Tuesday, November 20, 2012

But She Didn't Blind Marco Rubio With Science

    Maybe the Senator needs to meet with her. After all, as he himself admits, "I'm not a scientist, man." Well, I'm not a mathematician but I know that 2+2=4.

    Why are we getting the sense that if the story of the 2012 GOP field was birth control, the theme of 2016 will be evolution? At this point questions about the age of the earth are a real stumper:

     "Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) raised eyebrows Monday when he told GQ he couldn’t answer a question about the age of the earth because “I’m not a scientist, man.”

     "Having a top prospect for the 2016 presidential nomination say the age of the planet is “one of the great mysteries” comes at an awkward time for a party attempting to rebuild from its Nov. 6 drubbing at the hands of voters turned off by the GOP’s embrace of social conservatives. But Rubio is hardly alone among potential Republican presidential contenders. Other big names for 2016 have weighed in publicly at various times over the years to position themselves as supportive of creationism proponents."

     "To science education advocates, these public statements fall into two categories: craven political panders to the conservative base and expressions of actual doubt in basic scientific principles. Both are disconcerting, the advocates say, and whether or not a president stands up for science has a broader impact than the education battles where creationism most often comes up."

     “It’s important beyond whether somebody has a direct impact on evolution [education] because it’s an indicator of the way they look at the world and who they accept as reliable guides and authorities on subjects,” said Dr. Eric Meikle, an anthropologist and director of education at the National Center for Science Education. “It’s very important in terms of that.”

      Rubio even drew a comparison between teaching evolution in school and kids in Cuba being encouraged to turn in their parents for failing to praise Castro-though he added he's not equating "the evolution people" and Fidel Castro.

      His argument here comes down to "parental choice." If parents teach creationism at home, it's some how very wrong to teach them differently in school. So if I want to teach my kids that 2+2=5 it's wrong for the school to tell them otherwise? We have yet another example of why this whole idea of parental choice as framed by the Right is wrongheaded. It makes of parental choice a kind of categorical imperative elevated above any other concerns, a kind of universal demand. Anything is right or at least can't be criticized as wrong if it's the parent's choice.

     Rubio is far from the only GOP 2016 candidate who can't answer the age of the earth question. What's notable is that Romney actually did answer it. So the likely candidates for 2016-for now-are considerably to the Right of Romney who was considerably to the Right of McCain on many issues. Notice a trend?

     Bob Jindal says the GOP should stop being the stupid party. Yet look what he has done as Governor:

     "In 2008, Jindal signed into law the “Louisiana Science Education Act,” a law that according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Annette Sisco, “cleared the way for creationism to be taught in biology class.” That led groups like the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to boycott the state as host for national conferences."

     "Jindal created a new firestorm around the evolution issue this summer when schools with bible-based curriculums ended up on the list of institutions included in the state’s expanded voucher program. Under Jindal’s education reforms, thousands of Louisiana students can use taxpayer dollars to attend schools that, as Lance Hill, executive director of Southern Institute for Education and Research, explained to Reuters in July, “use an evangelical curriculum that teaches that humans walked the earth 6,000 years ago with dinosaurs.”

      "A biology major at Brown and a Rhodes Scholar, Jindal has endorsed the idea that local school boards should determine whether creationism or intelligent design should be taught in schools. “I don’t want any facts or theories or explanations to be withheld from [my children] because of political correctness,” Jindal said during a 2008 appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

      It's not political correcntess but science. The idea of dinsosaurs and humans on the earth at the same time is not about facts but pure fairytales. So for Jindal it's the local school board who knows all.

      Then we have "straight talker" Chris Christy not being so straight on how old the earth is:

       "The oft-mentioned 2016 contender — and self-described straight shooter — has declined open up about his thoughts on evolution. “That’s none of your business,” Christie said in May 2011 when asked where he comes down on evolution versus creationism."

        "At a town hall a week earlier, Christie said that he believed the decision to teach creationism alongside evolution should be made at the local level. A week later, Christie clarified that this position was not an endorsement of teaching creationism. “That is not to say, as it was interpreted by some that I was advocating for the teaching of creationism,” Christie said. “Folks never really have a hard time figuring out when I’m advocating for something.”

         Yes, whatever the local level wants to teach. Let them teach kids that unicorns exist and the earth revolves around the sun if that's what happens to please a local school board.

         Rand Paul too demurred to answer it.

         "Almost exactly like Rubio did this week, Paul demurred on the question of the earth’s age back in 2010. Taking questions from a meeting of the Christian Homeschool Educators of Kentucky during his Senate campaign, Paul declined to answer the question “how old is the world?”

        “I forgot to say I was only taking easy questions,” Paul said. “I’m gonna pass on the age of the earth. I think, ah, I’m just gonna have to pass on that one.”
        So we may see 2016 as the year of Creationist GOP candidates after the year of GOP candidates attacking birth control here in 2012.


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