Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Religion, Conservatism, and Facts

There are times where I wonder what planet these people are from, but then I remember they are Christian Conservatives and it all makes sense.

US Congressman Todd Akins is the Republican candidate for United States Senate from Missouri, running to unseat Claire McCaskill. Recently he got himself in trouble by saying that the female body would reject a pregnancy caused by a "legitimate" rape.

Not surprisingly, many people on both sides of the aisle reacted to such an incredibly stupid remark.  Also not surprisingly, some people felt compelled to support Rep. Akins and say that he was right.  The spokesman for the American Family Association, Bryan Fisher emphatically agreed with Rep. Akins, and Republican Rep Steve King of Iowa said he had never heard of an incest or statutory rape victim becoming pregnant.

They were both speaking in response to questions about the latest attempt by House Republicans to limit abortion.  Apparently among Republicans there is a growing movement to remove the rape and incest exemptions from most laws regulating abortion.  And part of that movement seems to believe that victims of rape or incest seldom if ever get pregnant.
In other words they are idiots.

Deliberately so.  It’s not like they morons don’t have staffs that can research their arguments to make sure they are factually based, they don’t care if they are factually based.  Remember the US Senator who went speaking on the Senate Floor claimed that 97% of Planned Parenthood’s business was abortions?  When he was confronted with facts that proved him wrong, the official statement from his office was that the Senator’s statement wasn’t intended to be factual.
These people don’t believe in facts.

It’s something that seems to have infected the entire Republican Party.
It ranges from the ridiculous stuff like Obama isn’t an American or wasn’t born in Hawaii to the silly like he Hates American or wants to punish success to simply lying about what he has said or done like the Stimulus didn’t create any jobs and President Obama wants to ban your guns.

And it extends to serious issue of policy like Tax Cuts pay for themselves, and those people who make over 250,000 are job creators, and global warming is a hoax.  All things that are simply not true.  There are some smart Republicans, who can actually read so they probably know what they are saying is not true.  And the rest are just sheep, believing anything Rush and O’Reilly say.
And I blame religion, particularly Conservative Christianity.

This is an old problem.  Galileo was imprisoned by the Catholic Church for having the audacity to claim that the earth was not the center of the universe.
More recently you have Conservative Christians that reject Evolution because the bible tells them so.  They bend themselves into rhetorical pretzels trying to claim that Creation Science is equally as valid as Natural Selection/Evolution despite the reality that the theories behind Evolution describe what we observe in the world far better than any competing theory and Creationism just pretends things like the world is only 5000 years old and man and dinosaurs were on the planet at the same time and that the first human was created 5000 years ago.  There is no evidence to support their theory, but they believe it anyway because they must.

I think of Creationism as the gateway drug to mass belligerent ignorance.
If Evolution is wrong, and all those scientists are wrong based on no evidence other than the bible, it’s no longer a challenge to just pretend that other things you don’t want to believe in aren’t true, despite the facts and data.

50 years ago, companies hired actual Physicians to advertise Cigarettes.  Then as the evidence became clear that cigarettes were both addictive and deadly, the companies launched a massive campaign to lie to the American people.  It was like the line from the some old country song, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?  They would pay some scientist to pretend that the science wasn’t settled.  They couldn’t find actually medical doctors to lie for them anymore so they hired anybody with a degree that would say want the tobacco companies wanted them to say.  Meanwhile the US Surgeon General and very medical group in the country and any scientist who wasn’t paid by the cigarette companies were all yelling at the top of their lungs that cigarettes would addictive and deadly.  Yet some, mostly conservatives, chose to ignore the real science, to ignore the people who actually studied these diseases, because once you decided that science is just this stuff that those guys with degrees made up but you can ignore it just like you ignore evolution, then its easy to believe the utter bullshit pushed by the cigarette companies.
Finally, 50 years and uncounted millions of deaths later, nobody, not even shills paid by the cigarette companies, disputes the science.  But millions died while they were lying as loudly as they could.

And now we have the debate over Global Warming.
And the same pattern is being repeated.  The Science is clear.  The global average surface temperature is climbing and most of the current increase in temperature is the result of human activity.  And if we don’t change our ways we are going to devastate the global economy and displace hundreds of millions of people.  There really isn’t any doubt.  But shills and politicians paid for by the Coal and Natural Gas and Petroleum companies are willing to stand up and say it’s all a hoax.  Ignore all the science and focus on the fact that it snowed a lot in New York City last winter.  Steal some emails, extract stuff from the emails that makes the scientists look dishonest and then ignore the 6 separate studies that all conclude that the scientists didn’t actually lie or distort their data or conclusions.  Facts don’t matter to these people.
This facts don’t matter attitude, this deliberate and belligerent ignorance, is the essence of religious faith and the fact free rejection of evolution.  And its dangerous.

So now you have members of Congress claiming that rape victims don't get pregnant as a result of what was done to them.

And we have idiots defending them.

Because they live in a fact free universe where things are only true if they want them to be.

I wouldn't care if they were just idiots, but these are idiots in positions of power.  They can decide what a woman can do with her body.  They can impose medically unnecessary requirements on abortion clinics, and require that women have get vaginally violated by a doctor to have access to a safe and legal procedure, they CAN REQUIRE THAT YOUR DOCTOR LIE TO YOU about abortion.

The idiots that want to ignore the reality of Global Warming are tying to kill us wholesale, but idiots that are trying to ban abortion just want to kill women one at a time.  But they are idiots with power and that makes them dangerous.


Bill said...

I see why you didn't announce this one on FB!

One point of clarification. I consider myself a conservative "Christian". I do believe in ethics and morals and good behavior and all that stuff. I could just as easily be an ethical Moslem, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Jew. My culture happens to be Christian. It seems that the issue in politics isn't about Christianity as much as it is Fundamentalism. These are the people who believe that the Bible is a literal documentation of history. Of course, the conveniently ignore the simple fact that much of the Old Testament is Jewish and was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and rough street languages of the time, none of which translate well to English.

The idiocy coming out of the Right these days seems to be pandering to the Fundamentalists. The rape comments were the ramblings of a fool.

It seems to me that the abortion issue should be put to sleep. It's way too complex an issue for most people to tackle. I find it's even hard to pick a side without violating some of one's own principles. It is a deeply personal and painful issue wrought with human dynamics. It seems the best solution is to define during what stage of pregnancy it should no longer be allowed, it should be permitted any time if the mother's life is in jeopardy, and then let it go to personal beliefs.

The irony is that the same people who seek to use the government to impose their will on others get indignant when they feel the government imposes on them.

Uncle Walt said...

My first comment would be that "people of faith" are no more or no less moral or ethical than the rest of humanity.

But atheists are not going to reject a scientifically valid solution just because it contradicts their faith. We have people in this country, mostly identifying themselves as Conservatives and Republicans, who are willing to reject any scientific conclusion that they don't like just because they don't like it. And I believe that mindset starts with the religious rejection of Evolution. Once you have decided that all those paleontologista and biologists can't possiblye be right, then its easy to decide that Climate Science is some sort of hoax, and tax cuts pay for themselves.

Living in a world that is not fact based, allows these people to just ignore facts they don't like.

And then these same people insist that what they believe, as opposed to what science can show, is what we should base government policy on.

And that is both nuts and dangerous.

Supposedly small government Republicans don't actually object to government regulations, they just don't want to regulate businesses, they would prefer to regulate people.