You know, I don’t think there is any Republican war on women. (Mostly because the Republican women I know don’t see it at all.)
But I do think there is a Republican war on science! And if we want to start winning the votes of educated, wealthy people – a group that went heavily for President Obama this election – then we have got to start showing respect for science. (This does not mean we have to show disrespect for religious truths – we just need to keep them separate in the world of government.)
Yes, just yesterday, even superstar Senator Marco Rubio – I am a huge fan – did his part to reinforce the anti-science Republican image by publicly doubting that we can know how old the Earth is and he establishes equivalency between what scientists say and what evangelical protestants say. WTF!!!???? (We Catholics – and that means you, too Senator, believe the world is billions of years old.)
Here is the link to the embarrassing story in the Washington Post.
Earth to Senator Rubio: (I mean that literally here)
“I am 4.5 billion years old. No geologist anywhere on my surface debates that rough estimate.”
Ed Lyons to Senator Rubio:
“You are a public official of high rank. I expect you to say something like, ‘Scientists, based on decades of conclusive, uncontested evidence, say the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old.’ Period! If you don’t actually know that the Earth is 4 billion years old, that’s disappointing, but fine. Say, ‘I don’t know the actual number. But it’s billions of years, according to scientists.'”
But, of course, the war on science doesn’t end there…..
(I assume we all remember Todd Akin’s lack of scientific knowledge of conception.)
Take climate change. Regardless of the degree of certainty (but a high degree) we have been fighting this for years – from the Bush administration forbidding climate science in EPA reports that reached the White House, to omnipresent dismissal of all climate science on Fox News and among most conservative activists. I realize Rob Eno and his ilk thinks it is a hoax, but I am confident that 80% of Massachusetts voters think it is real – and almost every person under 30 I know. Our lunacy on this hurts us badly.
But it goes on. Public questioning of evolution – Senator John McCain infamously in 2008 talking about teaching “intelligent design” in public schools. (Many Republicans question evolution – both because they are evangelicals or pander to them.)
How about a Republican Congressman on the House Science Committee recently saying that evolution and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of Hell.”. Story here. Outrageous!
Others might include the objections of President Bush and many Republicans to most stem cell science. I don’t think this is as relevant, but it certainly is part of why people believe we are anti-science. (Romney adopted the same position FYI.)
Ultimately, this is a huge image problem for us. America is blessed by incredible scientific innovation. For us to be seen as an anti-science party that panders to religious conservatives is terrible for us. We must show respect for religious belief (I have no problem if my neighbor believes the Earth is 9,000 years old) but in governing, we must go with scientific consensus.
I realize some people will say, “There goes Ed beating up Republicans again.” I don’t care. THIS CRAP IS WHY WE ARE LOSING. THIS IS PART OF WHY WE ARE STUCK WITH OBAMA FOR FOUR MORE YEARS. If you don’t want to keep losing, we must change the image of our party.
It’s time to be the pro-science and pro-religion party, which is not very hard. Is that too much to ask?