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Opinion: Did you think the GOP's War on Science Was Over? It's Not

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Representative Sandy Adams (R-FL) does not believe in evolution. Representative Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) hasn't made a lot of public statements about such things, but he attends the First Baptist Church of Lubbock, Texas, and they preach very vociferously against Darwin down there. By now, we all know what Todd Akin (R-MO) believes, so there isn't any need to go over that again.  Lamar Smith (R-TX) is a Christian Scientist, but despite the title, you aren't likely to find a lot of test tubes and Bunsen burners in a Christian Scientist church.

These are their beliefs, and that's fine. Godspeed and good on ya. I also have beliefs. For instance, I believe that, given the opportunity, I would completely have a shot with Gabrielle Anwar, and nobody can tell me any differently. The thing is, I will probably never meet Gabrielle Anwar, so my belief on that subject affects neither me nor her. But these Representatives all sit on the House Science Committee, so their beliefs directly affect the United States of America, and not in a good way.

If you are going to sit on the committee that deals with science and technology, shouldn't you at least believe that scientists aren't talking crazy talk when they discuss evolutionary biology? Wouldn't you at least hear out the 99.99999999999999 percent of scientists who believe that the earth is overheating due to human activity? I could understand being on the Science Committee if you didn't know much about science, but shouldn't you at least believe in it?

I'm not in any way saying that people who believe in Creationism or healing through the power of prayer shouldn't be allowed to serve in Congress. During World War II, conscientious objectors did not believe in killing even our mortal national enemies, so they served in other ways. They served as medics and cooks, they dug ditches, and in England some of them even helped dispose of unexploded German bombs. They were important and they were crucial and they absolutely helped the collective effort despite their religious convictions against violence.

There are all sorts of important committees on which the anti-science folks can serve. For instance, if you are on the Intelligence or Defense Committee and your main concern is locating and blowing a Hezbollah training camp off the face of the Earth, how old you believe the Earth to be should not matter in the slightest. Or what about the Agriculture Committee?

If your focus is making sure that we've grown enough corn to keep our national Dorito supply at peak capacity, then it makes no difference if you think the Earth was created in 7 days or 7 billion years. Or why not go where your Christian beliefs would be an absolute asset, like Veterans Affairs or Ethics? Who better to serve on the Ethics Committee than a devout Christian? Why not find a way to serve on those committees and let people with either a legitimate science background or at least a respect for science serve on the Science Committee?

Because guys, really, you aren't helping us out here. All of those Blackberrys that your staffers use, all the antibiotics and MRI's and even the Viagra that make life better for everybody, all the satellites, jets and cutting edge weapons that keep us safe, all the flat screen TVs and instant everything that keep us all entertained, all of the internet and electronic infrastructure which our entire society now relies on for everything, none of that stuff was created because a team of guys at M.I.T. said “Hmmm. I wonder what the Book of Matthew says about this?” And if we live in a country where our government views scientists as witch doctors or con artists, exactly how much better do you think our national output or our lives in general will be in twenty years?

We need people on the Science Committee to believe in scientific principles, or at least to find no contradiction between the religious and scientific. If you don't have that, then you shouldn't be there.

By the way, if you really think scientists are just “making stuff up so they'll get more funding,” I would urge you to hit a happy hour in Bethesda, Maryland near the National Institute of Health. You won't find a bunch of scientists lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills. You'll find a bunch of really bright, really broke and really dejected people drinking the cheapest beer available and thinking of getting the hell out of science. And if that happens, I hope y'all are right about God being on our side.