Sunday, July 12, 2009

Earth to GOP, Earth to GOP ...

Being dominated by white right-wing Christianists who are opposed to stem-cell research, hostile toward family planning and needle-exchange programs that might help stem the spread of AIDS, and deliberately ignorant of modern environmental dangers, is it any wonder that the Republican’t Party no longer attracts people from the scientific community?

Summarizing the findings of an extensive new Pew Research study on science and politics, The Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen explains today (emphasis mine):
Pew surveyed more than 2,500 scientists, conducted in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which offered a pretty strong sample size. The survey found that more than half (55%) of the scientists identified themselves as Democrats, and nearly as many (52%) call themselves liberal. What’s more, “Many of the scientists surveyed mentioned in their open-ended comments that they were optimistic about the Obama administration’s likely impact on science.”

Only 9% of the scientists, meanwhile, consider themselves conservative, while fewer still (6%) identified themselves as Republicans. It’s just speculation, but the party’s hostility towards the basics of modern biology, global warming, and evidence-based reasoning may have something to do with this. Call it a hunch.
And this latest news, taken from The Huffington Post, sure isn’t going to help the party’s reputation among members of the reality-based community:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has chosen Gail Lowe, an outspoken creationist, to run the state’s Board of Education.

It was actually the less controversial choice. Cynthia Dunbar, reportedly under consideration for the post, believed government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test” and thought public education was a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.” (She home-schooled her own children.) She has also endorsed conspiracy theories suggesting President Obama is not a natural-born citizen.

Lowe, on the other hand, thinks evolution should be taught and “kids ought to be able to hold religious beliefs and still study science without any conflict.” But in 2008, she took the position that “biology textbooks which do not teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution must be rejected by the board.” She has voted against new textbooks that do not contain those “weaknesses.” She is a newspaper editor, not a teacher.
Oh, well. It may be good in the long run for the GOP (Grand Outdated Party) to fail dramatically, to finally split asunder--its crackpot Christianist side going one way, while its minority of level-headed moderates go the other. From the wreckage might be built an alternative to the Democratic Party that is more in touch with the needs of all Americans, not just those who want to live in a segregated, isolationist, and blindered nation.

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