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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bush Hires Mad Scientist

Just one more reason to be glad we put a brakeman on this runaway train in the midterms -- the Bush administration has a preference for crazy people. John Bolton has a rage problem, Rummie has conversations with himself, and they're tight with the religious right -- who are all a brick short of a load.

Let me define crazy for this post; someone who rejects reality in favor of an ideological fantasyland. The neocons -- Bolton and Rumsfeld -- are this kind of crazy. Everything's falling down around our ears and they're convinced they're doing a great job. At the end, Rummie excelled at craziness, comparing himself to Churchill and displaying a high opinion of himself that has not been supported by the facts. Rumsfeld is almost literally the stereotypical basketcase who's convinced that he's Napoleon.

In a triumph of ideology over reason, Bushco has pursued a public health policy that just plain doesn't work. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the administration has not only been pushing a policy that doesn't work, they're pushing a program that they have to know doesn't work.

ABC News:

The informational materials distributed by government-funded abstinence programs are not reviewed for scientific accuracy, according to [a recent GAO] report, nor are the abstinence programs required to provide any assurance that their materials are accurate. In some instances, according to the report, those materials are providing inaccurate claims about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.

This information is being put out by the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), who offer this explanation for the problem:


...In response, the Department of Health and Human Services -- which has on staff more than a few scientists and other educated types -- said the GAO's suggestion was useless. "GAO never defines the term 'scientific accuracy' in its report," HHS complained. "As such, it is difficult to precisely determine the criteria employed by GAO in making the recommendations as to scientific accuracy."

"Oh! It's so difficult defining 'true' and 'untrue!'" They might as well have said, "We're idiots and don't understand this concept of 'doesn't work.'"

Given that HHS isn't all that concerned with scientific accuracy -- hell, they claim they don't even know what it means -- it's no surprise that this sort of thing is playing out at the Office of Population Affairs with the appointment of Dr. Eric Keroack. Keroack is currently the head of A Woman‘s Concern -- a pro-life group in Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, this has made a lot of people unhappy.

Associated Press:

"The appointment of anti-birth control, anti-sex education advocate Dr. Eric Keroack to oversee the nation‘s family planning program is striking proof that the Bush administration remains dramatically out of step with the nation‘s priorities," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.

Even better, Keroack's an honest to goodness quack -- with a bad case of crazy-eyes, to boot (see photo). Call him a mad scientist.

The good doctor suffers from the same problem that creationists face, bass-ackward scientific thinking. They start with a conclusion and find reasons to believe it. So Keroack believes that sex before marriage is bad for you -- physically -- and has come up with a reason why this is so. Not a good reason or even a sane reason, but a reason.

Keroack claims that emotional bonding releases oxytocin, a hormone. This bonds people to each other through attraction and love. According to Keroack, people who are promiscuous are basically abusing this hormone and will wind up crazy or something -- I'm not really sure. Talk To Action has a better explanation of his line of BS than I can give here (along with the incredibly cheesy powerpoint slides he uses).

Like creationists, Keroack's crackpottery suffers from a logical deficit -- it doesn't make a damned bit of sense. For example, there's this from his presentation:

Forty percent of couples who live together break up before they marry and of the 60 percent that do marry, 40 percent of them divorce after 10 years. ... So why do so many adults continue in a cycle of sex without a marriage commitment, cohabitation, and failed relationships? This perpetual cycle of misery is due largely to the role of oxytocin...

This is completely illogical. If the reason for the break-ups is physiological, then what the hell would marriage have to do with anything? Wouldn't the couples who'd lived together before getting married be in exactly the same situation as those who'd been married from the gitgo? Like all 'faith-based science,' buying it requires that you turn your brain off and deliberately ignore all the obvious contradictions.

Apparently, the fact that he's a junk science quack doesn't bother the administration at all. In fact, you'd imagine they see it as a strength. He's what the kooks in the religious right want and if he screws up people's lives with this crap, so what? The biblebangers get their screwball and the GOP gets the resulting votes.

It's a win/win. Well, except for all the young mothers out there who got stuck with a baby because none of this 'faith-based' crap works.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's good to see Chimpy spending all that political capital he earned on November 7th. The past 6 years have been an absolute nightmare.