The GOP War On Science

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?

About edfactor

  • edfactor

    …the Democrats have their problems around science also.


    * Reject the International HapMap project to map differences among races to tailor medicines

    * Reject any neuroscience showing any differences in the brains of men and women

    * Reject any statistical analysis of student achievement by race, no matter how carefully done

    * Scare people with anti-scientific claims about GMOs, RBST (Bovine Hormones) and other food-related things such as saying organic food is healthier when studies continue to deny this

    * One of the most powerful constituencies in the party (trial lawyers) is dedicated to false scientific claims about things like the dangers of breast implants, autism from thermisol, and much more.

    * They also take the more speculative claims about climate change – especially the predictive models – and make scientific claims about them that are not science.

    There are other little things, but the pattern of rejecting knowledge that goes against beliefs you hold is the same.

    But surely, it is we, and not they, who have the image problem here.

  • It’s easy enough to reconcile a 4 Billion year old Earth with a 6,000 year old Earth: just say that God created a 4 Billion year old Earth in a 14 Billion year old universe about 6,000 years ago. The Bible doesn’t have God sitting around waiting for the trees to grow in the Garden of Eden before creating Man, or waiting for Adam and Eve to grow up from babies before making the animals, the Bible says God created them fully grown adults. So the Earth wouldn’t seem to be 6,000 years to us if the trees didn’t seem one day old to Adam.

    And at least Todd Akin wasn’t saying that life starts at fertilization, which is not a scientific or legal fact and which leads to drastically worse outcomes than saying that women have ways to shut down an impending pregnancy in bad situations before the life begins, and it is OK for them to do so, which is true and none of your business how they do it.

    I agree with you on climate change denial and intelligent design, but those beliefs seem to have come from people with secret agendas I think, they aren’t biblical or conservative beliefs, they are free market libertarian inventions.

    And yes I would include the bans on using embryos for science as being anti-science, they are at least as relevant.

    I agree we can be both pro-science and pro-religion. I think pushing for an Egg and Sperm law that bans creating people by any means other than joining a man and a woman’s natural unmodified gametes but doesn’t ban research or make extreme claims about when Personhood and rights begin is a great way to give scientists a clear limit going forward. We don’t have to embrace Transhumanism and genetic engineering of children to not be anti-science.

  • edfactor

    Mr. Howard –

    That is the strangest explanation of a “young earth” I have ever heard. Of course, the science shows a continuous expansion of the universe and there are many ways we know that. If you want to say, “Well, God arranged it this way or that in order to fool us….” If you want to go there, than I suppose anything is possible. But that isn’t science at all. It’s just conjecture.

    As for resistance to climate change, I think it is major corporations who rightly fear the consequences for them if government acted on this knowledge, combined with a legitimate fear among Republicans that this is the latest excuse of the same old environmental crowd who wants us, as a species, to return to our caves and huts in order to save the planet.

    Intelligent design was an odd innovation to make creationism more palatable to a more skeptical public. It didn’t work as everyone knew what was being attempted. (Even evangelicals didn’t like reducing God to being just a designer.) But for several years, it became a way for politicians to pander to evangelicals, but appear to be for something that appeared scientific. However, the clever argumentation techniques of the nutjobs at the Discovery Institute were amazingly effective (create the controversy, and then the battle call, “Teach the controversy!”) and they caught the science education community by surprise. They found they couldn’t win what they thought was an easy debate and were wiser for it. However, their short-term losses there made them more prepared for those who would resist the science of climatology.

    As for your usual obsession with conception – I think that is primarily a matter of morality or ethics, and not science, though increasingly powerful reproductive science techniques will create a crazy new world that we are not prepared for. At that time, maybe 5 years from now, you will finally be talking about something people are really concerned about. 😉

  • Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno

    Rubio is not Catholic. He is evangelical.


    On climate change.  The earth has not appreciably warmed for 20 years.  IN this hyper sensitive on-demand world we live in, we over anyalyze small changes in natural systems.  I’m all for conservation, increasing fuel economy to drive down foreign oil dependence, heck I use the same plastic cup for my coffee every day at the convenience store, don’t use bags when I can, etc.  These are just choices that I make.  

    But the climate scientists lose me with their sky is falling mentality. If their funding drys up I think they’d admit that man is not destroying the planets climate.  

    On evolution etc, I’m with you.

  • Republican Ram Rod Radio

    There is one truth to global warming that hasn’t changed since the hell and high water predictions started coming out 20 years ago.  I call it the “Charley on the MTA Rule”  It goes like this . . .

    99.9999999% of the people on this planet have no Fucking clue what they are talking about when it comes to Globo Warming.  This includes bloggers like Charley on the MTA and middle aged moms who happen to teach Science in the public fool system.

    At the end of the day it just comes down to the fact that people in general always want to tell another people what to do and how to live.  Nothing more nothing less.        

  • was nothing more than a question to see if he was a YEC believer.  I actually have no problem with what Rubio said and I’m a freakin’ non-theist.

    GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

    Marco Rubio
    : 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 growI’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.

    The Earth’s been warming since the end of the Little Ice Age…..before Man and his big bad ole SUVs.  PDO, NAO, AO, AMO…hell, there are natural oceanic oscillations we don’t even know about yet.

    ……but one thing’s for sure…..the “science” on big bad ole man-made global warming does not exist.  “Science” is the specific notion of hypothesizing, testing, observing and concluding….thus far, man made GW hasn’t made it out of the hypothesizing stage….more importantly, it has FAILED to produce ONE predicted result.

    For 25 years, I’ve listened to doom and gloom that’s going to hit “25 years from now”…’s now 25 years later and it never has….hell, some predict “10 years from now”

    Some hypothesis…

  • Rubio didnt bring this up. Rubio didnt even want to discuss this. Rubio basically gave a ‘no commnet’. Rubio gave an evasive answer to a stupid question that has nothing to do with anything except ridiculing people of faith.

  • Ed said my response was “weird”  so I wanted to show other people make the same argument about God creating an old Universe.

  • geo999

    You have bought into one of the dumbest, most mendacious memes of the kook left.

  • Vote3rdpartynow

    I was watching a wonderful argument recently regarding the age of the universe and how it reconciles with the ‘Genesis’ creation of the Old Testament.  The argument is basically this:

    According to Einstein, time is relative and actually slows as the object measuring time moves closer to the speed of light.  We have all heard the anecdotal argument of newborn twins separated, with one living on earth and the other placed in a spaceship moving at the speed of light.  30 years later the spaceship returns and the twin on board has barely aged, while the other is now obviously 30 years old.  This argument of Einstein’s is considered exact science.  

    Take that principle of slow, or varying time and apply it to the birth of the universe with massive amounts of ‘stuff’ blasting from the big-bang through the universe at speeds approaching, or even exceeding the speed of light.  To us on Earth the measure of time has been billions of years, while the measure of time relative to the moving ‘stuff’ has been days.  

    The Old Testament – specifically the first 5 books was writtten by Moses and divinely inspired by God.  If the scientific theory explained above is true, and it seems to be, then God would be measuring time relative to the ‘slow time’ of universal creation and the matter of the universe moving at speeds close to the speed of light.  In other words, only 6 days passed in the creation of the universe ‘relative’ to the moving matter described in Genesis and the big-bang theory.  

    So Ed, we can sit here and say that our religious beliefs don’t jive with out scientific beliefs and therefore one is wrong and the other right.  (and we as Republicans have chosen the wrong) But that would be wrong as Einstein’s theory, when applied using the logic I just layed out are actually quite consistent.  

    This theory is known as ‘Time Dilation’ and is argued in many forums, one of which is here. But a better video explanation is below:

    As for the argument of global warming, well when someone comes forward with the integrity of God and makes the argument I will listen.  So far, only name-callers, proven liars and hypocrits seem to make the argument….