Devolution: GOP Gets 10 Points Dumb and Dumber
December 31, 2013
I’m not sure if there is a conversion factor for IQ points vs belief in evolution, but if there is, the climate-denying Republican Party is experiencing a severe Brain drain. We now have the report (see below) that belief in the foundation of modern biology has dropped 10 points among Republicans recently, while the rest of the country is more or less steady.
There are several possibilities. One is that the Brain Eating Amoebas made it into the punch bowl at CPAC. Another is that literate, thinking people are leaving the party in droves. I know they were, at least once, there because my Father was Republican County Chairman in the Eisenhower era, when “family values” meant that, well, you valued families, by supporting the things that made them strong, functional and healthy. See my interview with Chris Mooney from 2011’s AGU meeting.
The other corrosive factor is the long term program by the anti-science industry to “recapture the K through 12 education system”, by passing laws that teach “both sides” – meaning, assert that the “Christian Bible as literal truth” is some kind of valid intellectual cafeteria style optional reality, as opposed to Science. ( I’m not the only one that’s asked if we should, to be fair, teach the creation myths of all cultures..never mind). These laws, not coincidentally, usually mandate, or allow, teaching the anti-science view on climate change as well. In the video above, ex-astronaut turned Tea Party nut-job Jack Schmitt, who should know better, advocates the “reforms” being pioneered in states like Tennessee and Louisiana. (skip to 3:00 if you’re in a rush)
Belief in evolution among Republicans has dropped more than 10 percentage points since 2009, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.
Pew found that 43 percent of Republicans said they believed humans and other living beings had evolved over time, down from 54 percent in 2009. More (48 percent) said they believed all living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.
The percentages for Democrats and independents were considerably more stable: Democratic belief in evolution went from 64 percent in 2009 to 67 percent in 2013; independent belief dipped from 67 percent in 2009 to 65 percent in 2013.
Among all American adults, 60 percent said they believe in evolution, according to Pew, and 33 percent do not.
Our Founding Fathers placed great value on education as a bedrock of good governance. Climate deniers seem to favor a model more like the Terrorist Training Madrassas of the Middle East. I think there are signs this trend is somewhat self limiting, (enlightened employers fleeing dumbed down states..), but increasingly we may be creating sub-groups within our population who literally live in an imaginary universe, and are completely unprepared to cope with the rapidly changing real one.
Happy New Year. Lots of work to do. Thanks to all who check in and contribute here – you are the ones that make this a lively and growing forum.
Now what the heck are you doing reading this on New Year’s Eve?