This is precisely why I walked away from the Republican Party, shaking my head. If they want me back, they'll have to start accepting proven scientific facts. Contrary to what they think their voters want to hear, 1+1 does equal 2.
Not that all Democrats are stellar examples of educated perfection either - who is? (Well, Christopher Hitchens probably is.) However, when I'm looking for the best and the brightest to lead our country, it seems axiomatic that the Republican Party is the antithesis of bright, squatting in willful uneducated ignorance. I may have over-stated that, since it's also quite possible there are some republican candidates who are merely pandering to their voters in an attempt to get votes. Which means they're not all that stupid, but inescapably immoral.
Fact: Evolution is an easily observed, highly accurate, never disproven, scientific fact that has been tried 8 million ways to Sunday to be disproven, only to be made yet stronger for it. It can and has been tested, poked and prodded from every angle only to come out the other end unscathed, and further vindicated.
Fact: There is no scientifically accredited organization in the US, or world, that does not confirm the fact global warming is proven beyond any shadow of doubt, and that it is demonstrably driven by anthropogenic causes (humans). Further, if you would like to know how countries "trade" greenhouse gas emission offsets, you simply need to look no further than the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States is a signing member of.
Candidate Lunatic, Rick Perry, believes global warming is a hoax, and that evolution is a "theory that's out there, but has gaps". I wonder where he thinks all these new and interesting breeds of dogs, cows, horses, and other animals come from, that we keep selectively breeding through evolution by human selected traits. Has he ever read a book on it, or does he feel comfortable teaching the world that 1+1=3?
Candidate Crazy, Michele Bachmann, believes global warming is not just a hoax, but directed by an evil secret society of deranged and corrupt wizards. She also believes evolution is false, and proudly taunts her ignorance about it, perpetuating an uneducated America.
Bachmann said, "What I support is putting all science on the table and then letting students decide. I don't think it's a good idea for government to come down on one side of scientific issue or another, when there is reasonable doubt on both sides."
Michele, muffin, you don't let students decide between 1+1=2 or 1+1=3, you explain to them how 1+1 does equal 2. You don't tell students that they are free to believe the earth is flat, but it might also be round and then tell them to decide. You explain to them that it is in fact an oblate spheroid! Likewise, you don't tell students that a magic invisible unproven sky daddy snapped his fingers causing life to come into existence in its present form, you explain to them the fact of the evolution of species, the proven change over time through natural selection (among others, like genetic drift, etc.) I don't care if the observable facts discredit your dark age superstitions, it does not give you the right to keep the rest of the world in the dark ages with you. Argumentum ad Consequentiam!
Candidate Misguided, Herman Cain, thinks global warming is a hoax, because we've "been going through up and down temperature fluctuations forever". I have no idea what his thoughts on evolution are, but I can take a guess - and would it matter? He clearly has made no attempts to educate himself, and therefore has no intentions of helping to further a bright future for America.
Candidate Hateful, Rick Santorum, can't wait to re-enact 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', because homosexuality is a sin. I have no doubt, were African Americans still enslaved, he would have been the voice of opposition to their freedom.
Candidate Panderer, Jon Huntsman, was the single voice of somewhat rational sanity among the candidates, however, he suddenly changed his tune about global warming after being attacked by his constituents and the voter demographic he was initially targeting. Now, having already alienated his science denier fan base, he's trying to win them back, by alienating pro-education/science voters. I'd say he went the wrong direction.
I have to stop there, because my underwear is gathering up into a wad. Every single one of the republican candidates are woefully ignorant of science, and promoters of an uneducated and hateful America.
The problem here is that we've got politicians who are one or more of the following;
1.) Completely uninterested in facts, or learning anything outside of their "beliefs".
2.) Immoral and corrupt, pandering to their voters.
3.) Have no ability to say the words "I don't know."
I can live with, in fact thrilled, when someone says "I don't know." It's a sign that you're willing to go find out, that you are willing to listen to all sides of an issue, gather evidence and data, and regardless of preconceived notions, take a stand that is backed by the power of actually knowing what you're talking about.
I took part in a small, science minded, social meet-up this week, with others I've never met before, where we discussed the importance of the moon in relation to earth, and more interestingly, the illusion of a fine-tuned, or intelligently designed universe (which I can talk about, in opposition of, for hours on end). At some point one of the intelligent members was talking about how there's an apparent correlation to those who are religious, and those who deny evolution and global warming. It does strike me as a noodle boggling truth. Why is it that the same folks who understandably dislike evolution, and therefore deny it's validity, since it slams the door on Genesis, also happen to dislike global warming, and therefore deny it's validity? Why is the republican party dominated by people who share these particular science denying views? There is no conflict between religion and global warming. So what's the deal here? You might immediately think that they simply deny all science across the board. Aha - but that's no so. If a purported scientist were to come up with "scientific evidence" that directly refutes either evolution or global warming, they would jump all over it, and tout it around like a victory banner, making sure we all smelled it.
Shawn Otto, a brilliant scholar, has much to say on the reasons and motivations behind this republican assault on science and education, in his book Fool Me Twice. Mr. Otto believes the answer lies in vested interest. He provides great support for this argument, which basically says that those with power, when presented with an opposing fact or evidence, will do everything in their power to keep hold of it. This vested interest paradigm perpetuates a blind ignorance among followers, who cheer and affirm whatever words slip out of their mouths. The attitude stemmed from post WWII trends towards postmodernism and epistemic relativism. Who, then, are these relativistic and theistic absolutists that are so afraid of vested interests? The church and the Republican Party (and their well funded materialistic corporate backers). Avarice loves relativity loves inculcation loves oppression.
"There is objective truth to be learned by observation, and the knowledge gained gives power that other 'ways of knowing' have not. But the more dangerous problem with postmodernist thinking is its a priori nature. Not truth, but a political goal has to be served - in this particular case the goal of openness, or tolerance without judgment. But without acknowledging objective truth, all arguments become rhetorical and therefore can go on forever - and we are either paralyzed by it or we must resort to authorty instead of objectivity to make decisions, which collapses us all the way back to Thomas Hobbes's war of every man against every man: predemocracy, pre-Enlightenment." How can you argue with that little nugget of insightful wisdom? Sadly, no doubt, this insight will swish, post-haste, right over the heads of the current republican candidates.
On top of all their denial of science, this "values" party has some of the worst values for your money. For example, the Republican party seems to believe that the border with Mexico needs to have a gigantic wall erected to keep those pesky, dirty, hard-working Mexicans out of our country. Worse still, they want a massive army sent there to defend it! Do they not realize that Mexico is an ally to the United States? Do they not realize we are not at war with Mexico? Why just the Mexico border, and not the Canadian border? Is it, perhaps, becase Canadians have whiter skin? I once asked someone, who strongly believed we need to build a wall and police the border, if Mexico joined the Union and became part of the United States, would they be for it? They answered yes. So, the question becomes, why then are you for policing the border? Immigration and naturalization policy is what needs fixed - not creating division and perpetuating barbaric hate.
Do they not realize that the United States demanded that the Berlin Wall be torn down, because it separated people? 'Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!' - Ronald Reagan. And the american populace was awash with heartfelt joy when it eventually did come down, 29 months later. If you were not yet born to witness the tearing down of this wall, or have never seen the footage, I encourage you to do so. Please, do not vote for candidates who seek to sink us into what we once so abhored - a country that seeks to divide people.
Education ends wars before they start. Education build friendships, partnerships, cooperation, progress, ingenuity, enterprise, and most of all education eradicates hate, and destroys barriers between people and nations. Technology, which brought us germ theory, medical advances, mobile phone, computers, the internet, microwaves, airplanes, space shuttles (well not in the US currently), and all of the electronic equipment used to display light shows during music performances, among the innumerable other conveniences we all take for granted, all arise from and are explained by science, math, and language. If you're in search of ways in which we can further progress our great nation (and hopefully the rest of world with us), it is through education that we will prevail. I am certain we can find better persons to represent 6 million diverse citizens, than the club weilding tribalistic hominids currently on display.
The Un-American War on Science (Huffington Post Article)