Representative Todd Akin’s remark about “legitimate rape” scared the bejesus out of the Republican Party. Not now! Not when the Democrats’ charge of war on women is getting traction! Everybody who is anybody, even multiple-choice Romney, rushed to pile on, demanding his resignation.

I suspect the feigned horror masked their real concern: if Akin doesn’t resign they can kiss goodbye their chance of taking the senate. Why do I believe that this cry of “resign!” is a sham? Because he and Paul Ryan voted for legislation that specifies “forced rape”. As opposed to what? “unforced rape”? “She-asked-for-it rape”? “she seduced the poor rapist”?

When Ryan, the “thoughtful”, “daring Intellectual” darling of the right wing was asked in a TV interview about his view of Akin’s “legitimate rape”, he characterized rape as “just another method of conception”. So there is the ‘natural’ method, artificial insemination method, and rape –all equally valid. He clearly believes that the government should force a woman take her pregnancy to term, regardless whether she was impregnated by a rapist. Would congressman Ryan maintain this heartless position if his own daughters were involved? He and Akin, and the know-nothings of this party are spiritual brothers, and no amount of “distancing” can fool anybody.

 

Science in the Bush Administration

Speaking of the Know-nothing party; Akin, who believes that a woman can prevent the rapist’s sperm from fertilizing the egg if the rape is “legitimate’, is sitting on the Science, Space and Technology committee of the House. Is this just an aberration? Let’s take a look.

John Shimkus, Republican of Illinois, the Chairman of the house subcommittee on climate change, said that there is nothing to worry about: “The earth will end only when God declares it to be over.”

Watch this U Tube clip. If they had video in the Middle Ages it would have looked like that.

Now, Shimkus is only chairman of a subcommittee. What does Ralph Hall, the Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology committee think? Here is a snippet of an interview with the National Journal (December 1, 2011):

NJ: Do you think climate change is causing the earth to become warmer?

Hall: I can’t say it doesn’t have a percentage of effects on it- one percent, three percent, five percent. But I don’t think it’s the cause. I don’t think we can control what God controls”.

Remember Joe Barton of Texas? That’s the guy who apologized to BP for the administration being too harsh on them for spilling millions of gallons of oil into the gulf. Well, he too is a member of the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Here is what he had to say about wind turbines for clean energy production: “Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Clean energy would slow the winds down” and thus could make it hotter.

Paul Braun, Republican from Georgia, and a member of the Science, Space and Technology committee likened the CDC’s encouragement of fruit and vegetable consumption to “socialism of the highest order.” The same crackpot Paul Broun, introduced the so-called personhood legislation in the House — backed by Akin and Representative Paul Ryan — that would have given a fertilized egg the same constitutional protections as a fully developed human being.

 

Is it part of a bigger plan?

Is it plausible that the Republican Party intentionally tries to keep the population ignorant? Hard to believe, but yet…

A Gallup poll in June 2012 found that 58 percent of Republicans believe God created humans in the present form just within the last 10,000 years. What about the dinosaurs? They walked the earth side by side with humans.

Is it too far-fetched to think that the Republican Party recognized that these ignorami  make up the base of the party and that they can increase the base by increasing the pool of the clueless? Far fetched? Think again:

Here’s what the Republican Party of Texas wrote into its 2012 platform as part of the section on education:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

 

Critical thinking is verboten.

You read it right. Critical thinking is verboten. It may lead to Higher Order thinking skills, God forbid.

It also opposes, among other things, early childhood education, sex education, and multicultural education, but supports “school subjects with emphasis on the Judeo-Christian principles upon which America was founded.”

You think that this is Texas-specific? Remember Rick Santorum? At a campaign stop in a Detroit suburb during the Republican primaries he said:

“President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob!” Santorum said to loud applause. “There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor.”

No wonder the house budget committee tried to de-fund all sociology research. Yes, this branch of science simply doesn’t fit their vision of an uninformed, stupid society.

So this is the real face of today’s Republican Party. No amount of “distancing”, “clarifying”, “it was just a joke’ could mask the truth.

I wish I could remember who once said:

“Religion once ruled the world; it is called the Dark Ages.”

Cry, the beloved country.

Dov Michaeli, MD, PhD
Dov Michaeli, MD, PhD loves to write about the brain and human behavior as well as translate complicated basic science concepts into entertainment for the rest of us. He was a professor at the University of California San Francisco before leaving to enter the world of biotech. He served as the Chief Medical Officer of biotech companies, including Aphton Corporation. He also founded and served as the CEO of Madah Medica, an early stage biotech company developing products to improve post-surgical pain control. He is now retired and enjoys working out, following the stock market, travelling the world, and, of course, writing for TDWI.

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