August 28th, 2007
12:30 PM ET
7 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. Steve, Phoenix, Arizona

    Here's someone who truly has a plank in his eye.

    This is the same guy who fought to have evolution banned in Kansas schools?

    Didn't he also fight to have the round-earth theory and the earth-revolving-around-the-sun theory banned, too?


    August 28, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  2. Bob LaFavor, Woodinville, WA

    Typical shrill Clintonesque rhetoric vs a reasoned intellectual Brownback discourse. Hilary must practice in front of the choir for her to actually believe that common people buy her nonsense.

    August 28, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Dr. Berney, Honolulu HI

    When you get diagnosed with Cancer you find out that your body is the battle ground for the War. Prepare to be poisoned, burned, or cut

    August 28, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    "intellectual Brownback discourse" is a good one.Is there someone in the Brownback family that isn't mentally retarded?Can he take Sam's place?

    August 28, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Darrin, Columbia TN

    Why is it a man who doesn't believe in evolution is immediately characterized by some here as one who also believes the earth is flat and gravity doesn't exist? The Old Testament states the world is round – see Isaiah 40. I don't necessarily support the man, but basically calling people who believe in Intelligent Design morons doesn't help you convince me you're more "open-minded."

    August 28, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Karl Messner, Pittsburgh, PA

    If we let Stem Cell Research go on even though it demands ending a viable, otherwise healthy human life, then we're not far from people being pursued to "donate" day-before-birth 'fetuses' to science. I'm sure that science could indeed learn a ton by taking these nottababies apart in the lab, and using their organs and tissue. But someone does have to draw the line somewhere. Most people here would agree that day-before-birth-baby dissecting is sickening. But, that's how you boil a frog, turn the water up slowly.

    We first started talking about aborting unwanted babies (under the laughable defense of rape and incest–what's that 1/2% of the cases?) and now, we're talking about partial birth abortion, where a perfectly healthy baby who suddenly doesn't fit in with a recent household budget review can be delivered, and have her head crushed in the birth canal. They're worried about lethal injection being painful?

    One of the "complications" of partial birth abortion in the medical books is something called "live birth."

    Maybe it's time we all look back to our roots as a nation, and a people, and stop turning our nose up at religion. At least we'll be reminded to not kill.

    And we'd also be reminded to be nice to each other (I think that was Jesus' main point) So, let's stop calling people stupid and discuss the issue. Their position may be ill informed (as is the opinion of most people on evolution is merely a parroting of what they were "taught.")

    Most of the people I know doing primary research on the topic admit that there is indeed a pronounced suspicion of the validity of evolution as taught today, and it IS good science to question science. Don't worry, if it's true, the facts will bear it out.

    I have the utmost respect for the well-intentioned, extremely well educated men and women on both sides of the evolution/Intelligent Design dialog, and little for the bumper sticker propagandizers on each.

    Hey, if evolution happened the way we think, don't worry, sooner or later we'll find irrefutable evidence for it (like the thousands of missing links between each and every known species)

    And if the intelligent Design camp is right, then archaeology and paleontology will continue to find things thad don't quite fit into the current model and I'm not one to squash that debate. Let them tell both sides of the story, the truth outs.

    And if there is a God, He won't be jealous that we questioned His Authority, He'll be proud of us for checking his references 😉

    August 28, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    To the poster just above... "Reasoned Brownback discourse?" Is that what you call Brownback's statements that we should not teach evolution in Kansas's schools?

    Is this "reasoned" candidate the same that follows the neocon talking points that dinosaurs and man co existed?

    Is this the same guy that tried to get fossils pulled from foreign countries archives because they did not support his religous doubts in evolution?

    Didn't he and other neocons offer millions to Ethiopia not to display Lucy, the missing link?

    If you were the "good christian" you claim to be sir, you would be offering the poor people of the world millions of dollars regardless of their fossil record.

    the only place Brownback seems a reasoned intellectual is in the comic books where he belongs.

    August 28, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. john boyd kent,wa

    The Busch administration and the NWO, skull and Bones are all waging a war on the whole United States. They're building concentrations camps right here underneath are nose (800+) all are manned, operational, and the only thing missing is people indside of them. They're also building boxcars (3 tiered) with shackles and chains, all brand new, thousand of these cars have been built.For what? for who? when? Lets forget about the war in Iraq, and Afganistan an let
    s focus on what in the world is getting ready to happen right here beneath are nose.

    August 28, 2007 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  9. p-brain, Bucyrus, OH

    To heck with Science. Bring back the Inquisition.

    August 29, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  10. Mary, Beaver, PA

    As a side note to this issue concerning a “war against science,” did you ever hear of Dominionism, the political philosophy that maintains that the US government should be based on the precepts of the Bible?

    You can bet that such a theocracy would pick and choose which parts of the Bible it intended to enforce, and it would NOT be the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    Now, which political party are the Dominionists associated with?

    Thank goodness, it appears that Americans are FINALLY getting wise to this NEO-CON fraud.

    August 29, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Chip Celina OH

    Someone wrote:

    "FACTUAL evidence establishing the Earth's age at over 4.5 billion years"

    What is the factual evidence based on? If it's carbon or radiometric dating, can you explain how that is done?

    The methods are based on 'half-life' or decay of a substance. The half-life of carbon-14 is published widely as about 5,730 years.

    To submit an accurate statement, a scientist must make observations and document them. To my knowledge, no one has lived long enough to do this. Is the decay linear?

    So, we are left with a short time period in which some decay is observed (with measurement instruments whose calibration may vary) and an extrapolation made to complete the formula.

    This inference is made in a laboratory setting with no consideration given to environmental influences on the substance. Does decay happen more rapidly under severe compression or strain? Does heat have an effect?

    If we took a piece of iron, cut it in half and left one piece in Arizona and the other in Florida, would they be the same in 10 years?

    Big-Bang, something out of nothing...miracle or not. That belief also requires a substantial amount of faith.

    Happy Wednesday,

    August 29, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Posted By 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…"

    I'm a Republican. There was no vicious attack. You simply do not want to acknowledge the reasoning behind the opponents to intelligent design.I think Brownback is doing this country's children a disservice by advocating intelligent design over the theory of evolution. I understand it contradicts his theological beliefs but that is what church is for, not public school. That is where the notion of a war on science comes from. Considering the actions already taken by Brownback in his own state I'm actually flabbergasted that the man would deny the comments made by Clinton.

    Here is a very simple example: The furthest galaxy that can be seen by telescope from the Earth is approximately 13.7 billion light years away. That means it took 13.7 billion years for the first glimer of light from that galaxy to reach Earth. If some creator made the heavens and the Earth as described in the bible then he/she/it would have to have made the photons, or light particles, already in motion from that distant galaxy just so it can be seen from Earth. Otherwise we would not be able to see that galaxy. The light would not have reached here yet. We would only see objects 5 to 6 thousand light years away because that's how old the universe is according the theologians.

    That doesn't even take into consideration issues such as dinosaurs and man existing at the same time, although some people believe dinosaurs are really a concoction made up by fanatic scientists.

    This is why many people say intelligent design flies in the face of science. It defies all logic and the laws of physics.

    August 29, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton, FL

    Wow David from Arizona,

    I can't believe I actually agree with you on something...This is amazing. You made a great point on the dinosaurs, I always bring that up when people try to thrust their religious belief on me. Great post.

    And to Al from have to get used to it...99.9% of the articles that have either Obama or Clinton in the text, even if they aren't the main subject in the article, the neo conservatives will jump on them like white on rice!

    August 29, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. David, Salinas, CA

    Chip –

    The widely-accepted age of 4.5 billion years for the Earth is not based on the relatively short half-life of Carbon-14, which is useful for more recent biological dating.. Instead it is based on radiometric age dating of the earth’s oldest minerals (zircon crystals) and comparisons to similar dating of lunar rocks and meteorites. These figures are cross-checked between uranium-235's decay to lead-207 (with a half-life of about 700 million years) , and uranium-238's decay to lead-206 (with a half-life of about 4.5 billion years). The approximate 4.54 billion year age is now part of the standard scientific model.

    I wish you and the Republican administration would leave science to the scientists, or at least take a college course (please not mine) before publishing uneducated and misleading comments. Our children are falling behind the rest of the world, and attitudes like yours are the reason why.

    August 29, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Ed Fuquay Oberlin, Ohio

    I really wonder where Mr. Brownback has got his head stuck into. For the past six years there has been a war on everything that does not please the views of the extreme right of the Republican party. One more reason why I will never ever waste my vote again in republican causes.

    August 29, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    David ~ Salinas

    You wrote, "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."

    Has Bush banned ALL research on stem cells? NO

    Is there federal policy which prohibits private firms from researching ALL forms of stem cell research? NO

    So tell us all – what EXACTLY is Bush doing to interfere with R&D in this country? (other than not providing FEDERAL FUNDS for embryonic stem cell research and ban on cloning)

    August 29, 2007 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. David, Salinas, CA

    Jon asks; “what EXACTLY is Bush doing to interfere with R&D in this country? (other than not providing FEDERAL FUNDS for embryonic stem cell research and ban on cloning)”

    Jon –

    In addition to denying funding for one of the most promising lines of research towards a cure for dozens of major diseases afflicting the American people, the Bush administration has interfered with basic R&D that conflicts with the religious beliefs of it’s base and the financial interests of it’s contributors. The list is a long one, and my personal knowledge is confined to my own field of neuroscience. If you are really interested, and not just trying to score political points, I’d recommend reading “The Republican War on Science” by Chris Mooney. Here’s an excerpt:

    And here are a few other relevant articles:

    This argument shouldn’t be about partisan politics. The denial of scientific reality is a threat to the health and welfare of all Americans.

    August 29, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Vishal

    wouldn't it be funny if Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul were all just mischieveous, immature guys that wanted to play a joke which everyone has fallen for 2000 years later? lol...
    anyways, the only reason evolution isnt the most accepted form of science is because there isn't some book written 2000 years ago smacking you over the face blatantly telling you its truth!
    a professor I had at Caltech once told me, if you don't believe in evolution, give me your cellphones, your not appreciative enough to own them! EVERYTHING IS IN THE PROCESS OF EVOLUTION! this is far greater than just humans. Education, technology, biology, clothing, business practices, EVERYTHING evolves!
    It's not political, its logical. Humans are faster, stronger, react quicker, our brain develops faster, our chest cavities are larger, our hearts are larger, muscle tissue is larger from even 50 years ago (even though if you want more drastic measurements, you can go further back in time).

    August 29, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    David ~ Salinas,

    I previewed your articles... which fail to address.. how is Bush restricting PRIVATE R&D in this country?

    You continue pointing to how Bush has restricted FEDERAL dollars, or bring back the Global Warming issue.

    HOW AGAIN has this stopped PRIVATE research?

    August 29, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Posted By Darrin, Columbia TN: "Why is it a man who doesn't believe in evolution is immediately characterized by some here as one who also believes the earth is flat and gravity doesn't exist? The Old Testament states the world is round – see Isaiah 40. I don't necessarily support the man, but basically calling people who believe in Intelligent Design morons doesn't help you convince me you're more "open-minded."

    Your point regarding the absurd notion that because Brownback advocates intelligent design he must also believe the world is flat is very valid. I agree that those type of statements do not do the discussion justice nor do they endear opposing views.

    I don't agree with your old testament interpretation however. Isaiah 40 really doesn't state the world is round. It states that God is enthroned above the circle of the Earth. The flat worlders recognised the world was a circle, a flat circle. The ancient Chinese used to believe the flat Earth traveled around the sun on the back of a giant tortoise while Europeans still thought the world was the center and everything revolved around it. The tortoise was also the Chinese explanation for Earthquakes.

    Brownback was a panel member on the Larry King Live show a while back. The discussion was whether intelligent design should be taught in schools. One overlying issue during that discussion was the missing links in the fossil record. Of course the same question could be asked where are Adam and Eve? Everyone seems to be looking for the missing links but no one is looking for Adam and Eve. One glaring fact I wanted to scream at the television set was: the male Y chromosome passes from father to son unchanged. It does not mix with the mother's DNA because the mother does not have an Y chromosome. A male can be traced back father to grandfather through generations based on the unchanged Y chromosome. This test was used on a tribe in Ethiopia who declare themselves decendants of Aaron, Mose's brother (saw that on the Discovery channel). Those Ethiopians were actually proven to be related to Priests who also declare themselves decendants of Aaron because they shared the same Y chromosome.

    So...if we all came from one man, Adam, every male would have the same Y chromosome. We don't.

    August 29, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. Chip Celina OH


    Thank you Mr. Science! You jumped quickly to a conclusion when I merely questioned the claim of FACTUAL evidence made by another poster. I thought professional scientists were supposed to be objective, thorough and analytical.

    My post made no claim to either side of the supposed argument, did it? You assumed I represented a certain stance because I used a couple of buzzwords.

    Yes, the 'widely accepted' age of Earth (today) is 4.54 billion years, but in the 1400's the 'widely accepted' rule was that Earth was FLAT.

    You also tell me: I wish you and the Republican administration would leave science to the scientists"

    I am a seismologist by trade, probably a bit less to do with Earth than your field.

    If you'd like me to send you some data, I will. Then you can possibly give me some pointers on tuning the detection algorithm I'm working with.

    So, I don't really think my attitude is the problem. If you accept everything because it's widely published and don't continue to ask questions, discovery will cease.

    Objectively yours,


    August 29, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    The discovery of the fact that the earth was round actually happened sometime around 13,000 years ago and was the basis for the beginning of the science of agriculture.Which enabled permanent housing,commerce,and civilization.Before that man was a "hunter gatherer" that migrated with his prey.So the concept of a flat earth and the denial of evolution on religious grounds are both equally subjects of ridicule.To distinguish at the level of Brownback seems a little silly.

    August 29, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. David, Salinas, CA

    Chip – I think you’re back-tracking. Your first post wasn’t quite as objective as you claim.

    Jon – You’re putting some real limits on the question. Now we’re restricted to interference with private R&D that isn’t about stem cells or cloning or global warming? Like it or not, basic research in science is dependent on public funding. (i.e. the Manhattan Project, the Human Genome Project, the Apollo missions to the moon). The private sector will only pursue that which is profitable to shareholders (I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that). Sometimes government has to contribute to serve the public good.

    I’ve made my points on this issue. I’ve got 200 students this term and I don’t have time to perform in an online version of “Inherit the Wind”. One side of the argument is supported by the overwhelming majority of the scientific community. The other side is a set of heart-felt religious beliefs (or economic justifications) that just aren’t based in science. I think reasonable Americans can make up their minds which is which.

    August 29, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  24. Ryan, New York, NY

    Why is it a man who doesn't believe in evolution is immediately characterized by some here as one who also believes the earth is flat and gravity doesn't exist? The Old Testament states the world is round – see Isaiah 40. I don't necessarily support the man, but basically calling people who believe in Intelligent Design morons doesn't help you convince me you're more "open-minded."

    Posted By Darrin, Columbia TN : August 28, 2007 5:45 pm
    It's not because of his stance on evolution that people commented about his refusal to believe that the Earth is round and revolves around the sun. It's because of this site –

    Also, Isaiah 40:22 states, "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in."

    That's a CIRCLE, which is not sphere. Even if you read it as though it was a sphere, that contradicts other verses like Isaiah 11:12 & Revelation 7:1 that refer to the "Four Corners of the Earth." How are there corners on a sphere or circle?

    Even the Catholic church supported the idea that the world was flat prior to Columbus' voyages and the Bible was created long before that the last time I checked.

    August 29, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Chip Celina OH


    As usual, you present good arguments, but limit yourself.

    One side of the argument is supported by the overwhelming majority of the scientific community.

    And just how many planets are in our solar system, the same as we thought 10 years ago?
    That seemed to be supported by an overwhelming majority of the scientific community, seems there's been a little backtracking on that one.

    Perhaps I'm not alone?

    Keep questioning and keep up the thought provoking posts.

    Have a good one,


    August 29, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
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