The ‘stupid party’

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently urged his Republican Party to “stop being the stupid party.” In order to win elections, … Continued

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal recently urged his Republican Party to “stop being the stupid party.” In order to win elections, he also advised Republicans to reject anti-intellectualism. While this sounds like an excellent step forward, it will depend on their interpretation of “stupid” and “anti-intellectualism.”

This is the same Jindal who, in 2008, signed the Louisiana Science Education Act, which also sounds good on the surface. The act allows local school boards to approve supplemental materials for public school science classes as they discuss evolution, cloning and global warming.

Though marketed as support for critical thinking in classrooms, the law was actually designed to open the door to teach creationism and scientifically unwarranted critiques of evolution in Louisiana public school science classes.

Although the bill had been opposed by every scientific society that voiced a position, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Jindal ignored the plea of his former genetics professor Arthur Landy, who wrote, “Without evolution, modern biology, including medicine and biotechnology, wouldn’t make sense.” Instead Jindal gave credibility to Seattle’s Discovery Institute, the home base of “intelligent design,” which helped write the bill.

The Louisiana governor apparently doesn’t understand that neither he nor the Republican Party can avoid being stupid and anti-intellectual when they oppose scientific discoveries established for more than a century. It’s demonstrably unintelligent to weaken scientific standards for public schools just because those standards conflict with a literal interpretation of a “holy” book written in a pre-scientific era.

I’d like to hear Jindal criticize incumbent Republican Georgia Congressman Paul Broun, who ran unopposed and easily maintained his House seat, even though he denounced evolutionary theory, embryology, and the big bang theory as “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

Worse yet, Broun sits on the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

However, the good news is that Charles Darwin received over 4,000 write-in votes against Congressman Broun. We can only hope that two years from now, Broun will be defeated by a live opponent who shows signs of basic science literacy.

Perhaps Jindal was only telling his Republican colleagues not to be politically stupid. Sadly, it will not be easy to get the current crop of Republican leaders to openly embrace science.

Herb Silverman is founder and president of the Secular Coalition for America and author of “Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt .”

About

Herb Silverman Herb Silverman is founder and President Emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America, author of “Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt,” and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston.
  • Peacefulmusing

    I would ask the GOP if they want to be competitive in the global economy. I’m thinking that the answer is “no.”

    Most religions, including Christianity teaches the “mystery of God.” That is, God is mysterious and unknowable, this powerful entity is all encompassing.

    So the issues surrounding Genesis and evolution is a “false” issue or dichotomy. There is no “either – or.”

    In addiiton, one might say to discredit science is to discredit gifts from God.

  • 1180

    Jindal doesn’t advocate any real change in GOP doctrine. What he wants is for the right to obfuscate, lie and disavow their way back into power. Forget it, Jindal. Not gonna happen. You and your party are destined for history’s ash heap and the sooner that happens the better.

  • sd71

    have you seen god ? i have not.
    who invented god ? man
    who wrote the bible ? men
    who developed and is developing science,evolution, and embryology ? men and women
    who created intelligent design and creationism ? men and women

    god does not exist but there’s no place in the gop for atheists.

  • Taylorsucram

    The GOP says, it’s not the message … it’s how it’s presented.

    GO WITH IT! If they haven’t figured out that Americans are beginning to see through their “doublespeak” and lies, I say go-for-it!

  • dickm

    Thw first step that the GOP should take to regain it’s sadly lacking stature is to drop the religious right like a hot potato. Resonable minded voters will not support a party with this junk in it.

    With no religiious right, issues like abortion and evolution can be defined by rational people in the GOP instead of zealots.

  • kenny4

    Bobby Jindal got it right. It is a stupid party. I am wondering why is he in this party. It do not sound right.

  • EuroAm

    The GOP is also very pro-business…Bill Gates is very pro-Microsoft business…

  • airberger

    I think the rich get exemptions from the GOP religion requirement.

  • airberger

    What he wants is election to office and the power that comes with it. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • KLOWaPo1

    Jindal wants to run for president in 2016, so he’s started his political rehabilitation from Republican no-nothing to faux-moderate. Just another Republican shape-shifter who says whatever he thinks will help.

  • PatriotTX

    Just because you have not seen something doesn’t mean it does not exist.

  • rmcbain

    Just because you believe something is real does not mean it exists

  • kuato

    The problem is that people have been telling Jindall that he is relevant. He has clearly taken them seriously. In his confusion, he has made comments.

    End of story.

  • BadKitteh

    I’m sorry, but changing the color of the face of the Republican Party isn’t enough to convince me to vote for them.

  • park6708

    Both PatriotTX and rmcbain are correct. I respect atheists’ right to believe that God does not exist. Similarly, I hope they respect my right to believe that He does. I also believe that I can and should stand up for my values (as should they) regardless of what the source of those values are, and then we should have a meaningful discussion on what the differences are.

    What amazes me from this election and from many of the commentaries on the WaPo articles is that the arena for discussion has largely disappeared. Instead, there is name calling on both sides with both sides being frequently dismissive of the other. To take a page from Obama’s Middle East playbook, if we are going to find a real path forward together, then we need to start by listening to one another.

  • cvmonk

    It’s hard to stop being Stupid when all you got is Stupidity.

    And it sure doesn’t stop GOP ‘consultants’ like Mike Murphy, Dick Morris and Karl Rove from getting rich off of the Stupid by running their Idiotic campaigns.

  • allinonred

    I’m also somewhat baffled by this article.
    Are there no competent Democratic candidates in these southern districts?
    Why is Jindal giving advice to a party full of stupid people, hoping that *any* of it sticks? If these stupid people continue to nominate stupid leaders who keep losing the presidential election and the Senate, when are they going to say “well then fine, we’ll just take the House and leave the senate and the Presidency to the smarty-pants!!!”

    I don’t think that stupid people have to be stupid all the time, that they can never be smart. It’s just that they aren’t smart *often*. And infrequently enough it becomes a matter of random chance. But that doesn’t mean that supposedly “smart” people are always right either, or even *usually* right. If that were the case then we wouldn’t have any real debate on most issues. People would just say “oh you’re smart so you must be right” and that wouldn’t be a fundamental logical fallacy.

    So, ironically, I think that Jindal shouldn’t worry. Eventually the Republicans will win. Maybe even in 2016 and then they can all take credit for it, each for different reasons.

  • divine0001

    As a new convert to christianity he is pretending to be more christian than Jesus.

  • allinonred

    actually Jindal is one of the few Republican governors who even bothered to respond to calls from this newspaper.

  • allinonred

    ps sad to say to all you Obama haters if you felt impotent when he won reelection imagine how impotent it’s going to feel as he approaches the end of his 2nd term. Really no one is going to care what you think of Obama. Just as so few do now.

  • Sutter

    By “creationism” we mean the Biblical version of creationism. Just imagine a teacher telling students about versions from Hinduism, etc. Parents would revolt. Don’t parents teach the Biblical version at home? At least this is based on religious beliefs. The anti-climate change tact is largely based on not wanting to make sacrifices (if you don’t admit pollution has caused climate change you don’t have to cut back on it, no matter its effects on our healtha nd thehealth of our children).

  • larryclyons

    When my kid’s school starts teaching creatinism, sorry Creationism, I’ll be insisting they teach the Summerian version, with all of its explicit sex, incest and violence. That should cause more than a few of the Christian wrong’s head to explode.

  • JimZ1

    ????????

  • larryclyons

    what I object to park is how your religion insists on shoving its beliefs in my face. I don’t want your religiously biased laws. I don’t want my kids learning Creatinism, sorry Creationism in school. I don’t want mythology taught in schools in place of basic science.

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