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Posts Tagged ‘Republicans and Science

Newt’s Fall from Science.

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If you don’t read Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones, you should. Or at least follow here on twitter. She’s very good at her job. So, that’s a plug for Ms. Sheppard.

In Mother Jones today, Sheppard hits on a favorite topic of TRC. The piece is called The Other Love Newt Spurned: Science, and it details in brief his history as a pro-science, pro-environment, pro-space travel, pro-cap-and-trade Republican. Frankly, Newt has always been a science guy. So what happened?

But that was then. Now, Gingrich is much less enthusiastic about science and the environment. And the explanation seems is fairly simple: Gingrich-the-professor likes grandiose ideas like earth-orbiting climate monitors, space honeymoons, a $40 billion investment in laptops for poor people, or bringing back the dinosaurs. But Gingrich-the-presidential hopeful is campaigning in an age where not just denying climate change but actively disdaining scientific research is the standard in the Republican Party.

Gingrich somehow still inhabits the role of Ideas Man for many in the Republican Party. But the Ideas Man is gone. All that is left is a politician running away from his past to help him run for president. Hopefully after he loses this race he will go back to adding value to the GOP by thinking big and looking forward.

Example: If I didn’t know better, this website that Sheppard highlights, and is paid for by Romney’s friends, would give a liberal like me a reason to like Gingrich. Instead, its only point is to mock the man who once challenged the status quo of his party.

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Written by Christopher ZF

January 25, 2012 at 09:41

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. 

Written by Christopher ZF

January 10, 2012 at 13:48