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Aug-31-2011 15:59printcomments

Is the GOP the Anti-Science Party?

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

Cartoon by Tony Auth
Cartoon by Tony Auth

(SAN FRANCISCO) - 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 the Tea 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 propelled 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 global 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 percent 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 ignorant 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 this 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.

____________________________

Salem-News.com writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer's talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many Salem-News.com writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address stonere@earthlink.net


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Ralph E. Stone September 9, 2011 10:21 am (Pacific time)

The amount of ignorance about global warming is disheartening. For years, the global warming deniers have engaged in an effective disinformation campaign that undermines efforts to pass a clean energy bill that might curb our addiction to resulting in cleaner air, more renewable energy, a stronger dollar, and more innovative industries. Clearly, from the comments about my article, the disinformation campaign has had its effect on public opinion. Before anyone utters another comment, please do your homework. I suggest you start at It has long been known that humans impact our atmosphere severely and our unrelenting production of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) increase the effects of the naturally occurring "greenhouse effect" that keeps our planet habitable. The more CO2 we pump into our atmosphere, the warmer the atmosphere gets. This is a scientific fact based on decades of scientific study. The main cause of the increase in global average temperatures in recent history is not because of any natural cycle -- although natural cycles do exist -- it is because of man.


Hank Ruark September 9, 2011 10:13 am (Pacific time)

Ralph et al: Thank you for that rational, resolute and resounding answer ti Kevin, re the residual still left about global warming. Have encountered him in another thread where he made no bones about using distorted anti-biggovt. link known to be biased and covering every part of that domain as well as warming. It takes all types here but as writer I resent those trying to promote their side via what they know to be "wrong stuff" and not open, honest, small-d democratic dialog.


MarDivPhoto September 6, 2011 10:32 am (Pacific time)

It's nice to throw out statements like "95%" of experts accept AGW, but that's simply rhetoric. Even the former head of the UK group on change admitted publicly that the hypothesis was not accepted by all scientists, and he wasn't referring to some tiny minority of "deniers". There may well be slight warming going on, although the flak about which temperature measurements, sorted what way, support that is still considerable. However, that human generated CO2 is the cause is purely a theory, and the computer models "confirming" it hinge on a mechanism whereby tiny CO2 changes cause major global humidity change; a mechanism that's purely theoretical with not an ounce of supporting data. BTW, I happen to have two degrees in hard science, and consider data on only the merits of those data and how they were generated. There's more than enough room to hold off any strong belief in AGW.


Kevin September 2, 2011 6:55 pm (Pacific time)


Referring to a publication from 70 years ago is very interesting, thanks for sharing. The below comments I made was a rough paraphrasing of several former professors from courses like Physical Anthropology, Geology, Physical Geography, etc. All of the above courses were 9 to 12 unit upper division sequences.

Alas, I was but a student doing what I needed to do to get into Grad school. I have found that when it comes to belief systems and speculative scientific theories, everything is pretty much a wash as far who is correct. To say Intelligent Design has been proven wrong is just like saying Darwin was wrong, or correct, though as more of the fossil record continues to unfold, it may not be favorable to Darwin if the trend continues. As far as the GOP (I myself am a registered Independent), the Professors I had who refuted Darwin were and are union card carrying democrats. Since Global Warming was an issue in this above article, here is a recent newswire story that may prove interesting to those still on the fence (You know it was a lot hotter 2,000 years ago than it is now as per using agricultural crop science comparisons. Even with many of our different hybrids, we could not commercially grow certain crops now as back then, it's too cold now): "Journal editor resigns over 'problematic' climate paper. The editor of a science journal has resigned after admitting that a recent paper casting doubt on man-made climate change should not have been published.

The paper, by US scientists Roy Spencer and William Braswell, claimed that computer models of climate inflated projections of temperature increase.The paper became a cause celebre in "sceptical" circles through its claim that mainstream climate models inflated temperature projections through misunderstanding the role of clouds in the climate system and the rate at which the Earth radiated heat into space.This meant, it said, that projections of temperature rise made in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports were too high." GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14768574

RES: I recommend Nova’s “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial” (2007), a documentary about the 2005 federal district court case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, where the court ordered the school district to refrain from maintaining an Intelligent Design Policy whereby intelligent design had to be offered as an alternative to evolution.  The court stated, "Intelligent design is not science and cannot be adjudged a valid, accepted scientific theory as it has failed to publish in peer-reviewed journals, engage in research and testing, and gain acceptance in the scientific community."  

Is there a scientific consensus on global warming? In the scientific field of climate studies, which includes many disciplines, a consensus can be demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change. So a consensus in science is different from a political one. There is no vote. Scientists just give up arguing because the sheer weight of consistent evidence is too compelling, the tide too strong to swim against any longer. “...the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.” In other words, more than 95 to 98 percent of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly caused by human activities.   The debate now should be on what to do about global warming.

 

 


Kevin September 2, 2011 9:29 am (Pacific time)

I'm just your average farmer/rancher, but my background in science (agricultural science) allows me to look at all sides before I jump to any conclusions. Darwin's theory was that a process of random mutation, sex and death, allowing the "fittest" to survive and reproduce, and the less fit to die without reproducing, would, over the course of billions of years, produce millions of species out of inert, primordial goo. 

The vast majority of mutations are deleterious to the organism, so if the mutations were really random, then for every mutation that was desirable, there ought to be a staggering number that are undesirable. Otherwise, the mutations aren't random, they are deliberate -- and then you get into all the hocus-pocus about "intelligent design" and will probably start speaking in tongues and going to NASCAR races.

We also ought to find a colossal number of transitional organisms in the fossil record -- for example, a squirrel on its way to becoming a bat, or a bear becoming a whale. (Those are actual Darwinian claims.)

But that's not what the fossil record shows. We don't have fossils for any intermediate creatures in the process of evolving into something better. This is why the late Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard referred to the absence of transitional fossils as the "trade secret" of paleontology. (Lots of real scientific theories have "secrets.")

If you get your news from the American news media, it will come as a surprise to learn that when Darwin first published "On the Origin of Species" in 1859, his most virulent opponents were not fundamentalist Christians, but paleontologists. Unlike high school biology teachers lying to your children about evolution, Darwin was at least aware of what the fossil record ought to show if his theory were correct. He said there should be "interminable varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps."

But far from showing gradual change with a species slowly developing novel characteristics and eventually becoming another species, as Darwin hypothesized, the fossil record showed vast numbers of new species suddenly appearing out of nowhere, remaining largely unchanged for millions of years, and then disappearing.

Darwin's response was to say: Start looking! He blamed a fossil record that contradicted his theory on the "extreme imperfection of the geological record." One hundred and fifty years later, that record is a lot more complete. We now have fossils for about a quarter of a million species.

But things have only gotten worse for Darwin. Thirty years ago (before it was illegal to question Darwinism), Dr. David Raup, a geologist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, said that despite the vast expansion of the fossil record: "The situation hasn't changed much." To the contrary, fossil discoveries since Darwin's time have forced paleontologists to take back evidence of evolution. "Some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record," Raup said, "such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information."

The scant fossil record in Darwin's time had simply been arranged to show a Darwinian progression, but as more fossils were discovered, the true sequence turned out not to be Darwinian at all.

And yet, more than a century later, Darwin's groupies haven't evolved a better argument for the lack of fossil evidence. To explain away the explosion of plants and animals during the Cambrian Period more than 500 million years ago, Darwiniacs asserted -- without evidence -- that there must have been soft-bodied creatures evolving like mad before then, but left no fossil record because of their squishy little microscopic bodies. Then in 1984, "the dog ate our fossils" excuse collapsed, too. In a discovery The New York Times called "among the most spectacular in this century," Chinese
paleontologists discovered fossils just preceding the Cambrian era. Despite being soft-bodied microscopic creatures -- precisely the sort of animal the evolution cult claimed wouldn't fossilize and therefore deprived them of crucial evidence -- it turned out fossilization was not merely possible in the pre-Cambrian era, but positively ideal.

And yet the only thing paleontologists found there were a few worms. For 3 billion years, nothing but bacteria and worms, and then suddenly nearly all the phyla of animal life appeared within a narrow band of five million to 10 million years. Even the eye simply materializes, fully formed, in the pre-Cambrian fossil record.

Jan Bergstrom, a paleontologist who examined the Chinese fossils, said the Cambrian Period was not "evolution," it was "a revolution." So the Darwiniacs pretended they missed the newspaper that day. Intelligent design scientists look at the evidence and develop their theories; Darwinists start with a theory and then rearrange the evidence. These aren't scientists. They are religious fanatics for whom evolution must be true so that they can explain to themselves why they are here, without God. (It's an accident!)

 

RES: I would only mention G.G. Simpson, perhaps the most influential paleontologist of the 20th century his major synthetic work Tempo and Mode in Evolution published in the 1940's.   Unfortunately, there is a tendency of geneticists and paleontologists to dismiss each others work.  The succession of life in the geologic strata is not inconsistent with Darwin's theory of evolution, although the fossil record did not offer the minutely-graded transitional forms his theory predicted.  G.G. Simpson's work marked a sea change in which natural selection and the fossil record were married together. And indeed, natural selection was successfully revived as the primary mechanism of evolution in all areas of biology.  I assume the Darwinians and the paleontologists will continue to joust, but certainly creationism and intelligent design have been totally discredited as scientific thought, but not apparently in parts of the GOP.

I must add that the misconception that one always has to choose between science and religion is incorrect.  Of course, some religious beliefs explicitly contradict science (e.g., the belief that the world and all life on it was created in six literal days); however, most religious groups have no conflict with the theory of evolution or other scientific findings. In fact, many religious people, including theologians, feel that a deeper understanding of nature actually enriches their faith. Moreover, in the scientific community there are thousands of scientists who are devoutly religious and also accept evolution.


ML September 1, 2011 6:05 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Stone you wrote: "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." So who has been in charged of public education for 50 plus years? Considering that over 90% of the taxpayers education dollar goes to union teacher salary and pensions, maybe it's time to re-prioitize the educational process? We sure have been on a downward trend as the unions have increased their influence, and these people are not GOP or found in Tea Party events. Just saying.


Anonymous September 1, 2011 4:16 pm (Pacific time)

Both sides are wrong, and Ralph, for you to put Ron Paul in the same friggin planet as rick/palin/bachman and etc, shows your complete and total ignorance. Until you realize, all the presidents (excluding JFK), are banker/globalist/elite puppets, you will continue to be ignorant....The evidence is all there if you take your head out of your "democrat or republican hoax" joke for just a short time. Obama is bush on steroids and you know it. Clinton repealed the glass steagle act "FOR THE BANKERS", bush allowed the bankers major fraud. And obama is doing the same thing..Its so friggin obvious my own children can see it. The evidence is overwhelming if you just look for it. Who is obama's czars and cabinet? goldman sachs, monsanto etc. Give me a break. The left/right paragigme is a hoax, made by the bankers. Its in their books for goodness sakes. Use the republicans to fight the wars to build their world empire, and use the democrats for social programs making people dependent, and easily controlled. ALL PLANNED!! Anyone who still believes the left is any different than the right needs their head examined.


Anonymous August 31, 2011 9:33 pm (Pacific time)

But you would take Obama the Lenon-Marxist who will do anything to gain power over the people and spit on the constitution. A President who hates America, who is anti-Israel, who hates our troops and has no respect for the American people and is totally out of touch with the people. Well, I'd rather go with anyone from the GOP, at least this Country has a chance to survive.

Editor: You sound like a person who really knows very little, Obama is not a Marxist and you have no credibility when you say such ridiculous things.  The most anti-American position anyone can take is 'pro-Israel' -  but at least we know you approve of the murder of children, the eradication of historic villages, theft of land, and a list of human rights violations so long and distinguished that it cold never truly be tallied, though God is keeping track.  You are on the wrong side and should not participate in such discussions until you know more about them.

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