The Relative Comment

soothing waves of relativity

an old standby: Republicans and Science

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Large swaths of the Republican Party are anti-science. I don’t think I can get around that sentiment any longer. And we’ve long since hashed this out at TRC. But today I saw a comment that just takes the cake for how far beyond the pale the GOP seems to land when it comes to fundamental, basic, scientific teaching.

It comes from, not surprisingly, Rick Santorum: “If [Jon Huntsman] wants to believe he is the descendant of a monkey then he has the right to believe that, but I disagree with him on this liberal belief.”

Read that again. Everything about it is wrong. It gets evolution wrong (it does not claim humans descended from monkeys) and it amazingly claims that evolution, the central tenet of modern biology is…A LIBERAL BELIEF. I wish it were just Santorum who pedaled such nonsense, since he is easy to cast off. But it might be a party problem.

More from today’s Telegraph:

It’s not just the candidates. Fifty-two per cent of Republican voters reject the theory of evolution, saying mankind was created in present form within the last 10,000 years; just 31 per cent think man-made climate change is happening. In Congress, Republicans fought stem cell research and the HPV vaccine. Sarah Palin, ignoramus-in-chief, mocked “fruit-fly research” as a “pet project [with] little or nothing to do with the public good,” rejecting at a stroke most advances in genetics since Gregor Mendel.

Part of the culture war strategy included attacking intellectuals: describing them as weak and spineless and effete. Academics, always liberal-inclined, responded by becoming more so: “They’re so overwhelmingly liberal now it’s kind of ridiculous, and so is the scientific community. The Democratic party is drawing the votes of people with advanced degrees, and the Republican party is not,” says Mooney. So, in turn, the Republican party reacted by becoming ever more distrustful of intellectualism, and pushing wave after wave of scientists and academics from the Right to the Left. 
“The more the Republican party rejects nuance and attacks knowledge, the more the people who have knowledge go the other way. It shows in statistics about liberalism among professors and scientists, and distribution of PhDs across the parties: there’s a giant knowledge and expertise gap.”
And to appeal to this anti-intellectual base, the Republican elite now have to pretend to be stupider than they are. 

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Written by Christopher ZF

January 10, 2012 at 13:48

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