Are Republicans Unfairly Pegged as Anti-Science? (Mostly No)

Are Republicans being unfairly maligned as the anti-science party? The easy answer to that is, “don’t be ridiculous, and what right-wing industry lobby is funding that question?” But to Mischa Fisher, a former House GOP science policy staffer who described himself as “a politically centrist atheist,” the answer is yes, and the stereotype is harming science generally.

In a piece in The Atlantic, Fisher argues that Democrats are, more or less, just as prone to anti-scientific thinking as Republicans, but on different subjects, and that Republicans aren’t nearly as backward on science acceptance as their more extreme clown-characters like Paul Broun and Michele Bachmann would make them seem to be.

At the outset, let me just say I agree with where Fisher is going with his argument, but its presentation is flawed.

First, the problems.

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After San Diego Museum Council Denies Membership to Creation Museum, Its President Invokes Civil Rights Movement

The San Diego Museum Council is a coalition of local museums that work together to “increase awareness of and attendance at the diverse museums in the region.” The coalition includes the likes of the La Jolla Historical Society, Lux Art Institute, and the San Diego Air and Space.

And they were thisclose to bringing the Museum of Creation and Earth — a pro-Creationism “museum” — into the mix.

There are so many problems with this story:

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The (Crowdsourced) Pale Blue Dot

Yesterday was the late Carl Sagan‘s birthday and the folks at Mad Art Lab put together this really nice compilation of people reciting Sagan’s famous passage about that pale blue dot on which we all live. (I’m in the mix, too.)



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Before India Launched Its Mars Mission, There Was a Blessing from the Gods

You may have heard that, earlier this week, India launched a spacecraft that will soon be orbiting Mars (for a fraction of the cost it took American scientists, no less).

What you may not have heard is what the Indian Space Research Organization Chairman K Radhakrishnan did before the launch: he took miniature versions of the rocket and spacecraft to a local temple and asked the (idols of) deities for their blessings, saying later that “a little divine intervention” wouldn’t hurt.

Cultural traditions aside, just imagine what it would look like if the head of NASA decided to go to church in the days before a rocket was set to launch so that he could ask Jesus for a little help.

You know, if you think your rocket — your pinnacle-of-scientific-achievement-rocket! — need supernatural help, maybe it’s time to double-check your calculations instead of speaking to the spirits.

Shrey Goyal is appalled by Radhakrishnan’s behavior:

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Did Evolution Create Religion?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Did evolution create religion?:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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