Sunday 7 October 2012

The Republican science-deniers


 Here is a truly remarkable speech from Republican congressman, doctor Paul Broun from Georgia. What makes his speech so remarkable is that he is actally a Republican representative on the House Science Committee. 

Here's what he said (in case the embedded video stops working):
"God's word is true. I've come to understand that all that stuff about evolution, embryology, the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It is lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a saviour.

There is a lot of scientific data that I've found out as a 'scientist' that actually shows that this is a young Earth. I don't believe that the Earth is but 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them. That's what the Bible says."
It is absolutely astonishing that the Republicans would allow a man with such brazen anti-scientific attitudes to sit on a government science committee. That such anti-scientific attitudes are so common in the United States makes me wonder how it is possible that the US became the most powerful and technologically advanced nation on Earth for most of the 20th Century. 

This isn't an isolated case of scientific illiteracy from the Republican party; just a few months previously another member of the House Science Committee, Todd Akin from Missouri made the absurd claim that "according to doctors...if it is legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down" in an attempt to defend his no-exception anti-abortion stance. Perhaps doctor Broun is the medical authority Akin used to justify his absurd claim that women's bodies could spontaneously terminate rape pregnancies?

The fact that the Republican party see fit to stuff the science committee with science-deniers shouldn't really be that surprising given their attitudes to government. The whole idea of small-state minarchism that has become so fashionable amongst Republicans is actually an absurd position for a politician to hold, unless of course their objective is to use their position in government to destroy the power of government from within. Perhaps that is their objective when they stuff the science committee with science-deniers, a desire to destroy American scientific progress.

This kind of reactionary ignorance in the corridors of power of the most powerful nation on Earth is astonishing and really rather frightening. The ramblings of the small-state science-denying Republican right seem even more insane when we consider their attitudes to the United States military.

As soon as proposed military budget cuts are announced, so-called small-state conservatives from the Tea Party begin squealing and protesting like their lives depended upon it. The cognitive dissonance to proclaim small-state minarchism with one side of your mouth whilst loudly protesting against cuts to the biggest military budget in the world (that actually dwarfs the military budgets of all the other nations on Earth combined) with the other is frankly unbelievable. 

I'm pretty sure that Republican science deniers like Broun and Akin, and the hoards of reactionary creationist fools that whoop and shout their approval have a completely different attitude to scientific progress when it is the kind of progress that allows the American military to dominate the globe. A military domination that is predominantly aimed at strategic reserving of oil supplies with a view to future extraction via invasion and occupation (Iraq sanctions and invasion, Iran sanctions and warmongering...).
When it comes to warmongering against Iraq (and now Iran), Republican politicians like Broun and Akin are always happy to join in. It is remarkable that when it comes to speeches aimed at the reactionary creationist brigade the Republican sicence deniers will deny science and geological evidence, yet when it comes to "energy security" they will openly support the deployment of highly scientific military hardware, with the objective of seizing multi-million year old fossil fuel reserves.

OK, so perhaps they could argue that the science behind high-tech US military hardware is "good science" unlike science "from the pit of hell" like embryology, evolutionary theory, astrophysics and geology, and that God simply "magicked up" the oil reserves during his busy week around 6,000 years ago. But this leaves us the question of why Christian God chose to plonk such vast and valuable oil reserves in extremely un-Christian territories such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, Libya and Kazakhstan.

People like Broun and Akin are lunatics displaying levels of cognitive dissonance that would make them completely unelectable practically anywhere else on Earth. The fact that they are elected politicians at all is shocking enough, but the fact that the Republican party see these science-denying fools as suitable representatives to sit on the House Science Committee is even worse.

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