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Scary

It scares the heck out of me that only one major Republican candidate "believes in Evolution" or supports teaching it in school. I suppose if an individual wishes to reject science, roll back all progress in learning and thought to the Bronze Age, and put an end to centuries of progress in human rights and learning, that's their personal right. But any person running for public office who professes those beliefs ought to be immediately disqualified; insane or dangerous beliefs are a quirk, not a platform.

Sadly, the other side offers flaccid resistance. It is not as if they are vigorously pro-science or pro-reason - they're just not-anti. I believe a significant source of this problem is the decoupling of electability from results. It is simply understood that any candidate's promises are empty, and that they will "govern" in a way wholly inconsistent with the way they campaign. Candidates spend so much time raising money and campaigning that actual governance is an after-thought. Indeed, doing anything at all is a mistake for nearly any elected official, because it gets in the way of more empty campaign promises. That said, no matter how asinine either party behaves, changes in incumbency are fractional, rather than monumental.

What is the answer? Voters must hold candidates accountable for their promises, and most especially, moderate voters have to be active in local party politics so that primaries aren't an exercise in extremism. When a candidate doesn't deliver what they promise, or indeed does precisely the opposite - he or she must be voted out of office pronto.

And anyone who says, "Evolution is just a theory and I don't believe it," shouldn't even be allowed to run for town council or school board, much less national office. Failing to educate an entire generation of children due to insane dogmatism would be an unforgivable lapse in our responsibility to the world, and our successors on this planet.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
nephandi
Dec. 7th, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
Part of the accountability problem is in what you might call bipartisanship. Take, for example, Obama's campaign promise to 'restore habeas.' As president he literally ordered the assassination of an American citizen on the basis of secret evidence. (Sure, the target was probably a bad guy, but that is never the point.)

But voting Obama out of office would not actually advance this issue, as his opponent would almost certainly be just as regressive. If not worse! Secretly killing people with drones is effectively bipartisan.

On evolution, I think you're on to something in that being anti-evo is important for the right wing, but being pro-evo is not that important for the left. And maybe it is because of the success of right wing capture at the local (school board) levels.
aghrivaine
Dec. 7th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
I know what you're saying about "bi-partisanship" but the effect of the "but the other guy is worse" phenomenon is that no candidate need do anything that they promise. As long as the other guy is worse, they can do whatever they want.

Unacceptable. Time to deal with short term losses to create a long term system in which candidates must govern as they campaign.
silvertongue1
Dec. 7th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
"And anyone who says, "Evolution is just a theory and I don't believe it," shouldn't even be allowed to run for town council or school board, much less national office."

I'll agree with that. Maybe it's because I'm a biologist raised by a chemist (I do love the science) BUT if one is going to discard evolution because it's "only" a theory, then they may as well laugh at plate tectonics, relativity, and frakking electromagnetism too.
(Disclaimer: There is some crazy awesome physics floating around which is arguably theory, and I agree based on math, but withhold judgement until more stuff can be smashed in an accelerator.)

And what kills me is that when you're rearing organisms in a laboratory, you can DIRECTLY OBSERVE how strains begin to change based on being in an isolated environment. This is to the point where they truly do diverge from their original Parental generation, and you're not sure if you can back-cross the newest progeny with a wild-type specimen (yay mosquitoes)! Evolution in action. Right there.

Just my biased 2 cents.
~A
aghrivaine
Dec. 7th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
And you are of course entirely correct. Making hash out of the difference between scientific usage for "theory" and colloquial is hardly the basis for refutation of one the most important, universally agreed-upon, and documented observable phenomena in the annals of life science. But it fits on a bumper sticker.
blanchemains
Dec. 8th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
The right wing routinely promises things, by implication or direct statement, that they cannot actually deliver. Lots of people voted for Bush on the tacit promise that he would institute prayer in school, the teaching of evolution, a ban on abortion, etc. It's all nonsense. And I am astonished almost daily that so many people are buying what they are selling.
aghrivaine
Dec. 8th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Sort of my point. If what you promise has nothing to do with what you actually do - you shouldn't be elected. Left, right, or middle.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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