August 2, 2005

Bush, ID, and Republican scientists

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at August 2, 2005 3:58 PM

There's a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the Bush's statement that Intelligent Design should be taught in schools. Now, naturally I agree with the many commenters who have remarked that ID is not a scientific theory, and teaching it will only degrade the state of US science education.

On the other hand, my reaction is less outrage than a sigh of resignation. What, Bush rejected science in favor of an ideological and religious position? The same Bush who opposes stem-cell research, promotes abstinence-only sex education, ignores climate change, and suppresses inconvenient scientific findings by government agencies? We knew we were getting this back in November when Bush won the election. Certainly anyone who voted for Bush should have been prepared to accept this kind of dumbassery as a consequence. And didn't Bush say that "the jury is still out" on evolution back in, like, 2000?

Of course, we should vigorously oppose attempts to insert ID into actual curricula, but the mere fact that Bush supports it doesn't exactly seem new.

Matt Yglesias points out that Bush's view is very widespread among the American public. Some of you may recall a poll result that I blogged last November showing 45% support for young Earth creationism.

Meanwhile, Brad DeLong remarks,

I believe I can now safely say without fear of contradiction that any scientist or academic (outside of fundamentalist seminaries, of course) who is a Republican is in serious need of help: professional help.

I think this is overstating things. I know a number of Republican scientists (in Berkeley, even!) and they are sane and intelligent people—they just vote based on factors other than science and education policy. Specifically, many of them are quite vocally anti-tax, anti-union, etc. and seem to vote predominantly on economic issues. I certainly don't agree with their economic views, but I can't blame them for prioritizing those issues over scientific ones.

I'm appalled by Republican science policy, but if the Republicans were a lot better on other issues and the Democrats a lot worse, I could concievably be convinced to vote Republican anyway. But science policy isn't the only problem—in fact it's a nice synecdoche for the way the GOP sticks to ideology in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence on nearly every issue. This frightening disconnection from reality is a deal-breaker for me. The Republican scientists that I know, whatever they may think about science policy, disagree about whether there's a larger pattern of ignoring evidence. I think they're wrong, but I don't think they need professional help.

Tags: Academia, Creationism, Evolution, George W. Bush, Politics, Science

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Now its really going to hit the fan. President Bush, in a roundtable interview and this exchange: Q I wanted to ask you about the -- what seems to be a growing debate over evolution versus intelligent design. What are... [Read More]

Tracked on August 2, 2005 6:54 PM
Comments

Kind of the way a lot of Democrats vote not necessarily based on how the Dems interact with, say, big business, or other factors that they don't agree with.

I still think most everyone who voted for Bush needs professional help, but it's not limited to scientists.

Posted by: Mortaine | August 2, 2005 4:08 PM

A sigh (or groan) of resignation does seem like the most apt response.

This is when I hit the revolution button in Civ and turn my nation into a monarchy so I can safely invade other countries (oh wait...).

Posted by: Mason | August 2, 2005 9:29 PM
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