Weird Science: Six ‘Scientific’ Hypotheses That Right-Wingers Insist Are True

Photo by David Ball

Mike Huckabee isn’t the only conservative now defending Todd Akin (R-MO) — who is still running to replace Claire McCaskill (D-MO) in the U.S. Senate. Huckabee and other religious right leaders within the GOP insist that Akin is right — although many of the party’s leading figures — including the party’s presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus — asked Akin to withdraw after the congressman said that victims of “legitimate rape” can’t get pregnant.

Conservapedia – the right-wing alternative to Wikipedia – not only supports Akin, but has published a footnoted reference that defends Akin’s scientific prognosis about “legitimate rape” victims — something that only Rep. Steve King (R-IA), of all elected Republicans, has attempted to do so far. “In the experience of most sexual assault centers, the chance of pregnancy occurring is quite low,” says Conservapedia, quoting from “the classic text book by Lentz.” It’s a text that American women impregnated by rape — estimated between 25,000 and 32,000 victims annually — would surely dispute.

Rewriting science to fit a political agenda is a constant complaint conservatives voice about liberals. Yet the left believes in the academic discipline of rigorous peer review. The right continually relies on literal interpretations of the Bible and pseudo-science, which is the only way you’d ever buy any of the following ideas.

Dinosaurs existed at the same time as humans, and still exist

Picture by David Berkowitz via Flickr

You may know that in the state of Louisiana students are being taught that the Loch Ness Monster is real. The belief that dinosaurs existed at the same time as mankind — and still may exist today — is crucial to “New Earth Creationism,” which posits that the earth – as the Bible says – is only six thousand years old. How else would you explain these recent dinosaur sightings in Papua New Guinea?

Abortion causes breast cancer

Image by pfala via Flickr

You’ll find this canard in the literature of the hundreds of organizations that work to prevent women from making the choice to end a pregnancy. It’s been disproven over and over — and yet ironically is often proclaimed by the same people who would like to cut funding cancer screenings and cancer research.

Stephen Hawking is a hack

Picture by rubberpaw via Flickr

“A scientific law is not a scientific law if it holds only when some supernatural being decides not to intervene,” writes Stephen Hawking, former holder of Cambridge University’s Lucasian Professorship of Mathematics, a position that has been held by only 17 men including Isaac Newton. Not so! says writer Russell Gigg. Gigg contests the world’s most famous living scientist using his best logic and advises Hawking to find the true answers from the epistles of John. Making faith scientifically valid is a constant pursuit of the right. But it’s not like they’re taking on Einstein…

E=mc² has never yielded anything of value

In The Republican Brain, author Chris Mooney uses the right’s attack on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity as the central metaphor for a brain that refuses to accept the validity of science. The most famous equation in the world, E=mc² did more than make nuclear science possible, as astronomer Arlin Crotts notes: “It just laid bare the fact that all this stuff lying around us is potentially a tremendous reservoir of energy, almost beyond the imagination, if only we could devise ways to get at it.” From relativity, Einstein suggested that we might get at “the mind of God.” That this could be possible without quoting the Bible is disturbing to many evangelicals.

It’s virtually impossible to get AIDS through heterosexual sex

Just this week Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield made this claim that has been used to spread misinformation about AIDS since the 1980s. The primary way AIDS is transmitted in the US is through male-to-male sexual activity and intravenous drug use. But it is completely possible for heterosexual sex to transmit AIDS. In fact, the UN has found that most new cases of AIDS in Africa are the result of heterosexual sex. Such misinformation is not only dangerous, but intentionally demonize homosexuals.

Religious upbringing can affect rates of homosexuality

Central to the argument of denying gays and lesbians complete equality, including marriage, is the idea that being homosexual is a lifestyle choice. The notion that people would choose to join a group that is reviled and bullied by those who dominate religious culture is laughable. But conservatives believe – as mainstream medicine did until the 1970s – that being gay is a sinful condition that can be “cured.” And if it can be cured, it can be prevented with religion. There is no scientific evidence proving that “gay conversion” actually works or that homosexuality can be prevented.

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