"American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains,"
- Delaware's GOP Senate Candidate Christine O'Donnell
2007, Bill O'Reilly interview
This is the woman that the GOP is endorsing for the senate seat previously held by Vice President Biden. It is not the craziest thing she has said, not by a long shot.
So.........what is the reality that Ms. O'Donnell-the-Dumb got so very wrong?
You can read it here. It has to do with chimeras used in stem cell research.
I know that not every conservative is a failure at understanding science. There are some brilliant researchers, and practitioners in medical fields, and other endeavors requiring a grasp of science, who happen to be conservative. But the right seems to have a tolerance, a fascination, a far greater acceptance for political candidates who promote strange, unsupported, unscientific versions of reality. Be it doubting evolution, or believing the earth is only 6,000 years old because of notions about a supposedly literal interpretation of the Bible, or the denial of Einstein's theory of relativity, or any number of other strange, mondo-bizarro ideas that ignore or defy reality, they promote these people and turn them into celebrities.
It should bother people who vote that Ms. O'Donnell is so stupid that she would embrace such notions.
But then, it should bother people who vote every time they hear the code words "common sense solutions" too. Common sense solutions appears to be code for the notion that problems are simple, so solutions are simple.
They don't have to learn nothin'; they don't have to know nothin', and therefore just anybody is equally qualified to enact legislation to address issues of government. A parallel assertion is that anyone who respects academic credentials is some sort of intellectual snob - because of course, they would prefer to believe that education is unnecessary, or that educational institutions rankings are meaningless.
I do agree with my conservative blogging friends that formal education is not the only source of wisdom or knowledge. I've never claimed academic institutions have a monopoly on learning.
But what this is really asserting on the right is that if problems are simple and 'common sense' simple solutions work, then we can ignore complexity, we can ignore intellect. I suppose that makes the challenges we face in our time, at the local, state, national and international levels less scary, perhaps less serious. It means in their alternate dimensional reality that ideological purity is sufficient unto the day for every problem, every challenge, every circumstance.
It is a position that ignores reality, eschews complexity, and devalues education. Education is not a commodity that one can simply purchase, without making a personal effort to expand the ability to reason, or the mastery of a subject.
News flash! Life is complex, and oversimplification means failure to understand or solve problems. The problems facing our nation aren't simple. There are no 'common sense' simple solutions. There are a lot of proposed solutions which are ridiculous, which are irresponsible - like the Bush tax cuts in the face of a steeply rising deficit. There are so-called common sense solutions which do not correctly identify problems, do not solve the problems, and which if implemented would have not only no success but create more problems -- much like continuing the Bush tax cuts would fail to create jobs, would compound the decimation of the middle class by expanding the gap, the chasm, the abyss expanding between the rich 2 or 3% of Americans and the rest of us.
We don't need more dummies, like O'Donnell or Palin in office. Any time you hear stupid statements like "scientists are making mice with completely human brains', or stupid buzz words like 'common sense solutions', you should run not walk in the opposite direction. We should NOT give these people money or other encouragement. If they are at a rally where such stupid statements are made, people should - politely - jeer, not cheer. And they should never, ever vote for these candidates.