves, well, making fun of them is all that's left.

October 9, 2012 at 4:19 p.m.
atomteori said...

Look, I'm a Christian, a social liberal, a fiscal conservative, and an enthusiastic hunter with a sportsmans's license who doesn't want the kid next door playing with a 50-cal. I don't believe that God created the world just so he could hang out in a garden with a couple of naked vegetarians and a talking snake (which Genesis does NOT say was the Devil...read it some time). Very few of my Christian brother and sisters share my beliefs, but I still express them openly and we still love each other and hold each other up when times get tough. I'm a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, and I follow his example by rejecting a lot of silly ancient Jewish beliefs. What I'm trying to say is this: don't believe everything that the minority of loud-mouth Christian idiots say about the rest of us. We're not all cut from the same cloth. We have minds, we use them, and most of us are smart enough to form our own opinions. As for the rest, well, give them time. They'll either come around or they won't, and soon enough we'll KNOW. Life is too short to go around worrying about what other people believe.

October 9, 2012 at 10:51 p.m.
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