Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hey, how about some ‘legitimate’ science?

If only this was new. Many would have us believe that the comments by Representative Todd Akin of Missouri were “fringe” views or not representative of the Republican party and conservative Christian circles he is a part of; if only that were true. 

When Akin was asked what he thought about abortion being legal in cases of rape and incest, he said that "First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare, if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down, but let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. You know I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.” What?!

There’s two incredibly offensive points just in that short statement—first the suggestion that only certain rapes are “legitimate,” and second the complete medical falsehood that a female can “shut it down” when necessary.   Akin says he misspoke, but more likely it was a “Freudian slip.” Last year, Akin co-sponsored a bill with Paul Ryan that would have denied the use of federal funds for abortions only in cases of “forcible rape.”   Heck, the GOP platform seeks to deny abortion in ALL instances. Akin’s views are hardly fringe.

That the GOP is distancing themselves from Akin’s comments and demanding he abandon his run for Senate in Missouri has little to do with their disagreement with his views but rather with the realization that his continued presence in election may cost the Republicans the election.   Tonight on Hannity, Sean pretended that he wanted Akin to quit out of principle, but Hannity’s guests revealed the truth;  Akin is/was the Republican’s best shot at beating a Democratic incumbent and taking control over the Senate.   Missouri is also a crucial swing state in the upcoming presidential election, and if a few more vote Obama in response to Akin, there goes the state and therefore the election.

Akin’s comments represent a continued problem with conservative Christianity in general.   Whenever science disagrees with the theological or political views of conservative Christians, they simply deny the legitimacy of science.   This idea that women can “shut it down,” is hardly new—I heard the same thing when I was in junior high while in Christian school.  It’s just another example of Christians either denying science or simply making up their own to fit their own views.

This tactic of denying science or simply making up their own has been done again and again.  Global warming?  Scientists the world over all assured us the global warming was a coming reality, something that will require drastic action to stop or at least slow down.  Yet thanks to a smear campaign and their own “science,” most doubt the existence of global warming.  Evolution?  Again, having discarded and denied science, conservative Christians have made up their own “creation science” in order to prove the “veracity” of the Genesis account(s).  Of course, those who actually claim to be Christians and accept modern science are “denying the truth of the Word of God.”

Christianity denying science goes back hundreds of years. Copernicus, the man who discovered that the earth actually revolved around the sun, held back publishing his findings until he was on his death bed in fear of the backdraft he would face from the Church.  Galileo actually had to recant his acceptance of this same view under threat of excommunication.  What was the big deal with this new science by Copernicus? It contradicted the Bible—Joshua 10:13 says that the sun stood still, which obviously meant that the sun revolved around the earth.  Copernicus then was “contradicting the Bible.” Sound familiar?

Thankfully, all “Christians” don’t think that way (me for one), but for those who do, it’s time for a change—stop twisting or simply denying facts when they don’t fit with your point of view.


  1. Nice, but in my opinion - no cigar. Science and the pious practice two mutually exclusive ways of knowing. They hold little in common except some scientists are religious. Further, only one has a built in self correcting mechanism to weed out errors - science. Because of the scientific method the scope of science is limited. Religion requires only a claim of truth so there exists as many religious beliefs as populations hence religion can claim universality. A belief in Zeus is today is as valid as a belief Jehovah - maybe out of fashion but perfectly valid.

    1. "A prominent element of belief, therefore, or a least of the suspension of disbelief, is always presupposed, even when the system in question repudiates belief and purports to base itself solely on scientific procedures--and perhaps especially then! - John Douglas Hall