|Copyright DonkeyHotey at Flicker.com|
|Senate Candidate Todd Akin - Missouri|
For a politician to trivialize this horrible violent crime by qualifying his remarks with words like “legitimate” is patently offensive, and suggesting that a woman’s body would differentiate between forced and consensual conception demonstrates and unconscionable ignorance of scientific fact. Any person who ignores science to justify a moral position is undermining their position. Anyone who makes up scientific facts to support their position is a reprehensible person who should not be trusted. Anyone who believes made up facts is a fool.
Science is fact that is demonstrable, repeatable, and verifiable. Scientific fact is not for convenience, but improves our knowledge of our universe. When it is used to justify an agenda, it ceases to be credible science, and becomes emotionally charged propaganda.
Propaganda is a tool used by politicians to justify their views, and improve their standing among similarly minded individuals. It’s a sales tactic I learned in college (my minor was sales). You give people information that sounds logical, and is difficult to disagree with. The information doesn’t have to be true, just sound that way. It plays on the fear of unwanted consequences, and gets people to agree with you. The more people agree with you, the more popular you become. The more popular you are, the more votes you get at election. Use of “science” as propaganda offends me as much as any lie ever told.
|Copyright mknobil at Flicker.com|
Todd Akin isn’t alone in his academic ignorance. Many people have started attacking tested scientific facts that have improved our society for hundreds of years. I’m referring to vaccinations. Politicians and celebrities have been using biased, discredited, and non-science to link vaccinations to mental conditions like autism. There is not a single shred of evidence exists that proves that vaccinations cause any of the conditions that people have “linked” to this medical treatment. There is, however, a mountain of evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness against devastating diseases like pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, hepatitis, chicken pox, small pox, and others. Politicians use propaganda, not science, to appeal to people who object to vaccinations on either religious, philosophical, or fears based on ignorance.
I can understand religious beliefs, and philosophical objections, but perpetuating ignorance by ignoring science that can be traced back to the early 1700’s is disgusting. People who prey on the fears of others, and select only information that supports their agenda while ignoring pertinent facts, prevent any meaningful debate, and consequently, real progress.
Using half-formed unscientific information is not new. When I was a young boy, I remember being told the story of Chicken Little. This folk tale has many variations, so people may have heard it differently than I did. In the story, Chicken Little is standing under an apple tree, and is hit in the head by an acorn. Not fully understanding what has actually happened, Chicken Little determines that the sky is falling, and the world is ending. Chicken Little then runs around the barnyard and convinces everyone that the sky is falling. They determine that they have to tell the king that the sky is falling, and venture off to do just that. On the way, they meet a fox who dupes them into following him to his den on the guise of leading them to the king. The animals are then eaten. In my experience, politicians are like foxes, luring the gullible into liking them.
When people use science properly to make informed reasoned decisions, we can get effective change. The problem is that getting reliable data necessary to make those decisions takes time. Coming up with effective solutions requires people who understand the complexities of reality. Everything is interconnected and interdependent. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When people ignore this, they get unintended consequences. When people make mistakes based on the best information available it’s understandable. When they make mistakes based on ignorance or propaganda it is inexcusable.
Regardless of a person’s religious or political beliefs, there are right and wrong answers. No matter how a politician may hate the number 13, 5+8 will always equal 13. The math doesn’t lie. Regardless of how people feel about abortions, vaccines, evolution, or climate change, there are scientific facts that people ignore because it conflicts with their beliefs. Instead of accepting facts, and reconciling them with their belief system, people spit out propaganda. That is an irresponsible and morally reprehensible thing. It is a lie. Societies built on lies can’t survive.