Republicans hate science, until they need it to make a point

grumpy-old-men1

Recently, a survey came out showing that American women have been gaining huge ground on men when it comes to being the breadwinners in a family (defined as making the principle income). In about 40% of American households, it is now true that it is the women who make the majority of money. While this should be lauded as another step towards true equality in domestic and professional life (after all, the number should be around 50% if gender wasn’t a factor, because in every household SOMEONE has to make more, so it should look like a coin toss), it was received by Fox Business Network as the end of the world.

On Lou Dobbs Tonight, goofball Lou Dobbs brought in a panel of three other men (you know, the experts on women’s issues), and lamented how we “are watching society dissolve around us”. The others somberly agreed to this premise as if it were a foregone conclusion. Let’s strip away the veneer and say what is truly happening: In 2013, a Republican with his own talk show on a widely watched network can essentially say that women earning as much (or working more) than men is going to “dissolve” this country. Oh and then he shoehorns in abortion somehow, because why not?

English: Erick Erickson at the Republican Lead...

Erick Erickson trying to get attention (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The person in the panel who is getting the most attention is Erick Erickson, a guy whose only real goal is to get the most attention (well done, sir). Tired of the typical arguments that many conservatives use when justifying their sexism (the Bible, tradition, the Bible, etc.), he decided to go at it from another direction. The old, tried and true, science argument. Good grief. Here’s what he said:

“I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology — when you look at the natural world — the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.”

See liberals? How can you accuse conservatives of being “anti-science” when they won’t hesitate to use science (or at least the word “science”) if they think it will further their point? Unfortunately, that makes him look more anti-science. It makes him look like he doesn’t understand science. And it definitely makes him look sexist.

I’ve always been fascinated that people can feel fine using arguments long after they’ve been debunked. It’s a fallacy to argue from ignorance, but its lunacy to continue to do so after you know it’s wrong. In this case, all it takes is finding women earning the primary income and not destroying the country, which there is ample evidence of, because about 40% of households already have this happening and the country is not eroding away.

English: Television and radio host at CPAC in .

Unless you believe this guy  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They also show an amazing ability to compartmentalize. In the same breath that they are saying women need to be playing a “complementary role” in society, they can applaud Michelle Bachman as if she were the candle in the darkness of Congress. But, of course, they don’t mean Michelle Bachman, they mean minority women, they mean divorcees, they mean families having babies out of wedlock. As a fun game, I suggest sexists like Lou Dobbs and Erick Erickson do something I’d like to call “take Michelle Bachman, and replace her with another woman” and after several exercises you will have a brief glimpse of what it’s like to view the world as a socially aware, intelligent, empathic person rather than a complete scumbag. Trust me, it’s an adrenaline rush, and as a bonus, you don’t always have to feel embarrassed of your own opinions. It’s great.

But what really bugs me is when people who consistently deny some science, choose other bits to believe in. That’s what religion is for, guys. The pesky thing about science is that it’s kind of a whole package. The only thing you have to “believe” is that the scientific method is the best way humans have of getting to knowledge. The rest of the “facts” and “theories” are derived from that assertion. So while you’re googling “ways to deny Climate Change” and you stumble across “Some animals show gender roles” you have to pick one, because they are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, when reading the “some animals show gender roles” article, you’ll notice that scientists are very careful not to stretch their findings past the facts (that’s what television is for). So just because you read an article that pointed out behavioral dimorphism in gorillas doesn’t mean you can extend that to 21st century human beings. In fact, you probably shouldn’t because you’ll probably look like an idiot (and end up pissing off Megyn Kelly)

megyn kelly

Megyn Kelly complimenting, but not dominating, the Fox News logo (Photo credit: glamourmagazine)

So instead of proving some point about the sexes, you’ve only held up a mirror to reflect your own inner beliefs, Erick. And your beliefs have more basis in the Old Testament than they do the science lab. It wasn’t science that said “women should obey their husbands”, that was the Abrahamic God (Colossians 3:18). And it’s not science that says women are ruining our society, that’s you.

It’s sad that we are having this discussion in 2013. We should be ashamed that we’ve given a platform to these men. It’s degrading to the women (also known as these men’s sisters, mothers, wives, friends, coworkers) who have overcome so much to earn a financial place at the table, and it’s disgraceful to the young girls and emerging women in this country who have to listen to their importance trivialized. Despite what Lou Dobbs, Juan Williams, or Erick Erickson think, we need them, and not in the kitchen, but in the office and in the boardroom. Our world is too complex, too important and too precarious to leave 50% of the population out of the discussion.

 

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