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Would Charles Darwin Have Made a Good Congressman? 155

Posted by Soulskill
from the descent-by-natural-election dept.
sciencehabit writes "It's a good 130 years too late to answer that question empirically, but at least symbolically Charles Darwin has won support from more than 4000 voters in the 10th congressional district of Georgia, thanks to an initiative headed by James Leebens-Mack, a plant biologist at the University of Georgia in Athens. Like many others, Leebens-Mack was deeply troubled by a speech his Congressman, Paul Broun (R-GA), gave at an Athens church in October deriding teachings on evolution, embryology, and the big bang theory as 'lies straight from the pit of Hell.' Broun, a medical doctor, is a member of the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and chair of its Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. Leebens-Mack says the 'protest vote should make it clear to future opponents that there are a lot of people in the district who are not happy with antiscience statements.'"
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Would Charles Darwin Have Made a Good Congressman?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @07:14PM (#41937137)

    It all comes down to this:

    Why doesn't Leebens-Mack run against Broun himself in 2014? "I am a scientist, not a politician," he says. "I enjoy my job as a plant biologist. It would be too big a sacrifice to give that up to run for Congress."

    Who doesn't feel the same way? That's not quite rhetorical; turns out you probably know someone who doesn't agree with that. But they're also someone you probably don't like, aren't they?

  • Re:Rational (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PraiseBob (1923958) on Friday November 09, 2012 @07:31PM (#41937289)
    And therein the problem: What rational person would go through the political process, where they are attacked relentlessly for months, with political teams spending millions of dollars to damage their reputation, digging up every skeleton in their closet, casting them as some type of dangerous idiot, and trying to turn a person's community against them?

    That kind of job description has a hard time getting rational applicants who aren't motivated by goals of personal power.
  • Re:Rational (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday November 09, 2012 @08:47PM (#41938137) Journal

    And therein the problem: What rational person would go through the political process,

    Someone who thinks they can make a change.
    The 2010 batch of Tea Party representitives are a good example.
    Despite holding political views way out in the fringe, they ran for office because they thought they could make a change.
    They have: they've repeatedly stymied the Democratic agenda and, on more than one ocassion, have tripped up the Republican agenda too.
    And I wouldn't call them irrational. Within their framework of ideas, they are very rational actors.

    Elizabeth Warren is another example of a well meaning person who went through a bruising political fight to get a Senate seat.
    She created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Republicans refused her nomination to head the agency,
    so she ran for the Senate in Massachussetts.

  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday November 10, 2012 @01:06AM (#41939913) Homepage Journal

    Actually, the job of Congressman is crap; you get egoboo but you're a slave to fundraising and spend as much or more time in shabby political boiler room offices calling around begging for money as you do in your nice government office. It's stunningly degrading, and the average person wouldn't be able to stand it. You probably helps to be a major attention-hound, but it still stinks. It's much better when you get out of Congress and become a lobbyist who can afford to screen his calls.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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