August 28th, 2007
12:30 PM ET
3 years ago

GOP candidate: Science war is a myth

Brownback spoke at Armstrong's cancer forum Tuesday.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback said Tuesday that, contrary to what Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton claims, there is no war on science being waged by the Bush administration.

"I absolutely disagree," the Kansas senator said. "That is not taking place."

Speaking at Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG Presidential Cancer Forum in Cedar Rapids, Brownback pledged he would "actively fund science."

Brownback went on to say that he "believes in" stem cell research, but that he does not "believe you should kill a young life to do this... I believe all life is sacred."

The Kansas senator's comments came in response to what happened Monday at the Democratic forum, when Sen. Hillary Clinton said President Bush is at the helm of what a "war against science."

"What really bothers me," Clinton said, "is that we are on the brink of so many medical breakthroughs right now [and] the current administration has literally called a halt to the war with cancer."

– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch


Filed under: Iowa • Sam Brownback
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Mstessyrue, Seattle, Washington

    As the presidential debates heat up and tensions increase, the candidates need to be reminded of the critical issues that still trouble our society today. Issue such as global poverty needs to be address by our candidates to each other and to the general public. As one of the nations that has pledge to fulfill the goals of Millennium Development Project, whose goal is the elimination of world hunger and poverty, the Bush Administration has not shown any substantial action to bring this fundamental problem to a stop. According to the Borgen Project, dedicated to fighting and ending Poverty around the world, only $19 billion dollars are needed annually to stop world wide poverty, hunger and malnutrition. However, more than $340 billion dollars has been poured into this “war on terror.” And each year, our country has a military budge of $522 billion dollars. It's time for a new leader who will be addressing an issue that affects 1.2 billion people everyday worldwide.

    August 28, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. bob from Dover, Delaware home of the Military Morgue

    How many people feel that Science and God can't live together. Not very many if they have studied either to any extent. Albert Einstein and his fellow physicists would often say they did believe in God and I personally think that Science is the same thing as Chinese companies stealing our products and then mass producing knock off items. God created the Universe and Scientists are reverse engineering it to better understand it. Maybe the library of congress needs to get more books on Religion and Science so our Representatives know a thing or two before they open their mouths or put pen to paper.

    August 28, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    What a ridiculous assertion.Mr. Brownback is one of the foremost "god's Warriors" in congress.This individual has little or no grasp of reality.He actually believes that the earth is still flat.That dinosaurs walked with man,etc.How in our society is it possible that people like this are taken seriously at all? The state of Kansas has been the brunt of so many jokes as a result of these looneys,that the residents face ridicule when they travel.They've taken back their school boards,now it's time for you to take back your congressman,this guy's unacceptable.

    August 28, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Ryan, New York, NY

    The man who doesn't believe in evolution and fought to get his state, Kansas, to change their educational system to reflect that belief doesn't believe there's a war on science??? But he thinks there's a war on religion???

    Can he just drop out soon? His stupidity could be contagious.

    August 28, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    "What really bothers me," Clinton said, "is that we are on the brink of so many medical breakthroughs right now [and] the current administration has literally called a halt to the war with cancer."

    Ahhh yes – good old Clinton politics. Remember how her husband (Bill Clinton) used "the children" and how republicans were out to hurt "the children"?

    Now Bush and Republicans are PRO-cancer?

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for no-change, politics as usual.

    August 28, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Joe, Yorktown, VA

    Imagine all of the neat scientific breakthroughs we could have acheived as a nation in the last 7 years. Thanks Bush.

    August 28, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Concerned Individual, Columbus Ohio

    Senator Brownback saying there is no war against science and that he would fund science is extremely funny. This coming from a guy who's very own state denounces science and probably thinks the world is flat.

    August 28, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Pat, Huntington Station, NY

    No war on science by Bush and co.? Puhleeze Sen. Brownback! This coming from the same guy who doesn't believe in evolution, and thinks the world and the universe are only about 5000 years old, despite FACTUAL evidence establishing the Earth's age at over 4.5 billion years, and the age of the universe much longer than that! No wonder this country is falling behind in the sciences as compared to Europe and China! Question Sen Brownback, if Adam and Eve had only two sons, and one killed the other, and there's no indication in the bible they had a daugter with whome the surviving son could commit inscest, then how did the rest of humanity come about? I guess the dinosaurs are a liberal-concocted conspiracy as well!

    August 28, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Bubba, Swainsboro GA

    Brownback wouldn't lie to us, now would he? Hmmmmmmm? A guy from Kansas doesn't have a problem with scientific facts like evolution, gravity, and entropy, now does he? No, I bet he's telling us the truth.

    August 28, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Sam said he doesn't believe in evolution, and his understanding of the law and facts of stem cell research proves that he is not a higher life form deserving of higher office.

    August 28, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. pl, at the UN, for a while.

    I am a diplomat on American soil. I cannot vote.

    I will scan papers' comments starting tonight. On the face of it though it doesn't sound as the kind of positions thet will attract much ink.

    August 28, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  12. Joliene, Newark, DE

    There is a lack of understanding about science in Washington. I am a scientist and it is evident in the rhetoric that is going on. However, cancer research is the most funded area in science research. It is hard to get grants unless there is some correlation to cancer. I think there should be more money in science but for all science not just cancer research!

    August 28, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  13. Dan, TX

    Science funding is insufficient in the US. However, you can't add money for science while you are mortgaging your future to fight terrorism.

    As an aside: The Soviet Union collapsed because of our conspiracy with our ally, Saudi Arabia. We forced an arms race onto the Soviets and Saudi Arabia flooded the market with oil so the Soviet Union could not raise money to fund it. They went bankrupt. If we are in an arms race with the terrorists and we spend $1 million for every $1 they spend, we can go bankrupt too.

    Right now an increasing proportion of scientists in the US are foreign born. That is why it is important to keep immigration going strong. The US students entering science are, unfortunately, too lazy to compete and ill prepared (turns out that video games, myspace, and reality TV don't prepare you for science education).

    The EU and China are increasing science budgets as we do our best to try to tred water. Some Chinese born faculty in the US are choosing to return to China because science is better funded there and they can make great salaries. Look at the premiere science journals. Look back and see how most of the research articles used to be written by US scientists. Look today at how many are written by non-US citizens. It used to be that scientists would go to international meetings and have the most impressive talks. Not so, anymore. Our top labs are still the top, but the rank and file scientist is no longer at the top – and maybe not even competitive. You can be a genius, but if you can't pay for people to work in your lab, you won't be productive.

    The US is losing its position as the world's leader in technology and innovation. If you doubt that, you are in denial. We need to start educating people to make the choice, accept that we are no longer the strongest, smartest, hardest working nation n the world, or step up to the plate now, and really redouble our effort at education. Our culture tells us that sports figures and entertainers are the most important and admired people.

    We tell our children that scientists are losers in our culture. Scientists believe that the forces of evolution explains the changes in the distribution of genetic differences in populations. Some misguided and misinformed people think that somehow that is against their religion. The Pope accepts it, why wouldn't everyone for God's sake? The message we send to our children is that scientists are bad people. That spells the end of America as a leader and a dominant country in the world.

    August 28, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    The Science war is a myth to these neocons only because ALL science is a myth to them. They would rather use the politics of fear and division through their right wing religious beliefs to keep themselves in power, because they know that if people ever actually started to think for themselves they wouldn't have a chance of being reelected.

    We have become an embarrassment to the world through ideological wars both foriegn and domestic. We throw around catch phrases like "war on terror" or "war on science" because it's the only thing our backward thinking Republican Congressmen can enunciate clearly, because otherwise they would sound like the cave men that they no doubt are.

    How dare they try to turn back history, rewrite history, for their own benefit.

    There was another regime that tried to do much the same sort of scare tactics and heavy use of propaganda.

    Thank you very much but a Third Reich was enough, we don't need a Fourth one.

    Do not try to tell me there's no battle to decide the hearts and minds of America. Do not try and tell me that there is not a battle against reason, compassion and common sense versus ideology and hate. Do not try to tell me that Senator Brownback knows anything of real life pain and suffering because if he did, he would have acted in time to save the thousands upon thousands of lives that stem cell research could have saved, relatives who contract diabetes, cancer, parkinsons, alzhiemers, and many other serious ailments, instead of playing to his base and not even bothering to read the bills that he himself no doubt voted against.

    Those bills recently passed do not even suggest the use of embryonic research, they would allow research to turn ADULT cells into stem cells. But Mr. Brownback and others of the Bush ilk would have you believe otherwise because it is simply more politically expedient than dealing with reality.

    August 28, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. David, Salinas, CA

    As a working scientist I can testify that the Bush administration’s war on science is no myth. Republican roadblocks to fundamental research and open disclosure of information are facts of life in today’s science community.

    Some of this stems from moral assumptions decidedly outside the mainstream of American values, including opposition to stem cell research, opposition to sex education, removing information about condoms from HIV web sites, and attempts to teach “intelligent design” in science classes.

    Other differences are entirely economic, including allowing logging, mining and drilling in national forests, slashing cancer and other medical research funding, and cherry-picking data as well as outright lying about global warming. Former oil-industry executives are allowed to re-write scientific reports from within the White House. The information government scientists are allowed to publish is that which supports the business interests of Republican contributors. That may be good for Exxon and Haliburton, but it’s not good science.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization of distinguished scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and science advisers to past Republican presidents made this clear in their report "Scientific Integrity in Policymaking," Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union, said: "We found a serious pattern of undermining science by the Bush administration, and it crosses disciplines, whether it's global climate changes or reproductive health or mercury in the food chain, or forestry - the list goes on and on,"

    Unless we allow American scientists to do real research, publish real results, and teach real science, America will fall behind the rest of the industrialized world in the global marketplace. We can’t afford that.

    August 28, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Lyons Steve

    Just what we need: a Bush apologist and anti-science nutcase like Brownback.

    Ignoring blatant actions by the Bushies to counter science at every turn – be it at the EPA, stem cell research, the non-approval of drugs like tetrabenazine that helps with horrible diseases, the moronic denial of global warming – what ol' Sam has done for himself with his brainless remarks is immediate disqualification as a suitable candidate for president of the U.S.

    We've had enough of liars and religious extremists. Go away, Sammy.

    August 28, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Patrick, Denver Colorado

    Can some of you please tell me just what scientific progress has been stopped by the Bush administration. Stem Cell research is more funded than ever, just not be public tax dollars which would be funding projects that many of us feel is immoral. Global Warming one major strike against my argument. Although to be fair to Mr. Bush I have never heard him say that he doesn't believe in global warming or that it isn't man made, he just doesn't agree that government imposed rules is the answer. I don't agree with this but that is a fair argument to take. Please tell me what scientific progress he has stopped?

    August 28, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Greg, NY, NY

    Pat from Huntington Station,

    Tell me you don't know that the dinosaur bones came from Noah's Ark. How can you believe otherwise? (end sarcasm) ;)

    August 28, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. David, Gilbert Arizona

    This coming from the man who advocates the Discovery Institute's proposal to teach intelligent design in public schools even though it will open a huge can of worms. The discussion becomes one not of science but one of who gets to define the intelligence behind the design. My creator may not be the same as yours.

    In other words it becomes a theological debate, which is better suited for church and home.

    August 28, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. Aj Davis, Portland, OR

    Albert Einstein and his fellow physicists would often say they did believe in God

    Einstein and most physicists that most people could name (Hawking, Gell-Mann, Sagan, Weinberg, Greene, Feynman) did not believe in 'God' in the sense of a personal god that cared about what humans did. At best, they were deists but even that is probably going too far for an Einstein or Hawking.

    When physicists use the word 'god' they are talking in a metaphorical/symbolic sense. As a biologist, I will occasionally say something along the lines of 'this systems appears designed to...' but I do not mean 'designed' in the sense that creationists mean.

    The idea that a man who claims not to 'believe in' evolution (as if someone needed to 'believe in' gravity or thermodynamics or evolution) also claims that there's no war on science is bad comedy at best.

    August 28, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    Just a question about that "God" thing. Whose God are we referring to? Methinks some clarification would be helpful.

    August 28, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Albert Einstein was not a godhead.Nothing was ever invented through the practice of rejecting logic and reason.This phenomenon is a biological brain defect the Mr. Brownback exemplefies.

    August 28, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. Ron Smith, Lincoln, Nebraska

    I am a republican and I am sorry to say that this party was never "anti-science" until this breed of ultra conservatives led by Bush came to office. These jokers have brought faith based initiatives in every aspect of running this country. Take Tom Delay on Schivo case, Jim Inhoff who says global warming is hoax, and that Dr. senator Mr. Frist on stem cell and now Mr. Brownback who brings politics on evolution theory are all phony and their ideas don't make sense. That is the reason the kids in this country lag so much behind the rest of the world. Even Mr. Romney who seemed alright when he was governor wants to join in their camp. He wants to bring faith in every White House policies. What is happening to grand old party? I would rather cast my vote to a progressive candidate like Hillary than to these jokers who trash science and oppose every opportunity of progress to mankind.

    August 28, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. RIch, San Francisco, CA

    Yeah, evolution doesn't exist, and neither does the war on science.

    Enough said.

    August 28, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Al, Belleville IL

    10% of entries posted here were solution oriented thanks to Mstessyrue and Bob; all the others were vicious attacks against the other party. I thought that is what we paid Congress to do. I am surprised that opinion polls of congress are so low when they act so much like us…

    August 28, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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