The controversy over Rep. Todd Akin’s comment, that women’s bodies are capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of rape, reflects the conservative vision of a sector of the GOP that is incapable of reconciling scientific knowledge with their values.
Akin has become a pariah inside his party, because the outrageous comment he made during a TV interview has endangered Republican ambitions to recover the Senate. For this plan to come to fruition, a win in Missouri, where Akin is running for the Senate, is essential.
In this case, there is an election angle. However, we are more concerned that although he has these ideas about human biology, Akin is a member of the House Science and Technology Committee. And this is no coincidence.
The medical theory Akin expressed has been and continues to be promoted by Dr. John C. Willke, who for more than a decade has led the National Right to Life Committee. It is not surprising that this viewpoint has captivated staunch opponents of abortion, those who do not justify it even in rape cases, without caring that the majority of doctors completely reject this.
Another example is global warming, produced by polluting emissions like carbon dioxide. In this case, the industry is the one arguing that the growing body of scientific evidence developed for years is a lie. They have great financial incentives to believe in a small number of scientists who support the industry’s theory through studies funded by the industry itself.
Lastly, the theory of evolution is the other big enemy among conservative circles. It is simpler to attack this idea instead of reconciling it with religious beliefs. That is why there are some who believe the world was created 10,000 years ago and humans were riding dinosaurs.
Throughout history, science and popular beliefs have come face to face time and again. As a result, the world is not flat and our planet is not the center of the universe. Nevertheless, false political premises like Akin’s still persist, especially when it comes to scientific matters; they quiet consciences, advance ideologies and/or fatten pockets. But there is not an iota of truth in them.