Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ideology And Anti-science.

     I am beginning to think that high schools and colleges have discontinued the teaching of science, particularly to Congresspersons. Especially in the Republican Party, a complete lack of scientific education appears to be a requirement for membership. And it's a damned shame, because the world economy runs on scientific knowledge, and to make vital economic decisions on the basis of superstition or lack of knowledge is like driving a horse and buggy in the Indianapolis 500. Here are a few cases in point:

     A perfect example is the recent comment by Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri. “It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Rep. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
     I presume that “legitimate” rape is the situation in which the victim is physically forced to undergo unwanted sexual intercourse. I know there are many physical conditions in which the little wigglers fail to hit the target, but I do not believe that any biological study has ever discovered that fighting one's attacker is one of them. Fortunately, Mr. Akin lost the election.

      According to Scientific American Magazine, Republican Party leaders in the House of Representatives will decide which of three Congressmen, Lamar Smith of Texas, James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin or Dana Rohrabacher of California will be the Chairman of the House Science Committee. At various times each of the three candidates has accused the scientific community of lying about man-made climate change.
     In spite of the statements of the above gentlemen, and other “experts” such as Limbaugh, Hannity, et al, 95% of the scientists who devote their lives to studying climate change are in agreement that man-made change is occurring. But because their findings are not in agreement with GOP orthodoxy, their findings are dismissed.

      Florida Senator Marco Rubio was asked during a recent GQ magazine interview, “How old do you think the earth is?” I submit his reply in full:
“I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.”
     Senator Rubio, a potential Presidential candidate in 2016, may find this hard to believe, but there are few things more important than scientific discovery in keeping the world's economy going. Although he may not know in detail the findings of geology, radioactive dating, genetics, astronomy and other sciences regarding the age of the earth, (and it's neither 7 days nor 7 actual eras) he should at least know that great progress has been made in solving his “great mystery.” Theologians who decided the earth was created on October 23, 4004 B. C. at nine o'clock in the morning, Ref., missed it by 4.5B years.
     Senator Rubio's ignorance of the connection between science and the economy is not only appalling, it is scary. And apparently he is not the only one of the GOP's movers and shakers who suffers from the idea that ideology trumps science. How deep is the infection?
My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs

Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.

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