The Republican-lead House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that would repeal the law of gravity, signaling a showdown with the Senate where the bill’s chances are uncertain.
Republican lawmakers signaled they would soon target the theory of evolution and perhaps the theory of relativity as well.
“First we declared the science of climate change invalid, said pollution wasn’t harming our planet and that the EPA can’t do anything about it,” said Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH). “As long as we continue to reject the evidence, then it’s no longer a problem—at least while we’re in office anyway. We’ll leave it to our kids and grandkids to solve.”
In both cases, Democratic amendments that would’ve required each bill’s supporters to stick their heads in the sand were rejected on partisan lines. Rep. Ed Markey, (D-Mass.) lead the fight against these bills.
“Rejecting science is a slippery slope, where does it end?” Markey said. “In a way I can understand the Republican stance on climate change because they’re in the back pockets of oil and coal interests, even if it’s reprehensible, that’s where their money is—but to repeal gravity? That’s a dangerous precedent.”
Democrats said Republicans were trying to legislate on science, rather than leaving it up to the experts—an assertion that was fully acknowledged by the Republican leadership.
House Speaker John Boehner said rejecting science was a way for his party to placate the religious right and large corporations at the same time. He rejected suggestions that it might be dangerous for politicians to tinker with or reject years of scientific research.
“Frankly I’m a little mixed on guys like Einstein,” Boehner said. “I mean, his theory led the way to nuclear weapons, which totally kicks ass, but he was also something of a peacenik. If we could just re-write the theory of relativity then I could go back in time and try to convince him that it’s wrong to use science and reason to solve problems when they conflict with corporate interests. That’s a chance worth taking and we’ll have that bill before a committee next week.”
Boehner said the laws of physics were just like government regulations and were killing economic growth. He said allowing any company to pollute the air and poison drinking water would be crucial to getting campaign contributions from industrial heavyweights.
He also noted that Republicans have always rejected science whenever it got in the way of corporate profits, but he insisted that repealing gravity would have benefits for average Americans as well.
“Think of all those kids growing up with polluted air and contaminated drinking water,” Boehner said as he started to cry. “We need to reduce the impact of our gutting of environmental protections by reducing the burden of gravity. We’re only thinking of the children here, and my golf game. I might finally get a hole in one without gravity getting in the way.”
Markey said he would offer a bill of his own that would bar anyone who rejects science, including climate change and evolution, from going to see a doctor.
“Modern medicine is based on science, it’s based on the theory of evolution. Anyone who rejects science ought to give up going to the doctor in order to be consistent,” Markey said. “They can turn to snake handling or whatever else they believe in. If you don’t believe in science then you don’t believe in modern medicine, it’s that simple.”
Bass, leader of the fight against science, said he would actually support Markey’s bill and noted that he himself gave up on doctors last year when one of them refused to give him an old-fashioned blood letting. He was also offended that his doctor believed in evolution and the scientific method.
“This doctor was such an elitist, throwing his knowledge and education in my face, yet he knew nothing about the four humors and said it had been discredited ages ago. I could tell my yellow bile and black bile were out of whack and I needed to be bled, but he wanted to draw some samples and send them off to a lab—a scientific lab,” Bass said with a shudder. “I’ve been using leeches at home and carrying a buckeye in my pocket to ward off headaches instead.”