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The Politicians’ War On Science

It's a war both Red and Blue.

by
Rand Simberg

Bio

November 28, 2012 - 12:00 am
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As Paula Bolyard noted the other day, the “gotcha” game by the Democratic operatives with bylines to poison Republican candidates’ chances started early, with a loaded question to Marco Rubio:

To read some of the reactions to Senator Marco Rubio’s comments on the age of the earth, you’d think that he’d proposed rounding up scientists and imprisoning them in gulags. Liberals apparently think this is a plank in the vast right-wing “anti-science” conspiracy. At the very least, a man who refuses to swear a blood oath to the current orthodoxy that the earth is 4.5 billion years old is not fit to hold any job that requires any more intellectual heft beyond knowing the proper temperature for grilling burgers.

Now, in fact, I would prefer politicians who are conversant with science and its methods to those not, but even more I prefer politicians who are conversant with basic math, economics, and human nature, and have an aversion to wrecking the nation’s economy. And if they have to occasionally salute the sensibilities of people who believe that evolution is the work of the devil, I can live with that — particularly since we have a current president who does exactly the same thing, while flooring the accelerator toward the fiscal cliff:

How do these quotes stack up? It seems to me that they’re exactly in agreement on four crucial and dismaying points:

1) Both senators refuse to give an honest answer to the question. Neither deigns to mention that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old.

2) They both go so far as to disqualify themselves from even pronouncing an opinion. I’m not a scientist, says Rubio. I don’t presume to know, says Obama.

3) That’s because they both agree that the question is a tough one, and subject to vigorous debate. I think there are multiple theories out there on how this universe was created, says Rubio. I think it’s a legitimate debate within the Christian community of which I’m a part, says Obama.

4) Finally they both profess confusion over whether the Bible should be taken literally. Maybe the “days” in Genesis were actual eras, says Rubio. They might not have been standard 24-hour days, says Obama.

In light of these concordances, to call Rubio a liar or a fool would be to call our nation’s president the same, along with every other politician who might like to occupy the Oval Office. If a reporter asks a candidate to name the age of Earth, there’s only one acceptable response: Well, you know, that’s a complicated issue … and who am I to say?

Yes, as he points out, this is a problem of politicians in general, because a significant portion of the voting public does believe in a young earth, and it’s only damaging to Republicans because only Republicans are called out for it because…Democratic operatives with bylines. But as I noted over at my blog the other day, both parties are at war with different aspects of science. Ron Bailey lays it out in detail:

After analyzing both the Democratic and Republican Party platforms, it’s evident that science is secondary to politics. Politicians of both parties manage to find science that conveniently supports the policies they already favor.

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