Anti-science, Religion, and the Tea Party

For NYT’s columnist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman (SLTrib 30 Aug 2011), anti-science among Tea Party Republicans is a concern:

[Rick] Perry, the governor of Texas [and Republican candidate for President], recently made headlines by dismissing evolution as “just a theory,” one that has “got some gaps in it” — an observation that will come as news to the vast majority of biologists. But what really got people’s attention was what he said about climate change: “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

Perry, who’s campaign dangerously blurs the boundaries between religion and politics, should be a major concern to all Americans.  With the increasingly rapid advances in science and technology, this country can ill afford to have a President who doesn’t get it.

Is Rick Perry Anti-science?

Politicians and religious leaders should be taking the lead in helping their constituents and members deal with the rapid acceleration in knowledge, not telling them that its fiction.  How are we as a nation going to stay at the forefront if we can’t deal with change? 

Rick Perry may be niave (who knows), but there is clear evidence that Mitt Romney is pandering.  His views on global warming seem to be evolving toward those of canididate Perry.  As governor of Massachusetts he had real concern.  Now, he thinks the world may be getting hotter, but “I don’t know that” and “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.”

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2 Responses to Anti-science, Religion, and the Tea Party

  1. dor says:

    This points up the clear and resounding difference between a politician and a servant leader. Leadership requires resisting denial and easy answers and being willing to face difficult challenges. The denial of science at this time in our human evolution is not simply irresponsible but dangerous.

    Climate change is taking its toll globally and for many populations that means food shortages and starvation. We look at Somalia but we do not see; we hear their stories of famine but we do not listen. That politicans like Perry or Romney want to simultaneously deny climate change while promoting themselves as Christian candidates is beyond sad; it is unholy.

  2. rogerdhansen says:

    In an article titled “How Science Can Lead the Way” in Time magazine (3 Oct 2011), Lisa Randall (professor of physics at Harvard and author of the book “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”:

    “Today’s politicians seem more comfortable invoking God and religion than they do presenting facts and numbers. Of course, everyone is entitled to his or her own religious beliefs. But when science and reason get shortchanged, so does America’s future. With science, we put together observations with explanatory frameworks whose predictions can be tested and ultimately agreed on. Empirically based logic and the revelatory nature of faith are very different methods for seeking answers, and only logic can be systematically improved or applied. As we head toward the next election, it’s important to keep an eye on how our political leaders view science and its advances, becuase their attitudes frequently mirror their approaches toward rational decisionmaking itself.

    When Rick Perry, who defends teaching creationism in school, says evolution is merely “a theory that’s out there, it’s got some gaps in it,” he’s demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of scientific theory. And when he chooses to pray for the end of a drought rather than critically evaluate climate science, he is displaying the danger of replacing rational approaches with religion in matters of public policy. Logic tries to resolve paradoxes, whereas much of religious influences on the world and scientific explanations for its workings are obliged to confront the chasm between tangible effects and unseen, imperceptible influences that is unbridgeable by logical thought. They have no choice but to admit the inconsistency–or simply overlook the countradiction.”

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