Feared science

Call me Al. Satan Al.

Call me Al. Satan Al.

(Come friend Aunt Ruth on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

Well, yee-haw: In Kentucky, a bill in the state Legislature would encourage teachers to discuss “the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories,” including “evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning.” Casting doubt on the science of global warming and evolution, then lumping the two together as educational policy? Oh, goodness. The New York Times goes on to report that the Texas Board of Education is going down the same path. And in South Dakota, a resolution calling for the “balanced teaching of global warming in public schools” passed last week. It’s part legal strategy (talking evolution in schools can begat separation-of-church-and-state controversies), part opportunistic downslap on climate-change scientists.

More disturbingly, it suggests an ideological convergence of disparate ideas: Put the anti-evolutionism and anti-climate change together and you’ve got a tea party without the plastic china.

Bill Maher asserts that the tea party is a cult (cults have their own vocabulary, populate from within, are quick to retreat into their own ranks, attribute problems to one simple explanation). Cult or no, 41 percent of respondents in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll have a positive opinion of the tea party movement, with the Democratic Party viewed favorably by 35 percent (the Republican Party a paltry 28 percent).

Last fall, Mother Jones asserted that the tea party was on the march against cap-and-trade legislation; their major recruiting tool was an anti-climate-change flick, Not Evil, Just Wrong, which premiered online to a reported audience of 400,000. Still, linking evolution and global warming is a little like claiming the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot came together in a night of satanic love, begetting their demon spawn, Al Gore. It strikes Yer Auntie as the fundamentalist logic that might insist that only God—not science—can explain things like tsunamis: not bad, they are but the sneezings of the Lord. Earthquakes? God clapping his hands. Volcanos? Z’all good, just the squeezed zits of the Almighty.

God isn’t as dead as Nietzsche promised. Still, Auntie Ruth doesn’t see scientists pounding on God as forthrightly as the tea party and their ilk are pounding on Ma Earth. And yippee, we’re all gonna die.