It’s not easy denying evolution while championing Social Darwinism. The Republicans have a delicate two-step to perform: pro-some-Bible and pro-some-science. Despite aglobal scientific consensus on evolution, Republican politicians embrace a literal interpretation of the Bible when it comes to how we all got here. But their reading gets suddenly metaphorical when it comes to the parts in the Bible about helping the poor. Citing the Bible as an authority, the current incarnation of Grand Old Partiers tell Americans modern science doesn’t have enough evidence to prove things like evolution or global warming. But further tax cuts for the super rich? Bible is pretty clear about it being easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. And the Republicans are pretty clear on ignoring that part.
Liberals dismiss Republicans as Know Nothings and simpletons – not true. This anti-some-Bible and anti-some-science dance is very complicated.
There’s a lot of nuance that can be summed up like this: The GOP is skeptical when it comes to things with which they disagree.
Simple? Not at all.
See, when Republicans talk about the “free market” and how the “greatest” is chosen by this fabled marketplace – that’s what Charles Darwin described in 1859 as “natural selection” in his book, Origin of the Species. So when evolution-denier Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) says she wants to repeal socialist Obamacare with “free market” solutions. She’s pleading for competition. A competition that, naturally, selects winners and losers.
Republicans are not anti-science entirely, they’re anti…sometimes.
How anti-science can you be with an iPhone in your pocket? It does take some specialization. A bit of partisan specialization. Like having seven out of eight GOP candidates proudly deny evolution as just a theory while debating in the hanger of Reagan’s Air Force One; never questioning aerodynamics or gravity —which are also, technically, just theories. Texas Governor Rick Perry proudly proclaims his belief in vaccinations to thwart cervical cancer – a very science-y stance — but not in laws to thwart climate change.
Like I said, Republicans are not all-in on being against science. The GOP treats science as their illegitimate love child. They deny its existence for political purposes, while quietly funneling child support to it.
The Republican Party is not trying to be Amish. Republicans are not Luddites. Republicans are for technology. They don’t want to actually live in the 18th century; they just want to idealize it. Those tri-corner hats were bought on the Internet. They boast proudly of having a bigger/better presence on Twitter and Facebook than Democrats. This is the party that sees endless uses for Predator drones and embraces all innovations with military applications. How exactly do you drug test welfare recipients without science? You don’t! How does one “drill, baby, drill,” frack or remove the tops of mountains without employing someone who knows their way around the periodic table? You don’t.
Then, of course, they treat the Bible as their political wife dutifully standing by their side in photo ops, nodding in support of everything they say.
And as much as the GOP has a reputation for pandering to churchgoers, their platform contradicts biblical teachings. Jesus was not a banker or a CEO. He was labor. He was skilled labor at that (think AFL-CIO). But Republicans claim a monopoly on Christianity and use it (as we saw with Perry’s Texas prayer rally) as a prop. It’s part of the stagecraft for their political image. But just like science, when the Bible has something in it they don’t like, they just deny it and move on.
So Republicans do believe in science and they also believe in the Bible. They just believe in politics first.