Monday, June 4, 2007

Just say No to Creationists!

Sam Brownback was kind enough to clarify his views on evolution here. I'm not going to bother fisking this nonsense. It has been done well here, here, and here. What I want to concentrate on is the political angle.

We all know how this works in politics. Politicians do their best to present their views in such a way as to snare the most votes. The special few derive their views that way (Mitt and Hillary, you listening?). The bottom line is, whether Brownback really believes this scientifically ignorant claptrap (I think he does), or whether he is only doing it for the votes, it occurred to me that maybe what finally needs to happen in the evolution/creation wars is that those of us who understand science start to make support of this nonsense a sure way to lose votes.

In the first place, I'd argue it should, political expediancy aside. As Josh put it here:

"This is roughly how we got to war with Iraq. We looked under a bunch of stones, found no evidence of ongoing WMD programs, concluded that any evidence which undermined the truth President Bush already knew 'should be firmly rejected,' and now our troops are stuck in the middle of a civil war. "

This point needs to be emphasized over and over and over again. The exact same epistemological deficiencies that lead goofballs like Brownback to deny evolution (presuming his stated views are sincere) are what got us ensnared in Iraq. There is no compartmentalizing the results.

Thus, as much as I hate one-issue voting, it is absolutely reasonable to eliminate from one's consideration for president ANYONE who denies evolution. They are either blatantly lying to garner the fundie vote, or they are woefully misinformed about an issue that anyone leading this country ought to understand at least well enough to know how scientifically solid it is. With science playing a bigger role than ever in the kinds of issues facing us in the near future (cloning, global warming, robotics, population problems, etc.), it is more and more imperative that the President of the United States be scientifically literate and respect science. If we have an issue worthy of making someone a one-issue voter, this is it.

So it's worth doing even only as symbolic resistence to this dangerous form of nonthinking. But on the political expediancy side, it has advantages in application and effectiveness. It's easy to remember, and painless to implement. For many of us who appreciate what the scientific outlook has brought our culture, it's hard NOT to hold it against them. Now consider that there are about 30% of us. Let's see how politicians react to knowing that denying evolution will cost them 30% of the vote. We aren't as populous as the fundies, but you don't have to be. Look at the success the gay lobby has been over the last few years. Whether you agree or disagree with what they've done, they are less numerous than we are, and their issues further removed from whitebread American values. Yet they keep winning, through organization and doggedness.

So why not? Just say No! to creationists, and any ID sympathizers. Many school boards have been successful in ridding their ranks of creationists because voters decided it was unacceptable, regardless of other issues. Why not on a national level? So sorry, Brownback, Tancredo, and Huckabee, whatever odds you had of getting my vote just dropped to zero. I may just have a lot of company.

1 comment:

Glendon Mellow said...

I completely agrees, ScienceAvenger, and well said. I also dislike one-issue voting, but sometimes the one issue goes beyond the pale. I felt the same way about gay marriage here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada a few years ago. My wife and I seldom discuss politics at home, but that was a one-issue election for us. Thankfully, more than one party supported it, and we could look to other issues. Hopefully the same will happen with your next election.
After all, the world is watching guys like Brownback. And holding breath.