Monday, November 19, 2012

Politics: "Views Differ on Age of Planet"

"Views Differ on Age of Planet"
by Paul Krugman

"Quite a few bloggers are having fun with Marco Rubio’s bobbing and weaving in response to a question from GQ:
 
GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

As I like to say, the GOP doesn’t just want to roll back the New Deal; it wants to roll back the Enlightenment. But here’s what you should realize: when Rubio says that the question of the Earth’s age “has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow”, he’s dead wrong. For one thing, science and technology education has a lot to do with our future productivity — and how are you going to have effective science education if schools have to give equal time to the views of fundamentalist Christians?

More broadly, the attitude that discounts any amount of evidence — and boy, do we have lots of evidence on the age of the planet! — if it conflicts with prejudices is not an attitude consistent with effective policy. If you’re going to ignore what geologists say if you don’t like its implications, what are the chances that you’ll take sensible advice on monetary and fiscal policy? After all, we’ve just seen how Republicans deal with research reports that undermine their faith in the magic of tax cuts: they try to suppress the reports.

I’m belatedly reading Chris Mooney’s "The Republican Brain"; if truth be told, I was afraid that the book would be too much red meat for my own predispositions, and wanted to keep my cool. But Mooney actually makes a very good point: the personality traits we associate with modern conservatism, above all a lack of openness, make the modern GOP fundamentally hostile to the very idea of objective inquiry. If they want your opinion, they’ll tell you what it is; doubters of orthodoxy need not apply, and will in fact be persecuted.

So don’t laugh over Rubio’s young-earth apologetics. If he, or anyone else from his party, wins in 2016, the joke will be on us.”

You just can't make this stuff up, lol...
"MSNBC's "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann: "Worst Person in The World"- Republican Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen says: the Earth is only 6,000 years old."

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