Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Republican War On Reason

In their drive to make a more godly nation (Aka "shoring up the religious right after a disappointing midterm"), the Republican Party has once again declared war--- Not just on science, but on reason itself.

Governor Rick Perry of Texas seems surprisingly willing to break that mold by requiring that all girls entering the sixth grade receive the HPV vaccine. Roughly a dozen strains of Human Papillomavirus are known to cause cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, anal cancer, head and neck cancers, and penile cancer.

The Texas GOP has decided to fight Perry on this, stating that an HPV vaccine "encourages premarital sex" (As if anything is stronger than the human sex drive). At this point, three Texas GOP legislators have filed bills that would block Perry's mandate.

Junk sociology is new for them. They generally rely only on junk science.

You know, the kind of science that says "If Exxon pays us to say global warming doesn't exist, then it doesn't". The kind that says "Hurricanes are well known to be the result of higer ocean temperatures, but there's no link between global warming and Katrina".

It's the science of wishful thinking, where if it's "good for the Republican Party (In other words, the corporations that bankroll not only it but its sycophantic apologists), then it's good for America". In such a fantasy world, oil flows endlessly and never creates smog. Teenagers pay attention to whether or not the HPV vaccine is available when making crucial choices about sex. Those animal-shaped things sticking out of the ground are not skeletons of animals not mentioned in the Bible--- They're simply rocks.

In such a world, not only is the answer to any yet-unanswered scientific question "because God wanted it that way", but "because God wanted it that way" is actually supposed to be taught in science classes. When they force churches to teach biology, then perhaps they'll have a point. Until then, science should be about the pursuit of knowledge rather than an excuse not to seek it.

At this point, I now understand why no Republican president has ever parked a space shuttle outside the Republican convention. It's not because doing so would be an abuse of power, devoting government resources to partisan aims--- I don't think that would stop them. I think it's because deep down, they know that part of their base would step outside to beat it with sticks and throw rocks at it.

I know there are Republicans that break the mold. Obviously, Rick Perry (Or as the late, great Molly Ivins called him, "Governor Good Hair") proves that by having the courage to treat a health issue as a health issue rather than a rallying cry for Bible-thumpers.

But just look at what his own party is doing to him for it.

All who believe in the existence of a God, of a creator, would do well to ask--- "Why did he give us inquisitive minds that thirst for knowledge if he didn't intend us to use them?

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