The Republican Party is overtly anti-science. The current group of candidates for President of the United States is comprised of people who reject reason and evidence in favor of detrimental myths and superstition. Our Founding Fathers deliberately made the United States a secular nation—something that was unprecedented at the time—and yet today’s Republicans pander to the lowest common denominator of our society, rather than trying to appeal to the best of what we have to offer. While both Republicans and Democrats have members who are anti-science, it is Republicans who are the most vocal about it, and who make a point of courting those who feel threatened by science. The Republican Party, if it had its way, would drag us swiftly back into the Dark Ages.
A 2014 Pew survey showed that there is a very strong correlation between religiosity and a lack of education. Numerous other studies support the fact that those who are highly educated tend to be less religious than people who are not. In fact, current Republican candidate Rick Santorum complained in 2012 that Christians were becoming less religious due to education.
In 2001, then-Senator Santorum tried (and failed) to attach the “Santorum Amendment” to the No Child Left Behind Act. The proposed amendment would have advocated the teaching of “Intelligent Design” as well as telling children that evolution is controversial. Several state Republican party platforms explicitly reject the science behind evolution. This anti-science agenda would only cause our country’s education to regress even further. The simple fact is that the Bible is not a scientific reference tool, and our Constitution says that it must be kept out of all public (taxpayer-funded) schools, except in history classes.
Ben Carson trails only Donald Trump (a man who thinks that vaccines cause autism and that climate change is a Chinese hoax) among the Republican presidential candidates, according to recent polls. Carson is a man who is truly scary—he was a brilliant neurosurgeon, as I’ve already mentioned on this blog. Unfortunately, he is also delusional—he believes that the Biblical tale of Noah’s flood is a true story. Despite the voluminous evidence that all points to the fact that Earth is roughly 4.55 billion years old, Ben Carson thinks that our planet was created in just six days. He also calls climate change “irrelevant” while denying the fact that climate change exists. Someone whose judgment is so flawed that it renders him unable to separate fact from fiction cannot be rationally considered as a possibility to occupy the Oval Office. As Christopher Hitchens said (about Jerry Falwell, but it applies perfectly here), “People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup.”
Among his other absurd beliefs, Carson also thinks that the theory of evolution is the work of Satan, and that the Big Bang is a “fairy tale”. Dr. Lawrence Krauss recently wrote a great rebuttal to many of these profoundly dishonest statements.
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.
Even though there is actually no controversy at all about the age of the Earth, Republican politicians seem to be actually take pride in their ignorance—for example, Jeb Bush recently told a Pennsylvania crowd, “When I am elected president, the political hacks and the academics are going to take the back seat. The people making decisions will be ones with real-world experience.”
Mike Huckabee (as I’ve discussed, also a climate change denier) thinks that he should be President, despite his seditious promises to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples can be legally married. Huckabee is a man so far removed from reality that he openly supports bigotry, all because he thinks that homosexuality is a sin.
The anti-science agenda isn’t confined to the candidates for President, however. Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe (who thinks snow disproves climate change) reacted to Pope Francis’ speech to Congress by making the outrageous claim that Francis wasn’t talking about climate change at all. Despite the fact that Inhofe is obviously a crazy person with (at best) a tenuous grip on reality, the Senate decided to reward his demonstrably untrue beliefs by making him the head of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. Amazingly, a man who wrote a book called The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future is the head of the Committee on the Environment. Inhofe has said that climate change can’t be real, because it doesn’t agree with what the Bible says:
[T]he Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.’ My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous.
Georgia Rep. Paul Broun was on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology until January 2015, when he lost his reelection bid. He received a “standing ovation” from his Republican colleagues after he denounced climate change as a “hoax” in 2009. As they did with Inhofe, the Republicans appointed a vocal science denier to a committee about science. Among other things, Broun has said that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of Hell”—and yet, as usual, the GOP rewarded someone for his/her insane, anti-reality beliefs. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was another inexplicable appointment to the same committee, considering the fact that he also denies climate change and once asked:
Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases? … Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?
Republicans often love to claim that they are patriotic. But their record shows the opposite to be true. While they wave their flags and loudly proclaim their love for America, what they really do is try to fundamentally cripple our society, our education system, and the whole planet’s environment. Nothing could be more anti-American than hurting our future by attempting to ensure that future generations are poorly educated and ill-equipped to compete with the rest of the world.