With apologies to Theodosius Dobzhansky.
If you hadn’t heard, the House Republicans, after punching themselves in the nuts for over two weeks, finally managed to elect a Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson. Even by Republican standards, he’s out there, and that includes a full-throttled embrace of young earth creationism (boldface mine):
In addition to blaming abortion for mass shootings, Johnson has also claimed that the teaching of evolution has played a part. In a 2016 sermon, he told the audience, “People say, ‘How can a young person go into their schoolhouse and open fire on their classmates?’ Because we’ve taught a whole generation—a couple generations now—of Americans, that there’s no right or wrong, that it’s about survival of the fittest, and [that] you evolve from the primordial slime. Why is that life of any sacred value? Because there’s nobody sacred to whom it’s owed. None of this should surprise us.”
In related news, a year prior, Johnson filed a lawsuit for an organization to receive tax subsidies to build a Noah’s Ark–focused theme park in Kentucky. “When the Ark Project sails, everybody will benefit,” he wrote in an op-ed, “even those who are stubbornly trying to sink it.” The Ark Encounter is operated by a fundamentalist Christian group that believes in creationism.
For those not familiar with creationists, he’s not of the variety that is attempting to reconcile God and science, Johnson is going Full Chick Tract here.
Why does this matter (besides the potential for fucking up science policy in the U.S. even more)? Because Johnson embodies the typical mode of creationist argumentation: bullshit arguments in service of a Greater Truth. As a member of the House, Johnson uttered this about abortion (boldface mine):
Ahead of Wednesday’s speakership vote, House Judiciary Democrats posted a video on X of Johnson saying Roe v. Wade “gave constitutional cover to the elected killing of unborn children in America, period. You think about the implications of that on the economy. We’re all struggling here to cover the bases of social security and medicare and medicaid and all the rest. If we had all those able bodied workers in the economy, we wouldn’t be going upside down and toppling over like this.”
While this is all kinds of stupid, it’s not clear Johnson really believes this, if for no other reason, that a similar argument could be made for increased immigration. But to the creationist, it doesn’t matter. There is the great truth, in this case Abortion Is Evil, and flinging bullshit, the little lies to protect the Great Truth, is appropriate.
Hopefully, Republicans will lose control in 2025. Until then, it’s going to be really fucking stupid.