Is the GOP the Anti-Science Party?

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday September 07, 2011 - 09:41:00 AM

Texas Governor Rick Perry, Representative Michele Bachmann, and Representative Ron Paul, three of the leading GOP presidential candidates, are unabashed Darwinian evolution and global warming deniers -- as is the Tea Party Movement. The GOP is in danger of being hi-jacked by these anti-science candidates. 

The Tea Party also opposes stem cell research and science-based regulation. 

What is Darwinian evolution? Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution set forth in his "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life," and subsequent writings, is considered the foundation of biology. But even after 152 years, his theory supported by information which has been tested again and again over time is obviously still anathema to Perry, Bachmann, Paul, and theTea Party. 

But then again, how can you argue with that eminent scientist, Glenn Beck, who said on his October 20, 2010 radio show, "I don't think we came from monkeys. I think that's ridiculous. I haven't seen a half-monkey, half-person yet." Then he remarked, "If I get to the other side and God's like, 'You know what, yep, you were a monkey once,' I'll be shocked, but I'll be cool with it." . That, of course, assumes Beck will be meeting God on the other side, not the guy below. 

Perry’s evolution denial probably propeled him into the lead in the Iowa Straw Poll. Only 35 percent of Iowa Republicans believe in evolution to 48 percent who do not. With those who do believe in it, put Perry’ in 4th place at 12 percent, placing him behind Romney’s 24 percent, Paul’s 18 percent, and Bachmann’s 15 percent. But with the evolution deniers, Perry was the overwhelming favorite at 32 percent to Bachmann’s 19 percent, Romney’s 15 percent, and Paul’s 13 percent. 

Is global warming really a hoax? Not when more than 95 percent of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly caused by human activities. But you just know that the global warming deniers will focus on the 5 percent, giving them cover to do nothing about this serious problem. Time and demonstration will eventually render clobal warming skeptics’ ideas obsolete and relegate them to the fringe. Unfortunately, we haven’t reach that point yet. in this country. 

Again the Iowa Straw Poll gave Perry and Bachmann a leg up on Iowan voters who are global warming skeptics. Only 21 percemt of GOP voters believe in global warming, while 66 percent do not. Again with the believers, Romney is in a strong first place at 31 percent to 15 percent for Paul, 13 percent for Bachmann, 11 percent for Huntsman, and only 9 percent for Perry. But with the much more numerous group of Republicans who think global warming is a hoax, Perry is the favorite at 28 percent to 20 percent for Bachmann, 16 percent for Paul, and 13 percent for Romney. 

Of course, the real test for the Republican candidates will be in the caucuses and primaries beginning in February 2012. According to a recent CNN poll, right now Perry leads by 27 percent, with Mitt Romney at 14 percent, Bachmann and Rudi Giuliani at 9 percent, and Ron Paul at 6 percent. It will probably shake out as a race between Perry and Romney.  

Romney has mostly ducked the issue of whether global warming is caused by humans, but accepts the theory of evolution. 

If Perry is ultimately the Republican candidate for president, his anti-science stance would seem to give President Obama a leg up. But Democrats should not forget the power of ingnorant people, especially in large groups.  

How are we going to keep up with the rest of the world in innovation and scientific discovery when one of our two major political parties -- the GOP -- is in danger of becoming the anti-science party. What is more troublesome is that ithis anti-science stance contributes to an anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism in our public life, resulting in a dumbing down of Americans. The ignorance of the average U.S. adult of basic scientific facts has been well documented by surveys, finding that only about 28 percent of adult Americans currently qualify as scientifically literate.  

Do we really want an anti-intellectual, anti-rational person for president? I don't.