Republican Strategist: Science Should Be Put to a Popularity Vote

In case you missed it last night, Aasif Mandvi of The Daily Show answered the burning question: What is science really up to?

Highlight:

Republican Strategist Noelle Nikpour: It’s very confusing for a child to be only taught evolution to go home to a household where their parents say, “Well, wait a minute, you know, God created the Earth!”

Mandvi: What is the point of teaching children facts if it’s just going to confuse them?

Nikpour: It confuses the children when they go home! We as Americans — we are paying tax dollars for our children to be educated. We need to offer them every theory that’s out there. It’s all about choice; it’s all about freedom.

Mandvi: I mean, it should be up to the American people to decide what’s true.

Nikpour: Absolutely! Doesn’t it make common sense?

Why did she agree to an interview…?

Oh, right. None of her regular fans will ever watch this. Damn liberal media quoting her in context to make her look silly…

(via Why Evolution Is True)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

    Dear Uhmerica.. Srsly?

  • Miko

    Makes sense to me.  If they’re paying for their children’s education, then they should have a say as to how their children are educated.  The real problem is that they currently try to have this say by forcing their garbage into the public schools.  The solution: we can protect public education by introducing a voucher system so that those who want their kids to go to crazy-school can do so without affecting the rest of us.

    • ara

      so taxpayer money should go, via vouchers, to institutions of religious indoctrination?

      I’m going to go with “no”

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        I’m going to expand that to “HELL NO.”

      • Jflycn

        I agree with you. Voucher is not a perfect system.

    • Rich Wilson

       If they’re paying for their children’s education, then they should have a say as to how their children are educated. 

      They do.  The school board is publicly elected.  They can decide if the school will have a music program, or a football program, or how big the library will be.  They just can’t teach the kids stuff that isn’t true.

      I pay taxes, but I don’t have a say in whether the police allow ‘rolling’ stops at stop signs.

      • Anonymous

        Elected school boards are THE reason why creationism even makes it into schools. It’s a horrible idea. Or at least school boards should have no say in the core curriculum. They can decide smaller, local things. But the basics of what is taught should be decided more centrally

    • Coyotenose

      One of the points of Republican support of school vouchers is to try to bankrupt public schooling by reducing the large numbers that allow it to be economically viable. They hate it, they want it gone. They don’t want competition for it. They just want it dead. If that happens, the private system that would result would be dominated by groups with larger numbers and better organization… that is, Christian, conservative, science-denying, ideology-driven, politically intrusive religious groups.

      Letting the crazies have their way hurts us all, and it doesn’t placate them, it only frees up their resources to attack us on other fronts.

      • Jflycn

        So you think the majority of Americans are crazies?

        • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

          We elected George W. Bush twice. I’m going with yes.

          • TMJ

            Who is this ‘we’ you speak of.  I never voted for him; in fact, I specifically voted against him.

          • TheBlackCat

            Only one of the times with a majority, though.

    • Blipey

      Introducing a voucher system would probably create a public school system that is even more underfunded than it is now and destroy whatever hope we have of making it better.  Unless you can find a way to keep public dollars rolling into public schools with even less students in them to qualify for dollars.

    • Donalbain

      And children dont have the right to a proper education? They are just the property of the parents? No fucking way.
       

  • Timothy

    It’s funny, I have a friend who believes in Evolution, but he still hates public schools and there “Liberal” agenda.    How they “indoctronate” our children and so on and so forth.  I’m not sure giving kids the facts is indoctrination.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Giving the facts isn’t “indoctrination.”

      Telling them “God did it”, on the other hand, is.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

    Republican Strategist Noelle Nikpour: It’s very
    confusing for a child to be only taught evolution to go home to a
    household where their parents say, “Well, wait a minute, you know, God
    created the Earth!”

    Well, yeah, it’s confusing. And that’s why Christers should drop their creation myth — they’re doing nothing but confusing children with it.

  • Rich Wilson

    I’ve noticed a common theme in criticism of Dawkins’s ‘Magic of Reality’.  People criticize Dawkins for ‘pushing his own view’ as ‘the truth’, as if light refraction through raindrops is somehow controversial.  I’ve asked people to give an example of anything they disagree with, and nobody provides anything.  The best I can explain it, “well, yes, that’s why we see rainbows, but we don’t want to tell CHILDREN that!”

    In particular since he juxtaposes accepted science with myths, teaching science that even religious people accept next to the myth that previously explained it might threaten our ability to lie to our kids. 

  • Jflycn

    If the public education is funded by tax money, then school science should be put to a popularity vote. If you hate this, then you should not support public education.

    • Luce

      And how do you suggest not supporting public education when you can’t avoid paying taxes?

      • Jflycn

        0. Understand this is NOT a science issue, it IS a political issue.
        1. Support tax reduction,
        2. Support school choice.

        • Rich Wilson

          The only thing I find scarier than someone getting their marching orders from the bible is someone getting their marching orders from Ayn Rand.

          • Jflycn

            I bet you Karl Marx is scarier than both.

            • The Captain

              Actually Marx was a rather pleasant fellow, who liked to lecture and debate, yet didn’t like to make personal enemies of people and seemed to enjoy people.

              Rand on the other hand was a hypocritical, cantankerous bitch who loathed most people she meet and had a crush on a death row murder because he was an individual and the little girl he murdered I believe she called “so ordinary”.

          • The Captain

            At least people who are listing to the bible are trying to be moral (misplaced, but trying). The Rand followers are just trying to remove all morals from society. 

            • Jflycn

              Taking money from another person does not sound moral.

              • The Captain

                It’s more moral than allowing a child to receive no education, or even starve so as to no remove property from another individual. 

                Also define how someone acquirers property in the first place? Wealthy people for instance do not “make” the products they sell for instance, they do so by exploiting the labor of another human to do that. The taxes they pay (or money taken from them) is the way you create a functioning society that is not economic slave based.

                So your “morals” are for there to be a class of people who serve only to give up their labor to another class of people, so they can claim ownership over the wealth the lower class creates all by birthright. 

                Yea, your a real moral person!

                • Jflycn

                  Charity is not enough, let rob save the morality.

                • The Captain

                  First off, “charity” is a subjective platitude. 

                  And “rob”, once again what god came down and told us which monkeys get to “own” which sticks?

              • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

                It’s more moral than national anarchy.

              • Anonymous

                Taxes are the dues we pay to live in society. If you are so opposed to paying taxes, move to a deserted island and declare yourself a sovereign nature. But don’t expect us to send you a fire truck, ambulance and rescue team — all financed by taxpayers — when the volcano erupts.

            • Luce

              If that’s really your opinion of Ayn Rand, then you’ve misinterpreted everything she was trying to say.

              • The Captain

                Nope, I’ve read a lot of Rand. It’s her followers who jump though logical hoops to get around the fact for Rand all actions taken towards those not directly know to you are nothing but amoral financial transaction.

        • The Captain

          Ohhh I get it! You support having the quality and level of all children’s education to be in direct proportion to the wealth of their parents. 

          Because you know, poor children should receive the poorest education so as to be poor adults because that’s the class they where born into right?

          • Jflycn

            So, you want to take money from the rich and give to the poor for educating their children? Who are you? God?

            • The Captain

              No, just a person who has morals. Not an elitist amoral Social Darwinist like yourself. 

              Also the no one has an unassailable, inherent “right” to property since all rights come from a societal contract and subject to societal standards, not some “god” that commands it. 

              So then who are you to tell poor people they can not take something… God????

              • Jflycn

                Good. I am Social Darwinist now. Funny.

                • The Captain

                  Yes, you are. You are advocating the the right of property to trump all other moral considerations. That is Social Darwinism in a nut shell.

                • Jflycn

                  Charity is not enough, let rob save the morality.

                • The Captain

                  Huh, that was a line of argument used by the Social Darwinist of the early 1900s. Funny, for someone who is trying to act like they aren’t a Social Darwinist you do seem to hold all their positions.

            • Wren Combs

              Yes, that is exactly what I want.

    • Timothy

      That’s just plain silly.  Wether something is “popular” doesn’t make it true, and just because something isn’t popular doesn’t make it false.  That’s not how science works.

      • Jflycn

        You are right, but this is NOT about science.

        • Luce

          If society places any value on its future, then quality education should NOT be up for debate.

          • Jflycn

            “Society” does not think, does not take action. It is individual person doing stuff.
            The illusion of a “society” as a whole over individuals is not science. If you understand evolution, you will not imagine a God for the society.

        • Timothy

          You read that and face palmed right?  I mean, you read your first statement, then your response to me and had to have face palmed.

    • Anonymous

      That line of reasoning seems to presuppose a pure democracy, but such does not and should not exist, for reasons similar to yours.  A democracy is different from a democratic republic.

      Besides, knowledge from science isn’t a popularity vote, it’s the result of a search for truth, not something that can be texted in like American Idol.  We don’t get to vote  aether hypothesis as modern science because it’s been debunked.

      • Jflycn

        You are right, but what I am saying is NOT about science. Vote for school science is not the same as vote for science.

        • Anonymous

          You’re right that a vote for school science isn’t the same as a vote for science, but I think my point remains that science education isn’t something that should be put to a popular vote.  You don’t get to teach your made-up facts based on ancient goat herder writings and call it science.

          • Jflycn

            You are right. But can people chose no science education to their own children?

            • Anonymous

              Other than a fundementalist religous leanings, why would they say no science?  I can’t think of a swifter way to fade to irrelevancy on the world stage to let entire groups of citizens choose ignorance for their children.

              • Jflycn

                You don’t “let” them choose. They choose by themselves and for their own interests. That’s kind of sad. Isn’t it? That’s how the society evolves.

    • Anonymous

      Not is shouldn’t, not any more than fire fighters or policing should be up to popular vote. We accept that there are costs to living in society.   We pay for police and emergency services even though we don’t break laws or cause accidents.  We pay for education so that the next generation become productive workers.  We pay for welfare so that there is a safety net for those who fall on hard times.  We pay for a military because we want to be defended from those who mean us harm.  We do these things not because they are popular but because they are the responsible thing for a society to do. 

      Think of taxes and social programs like police, fire fighters,  teachers, etc as a vaccine that everyone pays for.  If some people opt out of paying then they may suffer as a result but everyone else suffers too.  Not everybody sees that and not everybody can see past their own interests to look to the greater social contract that we all have with one another.  Some even resent it.

  • Luce

    This makes me sad. To these people it seems “truth” is a relative term, based on desires and choices instead of what is actually going on. 

    “Forget all the evidence for evolution and other prominent scientific theories. I’d PREFER if god was real and the creation stories were true, so now they are true and you can’t tell me otherwise because its all about choice.”  

    Give me a f***ing break.

  • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

    When I watched that, I kept wondering if this woman was a Poe. I mean, was she listening to herself?? Did she even realize what she was saying? I still find it hard to believe.

  • Charles Black

    Wait a minute, I thought the truth isn’t decided by popular vote right?

  • Anonymous

    It confuses the children when they go home! We as Americans — we are paying tax dollars for our children to be educated. We need to offer them every theory that’s out there. It’s all about choice; it’s all about freedom.

    No.  We just need to extend education to include those people who failed to learn science at school so they can stop confusing their children with mythologies masquerading as science.  I believe that parents have the freedom to withdraw their children from publicly funded education and privately find it instead.
    I think that the USA needs to stop pissing about with half arsed curricula that is entirely dependent on local school boards and sort out a national curriculum of education.  This would ensure that all students receive the same level of education which would help universities to assess candidates based on a recognised standard.  It would stop local crazies from getting elected to school boards so that they can sabotage the education and future of the next generation with their stupid and irrelevant myths.

    That’s what I think.

    • Kevin S.

      Unfortunately, by the time anybody realized that religious fundamentalism was such a threat to education, it was far too late to get 3/4 support for any kind of constitutional amendment necessary to nationalize educational standards.  I guess they could try tying funding to standards, which is the usual work-around for allowing the federal government to regulate something it’s not supposed to be able to regulate, but that’s a temporary solution that dissolves any time Republicans get control of Congress.

    • Anonymous

      I agree. This school board nonsense is what got the US into this mess in the first place. They have their uses for local issues, but they certainly shouldn’t decide what is taught

  • frazzled

    Wait a minute.  Wasn’t she in on the joke?  I watched the whole thing on Comedy Central and assumed she was either an actor, or going along with the joke.  Surely no one is that stupid?

    • The Pint

      If you believe that no one is that stupid, I’ve got some killer magic beans to sell you!

  • Sailor

    “Why did she agree to an interview…?”
    Look at here website. She is a publicity hound. She said nothing that will make here look stupid in the eyes of republicans and she does not care about liburals.

  • everettattebury

    Did she really say “finantual”?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Actually, I think determining scientific truth by popular vote is a great idea.  Think about how many depressing truths we could easily get rid of. Here is a small sampling of depressing truths that we’d rather have untrue. We could immediately make it true that:

    Smoking does not cause cancer.
    Obesity does not increase the chances of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
    Bacteria is not becoming more resistant to antibiotics.
    The world is not running out of drinkable water and arable land.
    The average global temperature is not rising.
    There are not thousands of large Earth-crossing asteroids.

    Gee, I feel better already, and we haven’t even had the “truth election” yet!

    • cloudy

      Yes lets all stop believing in gravity. We will all be able to fly.
      And we will just disbelieve any side efects! 

  • Rich Wilson

    More on Politics and Science http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawn-lawrence-otto/republican-science_b_1034205.html

  • Anonymous

    So by conservative/Christian thinking, morality is objective and never changes(except in the cases of slavery and genocide, that is), but science can be decided by any yahoo who doesn’t like what the brainiacs are saying. How utterly retarded.

  • angrymonkey

    Okay, just checking, but you guys do know that the Daily Show edits the interviews with guests to make for funnier TV, right? 

    I don’t doubt the woman is an anti- science wackaloon, but the interview is clearly spliced together to make here look crazier than ever.  potholer54 has a great youtube video on editing interviews for effect. 

  • Ann Onymous

    Here’s a relevant thing!


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