Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stupid for President

Most people who come to this blog will probably already know that Richard Dawkins has an opinion piece in the Washington Post today.

Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a Fact.

The point of the article is that intelligence should be considered a qualification for being President, and knowledge of evolution is a good litmus test for intelligence.

On that test, certain candidates for office clearly come out as unqualified. They are the types of candidates for a position as important as President that should not even be on the list - let alone the short list - of possibilities.

The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.

I consider this to be an important point.

We need to make intelligence a qualification for President - or at least make stupidity a disqualifier. And it is true that a basic knowledge of reality is how you test for basic intelligence. People who do not know simple scientific facts - the earth is round, it orbits the sun, it is made up of atoms, it is 4.5 billion years old, life emerged through a gradual process of evolution - are just too stupid to be President.

Other tests of stupidity: Prayer in school is not a defense against terrorist attacks, gay marriage does not cause earthquakes or effect the course of hurricanes, and it is not the case that we need not fear the long-term consequences of our action because Jesus will be here any day now.

If we are not going to be concerned with the intellectual qualifications for president, why put an age limit on who can run for office? There are fifth graders that score higher on these qualifications than many of the people who have made it to the top of the Republican short list.


UsefulMom said...

The big problem with this is that many people are threatened by intelligent people. Living in Texas, the phrase, "You think you're better than me?!" comes to mind. People flocked to GW because he was "just like them." When we get a really smart candidate, you start hearing words like, "intellectual-elite," and "ivory tower," getting thrown around. People by into that us against them notion.

I sure don't want a president that's "just like us." Because, while he or she may be smarter than half the population, they're still dumber than the other half.

NeilE said...

It's hard to believe that someone who's as stupid as Perry appears to be could become governor of Texas, let alone a candidate for president.

Any system, such as Democracy, that obeys the will of the majority popular opinion has got to be open to gaming. What are the odds that someone like Perry believes one thing, but is selling whatever will get him into office (religion, guns and intelligent duh-sign)?

Anonymous said...

I think Dawkins may be the dim bulb. Only Luddites would fail to see the challenge that ID is presenting to Darwinism. I have seen Dawkins in debates with IDers and no amount of facts can sway his bigotry.
As Bloom says in his great book, and paraphrasing, when reason becomes prejudice, it is the worst form of prejudice, because reason frees us from prejudice.
That perfectly decribes the wrong-headed scientists especially those who have fallen for Darwinism and the silly global warming debacle. Let me throw Hawkins in there for his goofy attack on theism.

dbonfitto said...

Facts? Are you talking about relevant experimentally and observationally supported evidence or just "things you know are true?"

Alonzo Fyfe said...


Yep. It's like that whole "earth is round and revolves around its axis" crowd. The idiots just close their eyes to the fact that if the earth was actually spinning that we would be thrown off into space. Have you ever twirled something in your hand and let go? Does it stay circling around your hand? Of course not! Fools. They are so obviously wrong.

mojo.rhythm said...

Amen. Intelligence and awareness of the facts disqualifies most of the current crop of GOP candidates. Including Ron Paul.

dbonfitto said...


If gravity is true than why are there still yo-yos?

Therefore: magic is real and by extension the Bible is true.

We'd better get a big box for these FACTS because I can probably churn them out all day...

Dea said...

Awesome points. But I fear this crop of candidates is the beginning of the success of right-wing christian political activism that started taking root in the 70s. People who have been so indoctrinated and trained to go into politics with blinders on - only seeing what they were taught their whole lives. The US needs to respond by fixing public schooling and banning homeschooling.

Anonymous said...


PaulE said...

"Stupid For President"

:) This is the greatest post I've seen on any blog. I feel that my mother, who is a Bush follower(whatever that means), would be a better president than that man.

Also I feel like our "term" system is pretty stupid. Say we do get a good president... When his two terms are up, we will have to lose him. No matter what. I don't think this is very smart. Our president should be voted out of office just as he is voted in.